Laguna Beach City Council Commits $2M to New Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan
On Tuesday, March 9, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a new $2M resident-serving program called the "Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan," to mitigate visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhance City services for residents, and add environmental protection programs.
The $2M program will be funded 100% by visitors through the City’s Parking Fund and Measure LL Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues.
“This action by the Council will better protect our neighborhoods and preserve the natural beauty of our beaches and open space areas. Through numerous neighborhood outreach meetings with our residents and neighbors over the last year, we’ve heard that more police protection, parking enforcement and trash pickup are needed to maintain the quality of life that we all expect. By committing $2 million to this effort, we are confident that we will produce positive and tangible results for our community.” - Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen
“The ongoing effects of Covid have impacted our trails and beaches as people search for outdoor activities and anything they can do safely,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, who proposed the program during the City Council’s 2021 retreat. "Over the last few months, we have addressed specific neighborhood concerns tactically by putting out more trash cans and doing more enforcement, but this plan includes more immediate and long-term actions that will continue through the summer months as well. This program is a result of successful collaboration between residents and City staff, funded 100-percent from visitor revenues."
Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan Program Service Enhancements:
Public Works and Parking Improvements
To address overcrowding issues on County trails, the Laguna Canyon Foundation (LCF) will be partnering with the City to provide part time staff on weekends to serve as trail ambassadors from May 1 to Labor Day, 2021 during the busiest visiting hours. The Mayor has also sent a letter to the County requesting additional park rangers.
Enhanced Cleaning and More Frequent Trash Collection
Enhanced Safety Provided by the Police Department
Additional Beach Safety Improvements
City Council also directed staff to develop the following policies as code amendments for consideration by this summer:
- Prohibiting the use of plastic straws and single-use plastic containers on beaches and trails
- Prohibiting restaurant distribution of single-use to-go containers in working with Laguna Beach’s restaurants to determine the best timeline for implementation
- Prohibit the feeding of wild birds in City Parks
- Prohibiting use of large shade structures on beaches to preserve public safety sightlines
- Prohibiting storage of bicycles on Main Beach and Heisler Park
- Expanding prohibition of abandonment of personal property in public spaces
- Changing the operating hours of non-coastal community parks to close at 10:00 p.m.
The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, March 23.
City Council Approves Return of Summer Trolley Service!
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Laguna Beach City Council approved the return of Trolley service on the Coastal, Canyon and Summer Breeze routes starting June 25 and operating within the guidelines of State and local health orders.
Increased Trolley Safety Protocols Will Include:
- All Trolley passengers and drivers will be required to wear face coverings
- Trolley capacity may be reduced up to 50%
- Social distancing between passengers from different households
- Hand sanitizing stations installed on each vehicle
Details Coming this Summer on Neighborhood On-Demand Transit Pilot Program
At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council directed staff to introduce a pilot program beginning in Fall 2021, to provide on-demand residential transit service that would replace the now-suspended hourly Trolley service on the three neighborhood routes. Vehicles for the on-demand pilot program are expected to be provided through a contract for service.
Summer Breeze Program to Start Again in June
The City's Summer Breeze Program, which provides free parking near the 133 and 405 freeways, will again provide free parking and transportation to and from Laguna Beach on the Summer Breeze Bus on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning in June.
Caltrans Construction on Coast Highway at Main Beach Starts Monday Night
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is scheduled to replace the 100-year-old box culvert under Coast Highway at Main Beach this spring.
The estimated construction dates are from April 1 until May 28 with overnight pre-construction activities beginning Monday, March 15.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane from 8:00 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. beginning Monday, March 15 to Thursday, March 18 and overnight Friday, March 19 from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
Beginning April 1, daytime construction work on the project will begin. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction on Coast Highway at Main Beach for the duration of the project. Caltrans crews will be working double shifts as needed to finish by Memorial Day. Adjacent businesses will be open during construction.
Downtown traffic control will be provided by the City of Laguna Beach and Caltrans 7 days/week to help mitigate traffic impacts due to the long-term lane closures needed to complete the work safely and quickly.
For questions regarding the project, please contact Caltrans at (657) 328-6000 or email Darcy Birden at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two More Opportunities for Public Input Regarding New City Manager at Virtual Listening Sessions
As the City of Laguna Beach undertakes its search for a new City Manager, the City Council wants to ensure the public has an opportunity to provide feedback about the most important qualities potential candidates should possess.
Two Upcoming Listening Sessions will be held via Zoom on:
- Thursday, March 11: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Will not broadcast on channel 852 or City Website due to a DRB meeting conflict, however, the meeting will still be recorded on Zoom.)
- Tuesday, March 16: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Online Survey Also Available!
A report containing all the comments and feedback received will be compiled by the recruiter and provided to the Laguna Beach City Council.
Outdoor Recreation Classes and Camps Scheduled for Spring and Summer
Tuesday, the Laguna Beach City Council directed that outdoor recreation classes and camps be scheduled for spring and summer 2021 in compliance with state and local health orders.
Registration is Now Open for the 2021 Junior Lifeguard Program!
Junior Lifeguards are girls and boys between 8-15, placed in groups by ability and age. Junior Guards have fun while learning ocean safety, rescue techniques, beach activities, physical fitness, and marine safety operations in an environment that emphasizes courtesy, respect, and good sportsmanship.
Junior Guards who are returning from the Summer 2019 program are now eligible to register. Newcomers must pass the required swim test.
For more information, contact Marine Safety Captain Kai Bond, at email@example.com.
Traffic & Safety Laws for E-Bike Operators from the Laguna Beach Police Department
Like other bicyclists, e-bike riders must obey the same traffic laws as motor vehicles by stopping for traffic lights and stop signs, and yielding the right-of-way.
It is unlawful to operate a bicycle (including an e-bike) on any sidewalk in town, on the Main Beach Boardwalk, and within any City park.
There are State laws that apply to the use of a bicycle, including e-bikes:
- Type I E-Bike: This e-bike is pedal operated and can reach speeds up to 20 mph assisted by a motor. When the rider stops pedaling, the motor-assistance stops, as it also ends when the bike hits its maximum speed.
- Type 2 E-Bike: This style is not operated by pedal, with the motor providing all the power. Its top speed is 20 mph.
- Type 3 E-Bike: The third type is pedal-operated, with the motor helping to power it up to the speed of 28 mph. Only those 16 and older can ride this type.