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By Michael H. Frost, Dana Point

This letter is written in response to: “Letter: Lantern District ‘Improvements’ a Disaster” by Barbara Merriman, in the September 26 issue.

For the past 6 to 9 months I have consistently been entertained by the new compliant department otherwise known as the “Letters to the Editor” section of the Dana Point Times. The same old names, recycling the same old content, while often referencing factual inaccuracies.

Finally, about a month ago, the Assistant City Manager had to write in and “clarify” a few of the blatantly incorrect statements. I was very happy his letter was immediately next to the weekly submission by Mrs. Betty Hill.

Considering we now have a portion of the tangible final product, (Phase 1 just about complete) Barbara Merriman has offered her opinion on the project and the implementation of the changes. I’d like to offer a perspective which I believe more accurately represents the silent majority of citizens.

The changes are better than advertised. Ms. Merriman, I did as you asked. I have driven during rush hour the new Pacific Coast Highway. I have also taken the time to walk from Tavern on the Coast up to Blue Lantern during rush hour. I do not agree with your opinions. The lanes are not ridiculously narrow and more than acceptable for overall safety. I was not bothered by the “unrelenting palm trees;” actually, I believe aesthetically the project is better looking than what the design showed. Additionally, a large part of the project was to implement a traffic calming scenario; this aspect was clearly accomplished. I am writing this letter while sitting at J.C. Beans watching the traffic go by, and I already feel more comfortable walking along PCH.

The great irony in the letter from Ms. Merriman was the final attack on the majority of the council. Do you realize the very items in Phase 1 you are complaining about were supported by the entire council including Lisa Bartlett and Scott Schoeffel? Do you realize the very items you are complaining about regarding Phase 2 and Del Prado would be intensified by not finishing the project? A position taken by Bartlett and Schoeffel.

I wanted to say thank you to the all the community leaders who have accomplished Phase 1, and on the path to accomplishing Phase 2, including the staunch supporters mentioned by Merriman, but also supporters including the City Manager and staff, past council members consisting of Wayne Rayfield, Laura Anderson, Joel Bishop, the South Coast Water District, and of course the 91 percent of citizens who identified this as the largest priority item during our last community survey. Oh, and maybe, just maybe, the Towncenter Subcommittee!

At the end of the day, when your complaints and arguments have reached the level of, “the unrelenting rows of palm trees (which will surely drop fronds on unsuspecting drivers and pedestrians) dwarf the new sidewalks” I smile, because I know the city has already successfully implemented the first portion of the project and on the way to finishing these infrastructure improvements overwhelmingly supported by the community.

I am not a developer, not a wealthy landowner, just a member of the community who owns his home, and would prefer a business district rather than a highway running through the middle of our town.

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comments (9)

  • Great letter and I agree; it’s looking beautiful and I’m inviting my friends from San Clemente coming to visit to take Pacific Coast Highway through town so they can see what a great city we live in………………….Bravo……………and great signage which helps navigate PCH and Del Prado.

  • Mr. Frost,

    How dare you! Who are you to bring such chilling, sane thoughts into this asylum known as the Soapbox. Mind your own business and go quietly back to enjoying life in this six square miles of paradise – like the vast majority of Dana Pointers.

  • Congratulations Dana Point. You have just killed all of the businesses on the remaining portion of southbound Del Prado. Nobody will drive by them, and they will wither and die. And don’t get me started on the nightmare you have created for cyclists traveling north through town. A very narrow bike lane the is half on pavement, half on concrete with a nice wheel grabbing seam running between the two. Enjoy the litigation from your upcoming accidents,

  • I’ve been a resident of Dana Point for 18 years and I’m very happy to finally see progress being made to update the dated 1970’s crumbling infrastructure. I’m cautiously optimistic further progress will be made in either demolishing the already crumbling buildings lining PCH or their owners will do something to update them. I could not be happier with the improvements completed with phase 1.

  • I disagree. I live off of La Cresta and think this project was very unfortunate. I could understand wanting to beautify/renovate PCH and Del Prado, but making it two way was a huge mistake. There’s hardly anymore parking on PCH now, whereas before you could easily find on street parking next to the business you were patronizing if their lot was full or there was no lot. The lanes do feel too narrow, and traffic seems more congested. Furthermore, only being able to make a left turn on every other block now will add to the frustration of getting to your destination. I only moved here in January, but I wish it had been earlier so I could have voiced these concerns in the town halls, not that it would even have mattered probably. But since then, I’ve read a good bit that this was done in part to help the businesses. I think it’s going to do the opposite. Unless you live within walking distance, no one is going to want to struggle with parking and fight with traffic to get to locations that used to be much easier to navigate to.

  • Three items need to be addressed before the final product is done. 1) Bikes ,,, someone will be killed… DP goes to an extremely narrow bike lane …. they are a death trap… and if you don’t believe it have the DP City Plnners take a ride in the morning. 2) Parking in front of Girl in the Curl is going to cause a major issue when the cars from the coffee shop hang out on the highway or the Coffee shop will be put a at a disadvantage to Starbucks… have the City Planners should take a look. 3) South Bound .. what happened to access to the retail buildings on the corner of Del Prado and Blue Lantern… and 4) Wheres the parking… you can’t park on the side of the road going south bound…. Fix it before its too late…..

  • I can’t believe that the city of Dana Point spent millions of tax dollars creating a traffic jam where there was none. PCH is a highway and should have been preserved as such. Laguna Beach and Newport have created a traffic nightmare on PCH and now Dana Point is following suit. Am I the only one who thinks this whole project is absolutely insane? I hate to think what these people have in store for the marina.

  • I agree that this has become a big mess – there is absolutely no parking anymore nor plans to add parking lots so not sure how business benefit when no one can stop to frequent them. I was also under the impression that the idea was to have shops and cafe’s with outdoor seating along PCH and Del Prado but it seems the sidewalk area is also smaller and who is going to want to sit on the edge of the curb with cars going by.

    One item I have noticed is the number of cars accelerating or running red lights now as they do not want to get stuck waiting for the increase time of the left turn lights and additional stop lights. Just one mornings walk to the coffee shop I saw 3 cars run lights; seems traffic is speeding up not slowing down.

  • I believe all the negative comments regarding this project are inaccurate.

    I walk to JC Beans along PCH every Friday / Saturday / Sunday. Sometimes Monday.

    Anyone who thinks traffic has increased, or parking is somehow diminished, or the bike lane will cause massive lawsuits. When would you like to meet and walk PCH?

    I am available and would honestly like to see how you come to your conclusions.

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