Thursday, May 01, 2014

Plans To Strangle East 19th Street Traffic Discussed

Last night a small group - approximately 35 people - of mostly Eastside Costa Mesa neighbors gathered at Kaiser Elementary School to hear representatives of the City discuss plans to "calm" the traffic on East 19th Street from Irvine Avenue at the Newport Beach border to Newport Boulevard at the terminus of the 55 Freeway.
Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethuramin led the 90-minute discussion, which included a PowerPoint presentation of some options considered, and visitors had a chance to view story boards around the room that reflected plans for specific segments of that roadway, showed intersection improvements and plant selections being considered for this $855,000 project.
Most of the evening was taken up with a lively question and answer session in which the "success" of the recent Broadway project frequently was used as an example for this pending project.  According to Sethuramin and residents of that street, the traffic calming measures taken have been effective for what was a very busy neighborhood street.
Plans for East 19th Street include the installation of traffic "chokers" at intersections, which will effectively slow down the flow by squeezing it by the throat at intersections.  New center dividers will be installed at the ends of the street, at Fullerton Avenue and at the approach of Irvine Avenue.  New community markers stating "Eastside Costa Mesa" will be installed in those landscaped dividers.  Because 19th Street is narrower than Broadway - 10 feet or more according to one resident who was active on the Broadway project - there is no room for centerline planters as was done on that street.
Residents expressed concern - just as many did at the first of these meetings in January - that slowing the traffic along 19th Street will simply force it to parallel streets, like Costa Mesa Street, Flower Street and 18th Street.  According to Sethuramin, studies show that this likely will not happen - even though that flies in the face of logic.
Several residents expressed concern about the increasing density of the housing on the Eastside.  Very few have been seen at City Council or Planning Commission meetings when this issue has been discussed.  So far, claims by residents that density is a serious problem have been rejected by the current council majority - Mayor Jim Righeimer specifically - as recently as the General Plan Land Use meeting Tuesday evening.  Apparently, if he doesn't see several thousand people in the streets outside City Hall complaining about an issue, then it simply does not exist.  Of course, he's equipped with blinders and earmuffs provided by his developer-buddies to prevent him from hearing that kind of stuff.
Since the City is presently in the midst of updating the General Plan, now is the time for residents to express their views on issues like density, traffic, affordable housing, etc.  They can do so by speaking at City Council meetings and/or Planning Commission meetings and by writing to the City Council.  Contact information for them can be found HERE.

The next stop on this project will be the presentation by the staff of the landscape plans, including choices for the monument signs, to the Parks and Recreation Commission - probably at their meeting on May 24th.  Interestingly, when Sethuramin tried to take the pulse of the audience to determine their preference of the four examples provided last night the results were almost equally split among all four.  There certainly was no clear consensus by that group.
Presuming that this project will go forward, and that the staff will successfully locate grant funding - mention was made of the Federal Safe Route To School program - construction won't begin until 2015.  There's still plenty of time for those concerned to make their views known to the City Council and staff.  Information about this project will appear on the City Website.

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Blogger Flo Martin said...

That handsome dude wearing the grey tee-shirt in your first photo is my Number-One son. His home is a block away from 19th and Newport, on the east side. Since I drive there often, I now avoid that intersection. Southbound Newport between Fair Drive and Harbor is CRAZY! Backing up the eastbound 19th St. traffic will indeed impact neighboring streets.

5/01/2014 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

So, what are potholes other than "traffic calming devices"? Two steps forward and three steps back: fix the potholes, then add artificial potholes to the street! This is more-or-less typical of a city council majority that has its head up and locked. Wipe your collective glass navel, boys -- you'll see things a lot more clearly.

5/05/2014 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Do you think that Rabbi Elie Spitz of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, who has been selected (by whom?) to receive the Holoucast Remembrance Day presentation, has any idea as to the real motivation behind this highly suspiciously timed presentation to him by the RIGmeister at the cc mtg?? And, do you think that St. John the Baptist School choir would also be honored at the mtg if the RIGmeister's children did not go there?? Isn't there a conflict of interest somewhere with this? Certainly, at a minimum, more examples of his malfeasant use of his political position - to play another victim/sympathy card and promote his children's school - from the dias (and this isn't the first time). Not that I don't think the accomplishments of the St John's choir don't deserve the recognition, I just think that the RIGmeister would never have selected them for the recognition if his children did not attend the school and participate in the choir.

5/05/2014 09:57:00 PM  

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