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Corona del Mar Today: Plan for sharrows struck in traffic

June 11, 2011|By Amy Senk
  • Ehan Chung, 9, of Mission Viejo, placed first in the kids' Dolphin Dash in CdM Scenic 5K.
Ehan Chung, 9, of Mission Viejo, placed first in the kids'… (Amy Senk, Daily…)

A divided Bicycle Safety Committee put the brakes on plans to add sharrow markings on East Coast Highway through Corona del Mar at the group's Monday meeting.

"I'm going to play Solomon here and continue to keep it on the agenda," said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner after the group voted 2-2 on a plan to ask the Newport Beach City Council to review the sharrows proposal. "Obviously we're not going to move forward, but I'm reluctant to reject it altogether."

A third committee member who arrived after the vote said he also didn't think sharrows belonged anywhere in Corona del Mar.

"I don't like them on Bayside," said John Hefferman. "I wouldn't be going forward into Corona del Mar."

"I can't envision the safety aspect really being what we think it's going to be," said Denis LaBonge, who also voted no.

He said that he also worries about the city's liability in case of a crash, despite a report released at the meeting from the city attorney's office that said there would be no liability issues.

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Tony Petros, another committee member, had been a long opponent of sharrows, pushing instead for alternate routes through Corona del Mar for casual bikers.

Several residents attending the meeting said they supported sharrows.

"I feel like I'm being bullied out there on Coast Highway because I'm in the lane — and I will take the lane," said Frank Peters, a member of the task force who first brought sharrows to the table. "I refuse to let myself get doored. That is very dangerous."

Marshall Perkins of Corona del Mar said serious cyclists might not need sharrows to feel safe on Coast Highway, but average cyclists would benefit from markings that remind motorists that bikes belong on the road.

"They'd appreciate the sharrows," he said. "They feel completely intimidated by Pacific Coast Highway."

Sharrows would cost $13,000 to $15,000 to paint, but the price could decrease if the city incorporated other projects in a bid so traffic control costs could be coordinated, said Brad Sommers, Newport Beach senior engineer.

Sharrows were first discussed for Corona del Mar in a Task Force on Cycling Safety meeting in December 2009.

A jogger collapsed in the 300 block of Hazel Drive about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, and emergency crews were on scene performing CPR, officials said. Three Newport Beach Fire Department units were dispatched to the scene.

In a separate incident, a bike accident injured one person at Seaward Road and East Coast Highway just after 4 p.m. Sunday.

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