New youth center won't drive traffic

June 05, 2004

I attended a Newport Beach Planning Commission meeting on the St.

Andrew's renovation, and it appears that vehicle traffic generated by

the church's proposed replacement facility is of primary concern to

opposing neighbors. It also appears that the increased vehicle

traffic is a red herring that is fast becoming a myth.

What's being proposed by St. Andrew's is a youth and family center

to replace the current inadequate classrooms. The specific purpose


(beyond the children's and youth programs already in place) is to

target Ensign Intermediate School and Newport Harbor High School

students with after-school programs. This isn't a new idea; St.

Andrew's successfully offers after-school programs and tutoring at

its off-campus Shalimar Street facility in Costa Mesa.

In regard to the on-campus project, keep in mind half of these

kids don't even have driver's licenses, much less cars -- therefore,

think bicycles and foot traffic. Vehicle traffic is generated

primarily by parents and high school students who are already driving

in the neighborhood. If there's an increase in parent/high school

vehicle traffic, the increase originated at the three neighborhood

high schools, not St. Andrew's, which is merely attempting to improve

facilities and provide programs for students otherwise unsupervised

during the "trouble hours" between 3 and 6 p.m.

Naturally, adult programs aren't greatly affected by youth

facilities; therefore, no one can rightly forecast a surge in

adult-generated vehicle traffic based on this proposal. Regarding

parking -- the below-grade tier of the proposed two-tier garage will

be used mostly by personnel, regular volunteers and other adults

normally using the campus. Daytime child and youth programs -- now

using half the existing parking lot -- will be going inside, further

permitting full use of the street-level tier every day.

If the City Council and the Planning Commission feel that

parent/high school vehicle traffic is an issue, then a master plan

including the three neighborhood schools needs to be implemented. A

replacement facility at St. Andrew's is not the problem.


Newport Beach

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