Tuesday, August 06, 2013

OK, So I'm Not Perfect - Yet!

Over the weekend I posted an entry about the Costa Mesa City Council meeting coming up later this evening (6:00 p.m. in council chambers), in which I opined that one item on the Consent Calendar agenda might be a mistake.  That item dealt with the possible traffic "calming" measures being proposed for East 19th Street - over here in my neck of the woods, and I suggested that a similar project on Broadway had been a mistake.

Well, those comments opened the floodgates!  I heard from several of my fellow Eastsiders on this subject, all taking exception to my characterization of the Broadway project.  Not a single person wrote to me to agree with my assessment of the work done to slow traffic on Broadway - that in addition to slowing the traffic, it made it more dangerous to drive down that street... not one!

So, let me share with you some of the opinions my neighbors so thoughtfully gave to me.  The battering began early yesterday and continued on into the early hours today.  I tease about being "battered" - every one of the notes sent to me were clear, courteous and firm in their views.  No name-calling.  No epithets.  Just helpful ideas and views presented by thoughtful people.

All of the comments had a couple common threads.  First, Broadway is now MUCH quieter, which they attributed to reduced traffic levels and the rubberized pavement used.  Second, they all felt Broadway was now a much safer street on which to drive, bike and walk.  Those were the goals of that project and my neighbors apparently feel that mission was accomplished.

Most were happy about how the modifications looked, citing the beautiful trees in the planters down the center of the roadway with much pride.

One person who has lived on the Eastside for more than 3 decades provided this clear, concise description of the improvements on Broadway:

• With the new sidewalks it's much more pedestrian friendly.
You will notice the elderly, new Moms and people after work out walking on our safe, level sidewalks. 
• Less traffic. A dramatic decline in the volume of traffic.
• Lowered speed. Cars have slowed down due to the street narrowing, additional stop signs and planters they now have to negotiate.
• Less noise and vibration. Because of the combination asphalt/tire rubber surface the vibration and noise has been cut in half.
• More attractive street. With the new street surface, planted green belt, and planted medians, we will soon have a tree lined street.
Keep in mind these measures were all taken from federal traffic mediation guidelines that have been proven to reduce speed, volume, noise and vibration. I hope the residents will give the project a year for people to adapt to driving the street, and for the plants to grow in.
 Another resident, who lives on one of the busiest corners along Broadway for nearly 40 years, spoke of the accidents that happened over that time, which she attributed to speeding, drinking and simple loss of control of the cars.  She, too, praised the project because it brought relative peace and quiet to her home.

 Another writer, who lives on East 19th Street and has much contact with our Eastside neighbors through his business, expressed a view that many long-term residents are upset because so much has changed and navigating around the Eastside is so different now.  However, he agreed that the Broadway project improved the livability of that street.  While he's looking forward to a similar project along East 19th Street, he observed that it should only move forward if it includes protection from any diversion of traffic that might flow and have a noticeable affect on the quiet adjacent streets of Flower and Magnolia.  That, of course, is certainly something to consider.  Traffic is much like water - if you place a dam in one spot it will eventually find another route.

Another writer acknowledged the new requirements to make your way down Broadway.  It requires a more attentive driver, willing to take a little longer to make that journey safely.  She acknowledged some folk's observations that, in her words, "it is an impossible street on which to drive - not enough room, having to swerve to miss the medians."  She admits that it causes her to drive a little slower - again, the goal.  She also was very pleased with the trees in the medians, and looked forward to the street as they mature.

So, neighbors, a lot of folks over here are very happy with the Broadway project and hope the proposed plan for East 19th Street proves to be as successful.  I do appreciate the time they took to share  their views in such a civil manner.

I'm still concerned about where the traffic will go if it is made to crawl along 19th Street.  Certainly, Flower and Magnolia will see more traffic, as will the entire length of East 20th Street from Irvine Avenue to Newport Boulevard.  Time will tell.

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Anonymous Hello? Anybody Home? said...

I wish they'd come over to Wilson and try to improve it.

There are empty cut out squares on the sidewalks where trees used to be, no sidewalks on portions of Canyon. Mothers navigating with strollers in the traffic lanes on Canyon. Those that are left on upper Canyon, are so badly cracked you can trip over them and the crumbling curbs.

The traffic is average 60 mph in a 25 mph zone. The stop sign at the corner of Wilson and Canyon is ignored.

Do you suppose the planning commission would ever attempt to clean up that mess? And that doesn't even attempt to address the stench coming from the pump station on the corner of Wilson and Canyon.

I've always been a supporter of the council but I have to admit, I'm getting a little tired of being ignored. This problem has gone on for years, and now its become a huge problem.

8/06/2013 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

HaHA! I loved the improvements on Broadway. Glad to see people have largely come to their senses regarding the improvements that LOWER SPEEDS!

8/06/2013 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

No name calling or epithets? What a concept!

8/06/2013 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

All of Fair Drive needs median dividers! Talk about "raceway!" As a pedestrian, I've witnessed drivers losing control and ending up on the sidewalk as they careen around the curve just east of Loyola Drive. The 35 mph speed limit on Fair is a joke!

8/06/2013 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous go opposite and win? said...

so just opposing everything the boyz come up with isn't always correct? who wudda thought? (except the voters who approve of them)

8/06/2013 02:34:00 PM  

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