Cars May Have to Take a Backseat In Downtown Laguna

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Orange County may not spring to mind as a place open to new ideas in urban design, but Laguna Beach is not your typical OC town. Case in point, city officials there are moving forward with plans to close down hip Forest Avenue to cars.

The closure would happen later this summer and could become permanent, especially if the mayor and city council get their way.

“Don’t test it, just do it,” Mayor Bob Whalen said, according to Laguna Beach Indy.

Whalen considers the closure a “beautification project” for LB, where parking spaces would be converted to parklets, or tiny public spaces, and string lighting, landscaping, and public art would be added to the streetscape.

Business owners, typically averse to losing parking spots, are ok with 48 spaces making way for benches and tables (parking inventory could be made up by allowing public parking at nearby garages and lots).

“[The parklet plan is] going to beautify Laguna Beach,” ice cream parlor owner Robert Sarhad told the L.A. Times.

LB officials are looking next at shutting down parts of Ocean Avenue to cars and installing parklets on top of the asphalt.

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