Transportation Ideas for Laguna Beach

Transportation Ideas for Laguna Beach

The careful Solano Beach analysis of emissions shows that two thirds of their emissions comes from transportation. This shows the primacy of this category in terms of reducing emissions. Laguna beach has a somewhat similar transportation situation. Many Laguna residents commute out of the city through the Canyon or Coast Highway to work. Shopping trips and entertainment often take residents out of the city. Parts of the exit routes are slow going.

In considering transport, instead of just the usual miles per gallon (mpg) evaluation, we could consider the more effective miles per gallon per passenger (mpgpp). While a single person commutes at an average 25 mpg, commuting as a couple or carpooling with one passenger directly give one a 50 mpgpp. A family of four going out for shopping or entertainment, or entering for the beach, earns a 100 mpgpp. Car pooling commuters also cut their driving, toll road, and parking costs in half, thirds, or fourths. They can also use carpool lanes where available.

Excess traffic leads to frustration, wasted time, and excess vehicle emissions. Laguna Beach has excellent trolley and local bus routes to eliminate some of the traffic, and the search for parking. A new possibility may open up with the development of a shopping center where Laguna Canyon Road joins the 405 freeway. If there is excess parking there, buses could bring many people into downtown Laguna Beach, and it’s transport network. The shopping center might accept the parking since parkers may turn into customers for shopping or dining. The city may also consider subsidizing some parking in the summer, since the spaces might be cheaper than putting more spaces into Laguna Beach. Buses could be given a special lane to get through the El Toro intersection with the Canyon, provided the one-lane choke point after the tollway 33 exit is widened.

Regarding the after–school pickup jam, maybe more work could be done to form carpools for fewer parents to pick up students, who are grouped by neighborhoods. This could save a lot of afternoon time for some parents. Also, automotive emissions would be reduced, to the benefit of all.

It is a shame that the Laguna Beach theater has closed.  Residents and guests who want to catch a new movie have to commute out to the Spectrum, the Aliso Viejo, or the Newport Cinema.  This may be because theaters are losing out to giant home screens with on Demand, Netflix, cable, etc., and of course, much cheaper home popcorn and soft drinks.  The theater was also a local source of entertainment that kids could go to by themselves.

In general, there might emerge a conflict between the federal Administration’s desire to weaken present and future fuel economy goals, and California’s goals to increase such standards to first lower smog-producing emissions, and then to lower greenhouse gases.  Southern California’s suburban structure is based on auto transport, yet Los Angeles, Riverside, and the Central Valley have the worst smog in the country.   Laguna Beach is fortunate in having ocean breezes to mostly keep us clear of smog.  Yet we should join in public comments on any diminishing of federal standards and goals.  We should also back California in any battles with the federal government over California’s ability to impose its own standards.  California, along with other progressive states, can influence auto makers to continue progress in increasing fuel economies through improvements in gas combustion engines, as well as by pushing hybrid and electric vehicles.

We can encourage more ads for fuel efficient or electrical vehicles in local newspapers and web news, as well as local TV spots.  The present auto ads on TV are full of excessive speed and dangerous maneuverability, skimming curvy cliff-side at high speed, or speeding on dangerous snow-covered roads.  Most drivers, and the environment, really need fuel efficient vehicles.  The community can show recognition of electric and hybrid vehicles, by setting aside some parking spaces for them, and lowering the residents’ parking permits for them.  The current compact car parking spaces should have signs that they are now being checked, and at least warnings given out.  More spaces for charging electric and plug-in hybrids should be instituted to encourage visitors to drive into Laguna Beach with such vehicles.  Fortunately, local gas stations are charging more for gas, to encourage residents to get more efficient vehicles.

Since a cross-world flight can be as much as 10% of  a person’s yearly carbon usage, we hope more people substitute travelogues, which are now on YouTube in 4K reality, accompanied with music.  These TV-trips come with no uncomfortable hotel rooms, no twenty-two hours of cramped  airplane travel, no attempts at local languages, no lines, no struggling with hotel and airplane reservations, no unknown restaurants with strange food, no unintended data expenses, no insecurity of being robbed, no jet lag, no sea-sickness, no altitude sickness, no strenuous hiking, no hot or cold weather, no city transport systems to struggle with, no lack of familiar medical care, no exchange rates, and may I add, etc.  We also have to look forward to virtual reality audio-video.

Increasingly available TV and skype communications can cut down on business travel.  This is supplemented with overnight delivery of products that you are trying to sell.  Phone conferences are increasing as well.  This saves companies business travel and hotel costs.  It also allows salesmen to meet with many customers a day, instead of just one.

In Physics and Astronomy at UCI, we use TV links to groups in Japan, Hawaii, Geneva Switzerland, the South Pole, and other places.  We remotely operate telescopes on 14,000 foot peaks, where people are not allowed because they don’t think clearly at those altitudes.  We use computers around the US and the world for performing analyses.  Yet we still have a few national leaders who have to attend Washington or Geneva meetings, or faculty and graduate students who work on equipment around the world.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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