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Commentary: It's time to reopen lane at Coast Highway, Dover

March 28, 2014|By Leslie Daigle

I am pro-resident and pro-traffic flow. There is only one road in Newport Beach that touches all seven districts. It's one of only two east-west roads across the bay.

Pacific Coast Highway is the lifeblood of our community. The closure of lanes at PCH and Dover Drive because of the Mariners Pointe project is creating inconveniences for motorists and bicyclists.

PCH is a unique animal; it has two lanes in some places and four lanes in others. PCH and Dover is a choke point that tapers down to two lanes and needs to operate at maximum capacity.

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Closing lanes at this location is like closing a lane in front of El Ranchito in Corona del Mar. It's already heavily impacted.

It was reported to me that traffic has been backed up to Jamboree Road, which is almost one mile away.

The congestion caused by the elimination of the third northbound lane on PCH shows how important that lane is to the smooth flow of traffic along the highway.

The additional closure of the curb lane on Dover removes the opportunity for residents coming down Dover to go right and for Bayshore residents to go straight across PCH.

Caltrans, a state agency, permitted the lane closure until April 23. At this week's City Council meeting, I asked that the city's Public Works Department try to persuade Caltrans to lift the lane closure sooner and restore smooth operations along Coast Highway. Caltrans and the city have a long history of working together.

The stated reason for the closure is to install curbs and gutters. Good news. They are largely in place.

The contractor is using the final 30 feet of the site as a driveway and can continue to do so when the lane is reopened. The company ought to install asphalt so dirt stays off the public's road.

There's no reason to continue lane closures because it's convenient for a contractor to store building materials. The city's obligation is to our residents.

And our residents deserve better.

LESLIE DAIGLE is the Newport Beach city councilwoman representing District 4.

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