By Andrea Swayne
City staff presented an update report on Lantern District construction at the Dana Point City Council meeting on Tuesday, including news that Del Prado Avenue construction is on schedule and traffic speeds are calming along Pacific Coast Highway.
Brad Fowler, director of Public Works and Engineering, told the council street construction on Del Prado is on schedule and is expected to meet the previously announced September completion.
Contractors are currently working on the ocean side of Del Prado, installing irrigation, underground electrical, lighting, tree and landscaping and the South Coast Water District is finishing up with recycled water mains for La Plaza Park area irrigation.
The city has been taking vehicle speed counts on PCH during the past six months since the road was changed to two-way traffic and has found that speeds have calmed by about 6 mph on average, which is in line with the Lantern District Plan (Town Center Plan), he said.
“Circulation will continue to improve when two-way traffic is returned on Del Prado,” Fowler said, adding that staff expects that a temporary increase in traffic on PCH—of about 40 percent—will also decline upon completion of Del Prado.
A large palm tree was recently removed on Granada near Starbucks in order to change access to the coffee shop to Granada and alleviate queueing on PCH of vehicles waiting to enter the drive-thru. The city is also speaking with J.C. Beans Coffee House, for this same reason, he said.
Tax receipts at Del Prado restaurants are down by approximately 6.4 percent for 2014 over 2013, he said, but once the street is complete, PCH will continue as more of a thoroughfare and Del Prado as a destination, which is expected to remedy the decrease in sales.
Next they will move on to the three planned medians, repave the entire street, followed by returning the street to two-way traffic, Fowler said. And the archway that will connect the entry monument bases at the north entryway to Del Prado will be installed by mid-June.