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When you think of Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, they both have a lot in common. They’re both affluent coastal communities that struggle with too many cars and, on some days, not enough parking, but the way they’re addressing the problem differs greatly.

There’s the “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” mantra as espoused by Fred Kent at the Project for Public Spaces, which the CdM BID must adhere to with their new plan for adding parking in the village. They’ll install 100 new VIP parking places for a measly $10-15,000. Granted, that’s bike parking, but it’ll bring 100 more people to CdM and reduce congestion at the same time — make parking for those that choose to drive a bit easier at the same time, too.

Then there’s Laguna Beach’s “Heavier, Slower and Obscenely Expensive” approach as reported in the Laguna Beach Independent, “Village Entrance Moves Ahead, Finally“. Laguna will add 200 parking places at a jaw-dropping cost of $42 million! Before I’m accused of exaggerating, the Laguna project also includes some landscaping, which they’ll need lots of to camouflage a big ugly parking garage at the village entrance. They call it a “park and parking structure” and it does have a nice ring to it, until your brain goes back to reconciling the grotesque costs.

How can anyone make sense of these two radically different approaches?

Is it simply that the BID is spending their own money?

Granted, it’s money contributed from local businesses, but it must feel like their own money. In Laguna it’s a boondoggle of a $29 million revenue bond measure.

In Corona del Mar I could be locking up my bike to a new bike rack in time for some local holiday shopping. I’ll have a little extra jingle in my pockets because I’m not paying for gas and I’m not paying down a $29 million bond either. Local merchants should see a difference…




Frank Peters

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