It appears that there is a major disconnect with the city of Newport Beach, the Newport Beach Police Department and the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
During last City Council Study session on Jan. 28, the main discussion was about how to improve safety in Newport Heights. There were many ideas: One-way streets designated “safe” streets, additional signage, striping of crosswalks and more crossing guards, (especially at Cliff Drive and Irvine Boulevard). The Newport Beach Police Department is responsible for the crossing guards; the city of Newport Beach is responsible for the signage and studying the traffic patterns.
At the meeting Dave Webb, Director of Public Works, presented a comprehensive study; however, that all came to a crashing halt when the Newport-Mesa Unified School District became involved in the conversation.
Ara Zareczny, representing the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees, suddenly scampered up to the podium to announce that the Board has announced plans to cut down all the trees along Cliff Drive and to install what is referred to as a “banana” shaped parking lot (quite similar to Blackie’s parking lot on the Balboa Peninsula, where vehicles drive in on a diagonal and when reversing, the cars then create a “log-jam” affect).
This concept would completely defeat the purpose of making a better path for our children and compromise the safety of the students. According to Zareczny, the school board conducted massive community outreach; yet, local residents who live directly across the street from Ensign have stated that the school board never contacted them.
We need to “close the gap” between the city, the police department and the school district and allow them to proceed with improved communication and transparency to the citizens that live in Newport Heights. As tax-paying residents that employ and elect these representatives and agencies, the majority of people feel that the destruction and removal of trees to facilitate an institutional and hazardous parking lot is just plain “bananas.”
This idea is on the bad end of the banana scale… rotten.