Save Lincoln Avenue – the official Questionnaire!


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Readers of this blog may remember, from last November, that Anaheim’s Public Works Department, motivated by both a $5 million transportation grant and grave concern over how bad traffic might be by year 2035, have been hell-bent on widening Lincoln Avenue from West Street to Harbor Boulevard.  And of course this would entail severe infringement on the properties there – for example the displacement of Visser’s Florist and our friend Jesús Aguirre’s insurance/travel agency, and cutting back on both the front porch of St Boniface Church (where folks daily take photographs for their weddings, funerals and quinceañeras) and much of the sweeping front lawn in front of Anaheim High School.

We OJ writers and commenters expressed many of our objections to the plan on this blog at the time.  Commenter “BigBoxOfRedWhine” came up with what seems like a much cheaper and less destructive idea:  Make a mile or so of Lincoln westbound only, and a mile or so of Broadway eastbound only.  Like so many other cities do.  We call that the Orange Juice Option.

When I ran into Public Works’ Rudy Emami at a townhall a couple months ago, he told me this would never work: The main supporters of the street widening, he said, were the neighbors north and south of Lincoln who constantly complained about traffic cutting through their side streets; and the Orange Juice Option would make that even worse. Well, maybe, maybe not, but we still prefer it; maybe a few “speed lumps” would discourage that.

Well, what’s new is that Public Works is now asking for the public’s opinion on this project, with an online survey you can access here:  http://anaheim.net/FormCenter/Public-Works-5/Lincoln-Avenue-Improvements-126

They even allow you a space to tell them WHY you oppose (or support) their plan.  Here’s what some of us wrote:

Vern Nelson (me):

I don’t want to lose any of the businesses there, or the front of the church or the front of the high school. Or spend so much transportation money buying them all out. I think we should instead make a stretch of Lincoln westbound only, and a stretch of Broadway eastbound only. And you’ve also said you’re concerned about the traffic in 2035 or so? Well, then this doesn’t have to be a big rush. We could spend our transportation money on a dozen other little but important improvements.

One Roberta Thompson-Hopkins:

Anaheim has been torn up enough!! Our History has been destroyed by past so called improvements. It’s time to salvage and preserve what’s left!! Take lessons from surrounding cities like Fullerton and Orange. They have managed to update without compromising their history!!! Look into the possibility of one way streets instead. All roads are never going to be perfect and believe it or not, all roads don’t need to cater to Disney!!! There is always going to be traffic, like it or not. And by the way, I didn’t get any notifications about meetings!!!

And our own Cynthia Ward, on this blog in November:

You are needed to send your objections to City Hall for a roadway project NOT on the Council Agenda, because the comment period ends tonight at midnight for the most ill-conceived project since ARTIC. At least.

The traffic engineers whose desire to move cars through town as quickly as possible appears in complete disconnect to the function those roads serve in accessing the community those roads run through, have now cooked up a doozie:   In anticipation of increased traffic in 2035, they want to expand Lincoln Avenue, with eminent domain takes along both sides of the street, despite their own studies showing the current traffic flow is just fine. Hand to forehead. Proceed.

One segment of the project runs from West Street to Harbor Blvd, taking out frontage of about 15 feet, give or take a foot here and there, on the north side of Lincoln, UNTIL IT HITS CITRON WHEN THE PROJECT TAKES THE ENTIRETY OF VISSER’S FLORIST AND ECONOMY TRAVEL. Mind you, the business owners apparently have not been asked whether they are OK with this. “Partial takes” include the lawn on Anaheim High School, a social gathering space and drop off point for the hundreds of students who do not drive themselves to school in the new BMWs they got for their 16th birthdays, because CANYON HIGH this is NOT. Additionally the historic campus was intended by its designers to be experienced from a distance, with the broad swath of lawn between the street and the building, and losing its context and setting can impact its status as a site of historic significance. Can anyone say CEQA?

The same takings and similar impacts will affect St. Boniface church, where just today I saw congregants assembled for photos and a community celebration at the entrance plaza in front of the steps. Generations of brides and grooms, Quinceneara parties, etc. have been photographed in that plaza, which will evaporate into faster moving traffic, with the street coming up to not far from the steps themselves if we don’t stop this. Across the street, the project cuts into the corner plaza of the Millard Sheets design of Home Savings (NOW CHASE) coming close enough to potentially lose the John Edward Svenson sculpture, “Child on Dolphin,” fountain (in disrepair) now listed by the City as a “planter” because the little boy has been riding dolphins into dirt and bedraggled landscape plantings for years.

Numerous other properties will lose less sq. footage but they will be impacted all the same, and there is a bungalow court that will have the front 2 units lopped off of it. So the ONE place on Lincoln MOST in need of genuine traffic calming due to the very high concentration of pedestrians accessing St Boniface and Anaheim High is getting faster moving traffic with SEVEN freaking lanes of cars, placed even closer to the buildings. Instead of highlighting the remaining charm in the last remaining vintage stretch of the street we are once again going to tear stuff out in the name of “progress.”

You can read the report here: http://www.anaheim.net/DocumentCenter/View/13635

And once more, gentle readers, let them know your thoughts here.  Bonus: they will then have your contact info and presumably keep you in the loop for the next meeting.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.