Harbor Blvd to be Widened to 6 Lanes with Bus Service?

Read linked documents and see what conclusion you come to.

From the Orange County Transportation Authority Website:

"Between July 2007 and January 2008, OCTA and Metro conducted an analysis of existing and future transportation issues.

The study includes extensive coordination with technical staff and elected officials from cities located along the county line, as well as with the general public."

Excerpt From Study's Conceptual 2030 Alternatives Strategies:

See the OCTA Web Page Here

See the Study Here

See the Purpose of the Study Here

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Metro) April 16, 2008 Meeting Staff Report

La Habra Heights is a member of "Gateway Cities", and has Council member representation in the group.

Research finds at least 3 meetings at which the plan was on the agenda, and the La Habra Heights Council member was in attendance.

The Study first surfaced at the March 7, 2007 Gateway Cities Transportation Committee meeting. La Habra Heights is clearly in the study area and at risk. See pages 22 and 23 of the Agenda Report here. Minutes of the meeting are here.

Gateway Cities Executive Committee April 2, 2008 Agenda and Minutes.

Gateway Cities (LHH is a member) Transportation Committee April 2, 2008 Meeting Minutes

Elected Officials' Workshops were held in Cerritos in December 2007, and Los Alamitos April 30, 2008. There is a record that the La Habra Heights representative attended the December 2007 meeting.

According to the report (excerpt above) and the timeline link on the OCTA website, there were meetings with elected officials in the study process, which leads to two questions:

• Did Elected City Officials know about this plan and agree?....... or

• Did Elected Officials not look out for the interests of residents? (See related story "Is the City Council looking out for the residents")

Any widening would be contrary to the La Habra Heights General Plan Circulation Element which states:

Circulation Element Policy 12. Prohibit any change in the width of the roadbed, any change in the alignment, and any increase in the number of lanes on Harbor Boulevard, as such changes would negatively impact the rural environment of La Habra Heights and would be detrimental to the City by increasing noise and pollution throughout the City.

Further, the location of Harbor Boulevard isconstrained by steep slopes on either side andby a major crossing of the wildlife corridor.

Accordingly, alteration to this road would have environmental consequences similar to those noted above with respect to Hacienda Road.

The 2007 City election ushered in a developer and urban friendly Council. While building the new Fire Station was put aside, Zoning Code changes weakening view protection and facilitiating Urban Estates has been on the fast track, and in violation of the General Plan.

This is similar to the Council in the late 1990s. At that time, plans to straighten and widen Hacienda Rd to 4 lanes had been approved and funded by MTA. Residents directly asked the City Manager at the time if a widening was planned. He responded, "Oh no, no one would want that."

Further inquiries by residents revealed that there was indeed a plan. The City Manager was said to have told the City Council members supportive of the plan that, "The residents found out."

The Community galvanized and soundly defeated the widening plan.

Past history has shown that residents cannot depend on the City Council to protect our rural environment, but must rally and lead the Council, or elect those who will.

Often officials try to minimize the impacts of road widenings and other "improvements" by saying, "That won't happen for X years.", or, "It has no funding.", or "It's just a concept."

Well, before you know it, X years has passed, the funding comes, it turns into a solid plan, and you are stuck with it.

The time to act is NOW.

What's Next

The next step for the plan is presentation at the Orange County Transporation Agency (OCTA) and Los Angeles Metro Board meetings in January.

Our City Council members need to be encouraged to attend those meeting to have the Harbor widening and bus route removed from the plan.