improve traffic considerably."
The biggest project to receive grant funding is the controversial East
17th Street Improvement Project. It would receive $577,000 from the
authority if it goes forward.
The city is conducting an environmental analysis of plans to widen the
street to six lanes and add bus turnouts and turn lanes.
Residents and business owners in the area oppose the project, saying
it would ruin the "mom and pop" atmosphere on the popular thoroughfare.
Seven members of the East 17th Street Merchants and Community Assn.
spoke against the plan at a City Council meeting last week and submitted
a petition with 8,725 signatures opposing the widening.
"We're hoping they won't get all the money because they won't go
through with [the street widening,]" Dan Perlmutter, an association
leader, said about the grant. "We're convinced they are going to use part
of the money for bus turnouts, beautification, left-turn arrows and wider
sidewalks, but we don't want them to widen the street to six lanes."
The Costa Mesa funds, part of $77 million in grants distributed
countywide, will also pay for signal improvements at the intersection of
Bristol Street and Newport Boulevard; cameras at three intersections:
Harbor Boulevard and Adams Avenue, Bristol and Sunflower, and Fairview
Road and Baker Street; a southbound right-turn lane at Fairview Road and
Adams Avenue; a westbound right-turn lane at Harbor Boulevard and
Victoria Street; and widening of Newport Boulevard.
George Urch, an OCTA spokesman, said the authority selected projects
that will most benefit regional or countywide traffic.
"Not all our transportation is on our freeway system," Urch said. "A
large percentage is on surface streets, and we want to improve traffic on
those by improving things like regional interchanges, intersections ...
[and] signals. By helping to improve traffic on surface streets, we can
hopefully encourage people to take them."
The authority also selected projects it deemed likely to come to
fruition, he said, but the grants do not obligate the city to complete
Most of the projects -- including the 17th Street project -- are
funded in stages, including environmental review and design and
construction. If a project goes through only part of the process, it will
receive part of the money, Urch said.