LAGUNA BEACH, CA— CalTrans is preparing to complete the culvert replacement in downtown Laguna Beach before Memorial Day. However, the morning drizzle caused problems at Promenade on Forest mid-week more than the traffic.

Walk on Forest Avenue closed to cars in favor of restaurants and pedestrian shops almost a year ago. In addition to alfresco dining, the street offers temporary art installations, musical performances, retail terraces, and additional greenery on Forest Avenue, from Coast Highway to Glenneyre Street. Laguna Beach City Council has decided to keep the road closed to traffic and parking until New Years Eve 2021.


Read: Walk through the pedestrianized forest square receives rave reviews


The design of Promenade on Forest supports local businesses by expanding customer seating and merchandise display areas and enabling social distancing. Aside from the challenges caused by the pandemic and the restrictions placed on visitors, business owners say their biggest obstacles are traffic, reduced parking and obstructed signs.

Accidents on Laguna Canyon Road shutting off access to Laguna Beach, as well as the Coast Highway and Broadway construction project, caused the only cancellations 230 Forest Avenue received due to traffic, according to host Patrick. . Pedestrian crowds continue to grow as restrictions in Orange County declined during the coronavirus.

A sign at the host station at 230 Forest Avenue asks diners to end their stay after 90 minutes. For the most part, customers oblige.

Regarding the lack of nearby parking, Patrick told Patch that elderly diners can park anywhere if they have a parking sign. Except on Avenue Forest, of course, because it remains reserved for pedestrian traffic only.

Dogs and humans alike enjoy the walk on Forest Avenue. Lisa Black / Crest

Street traders say the problem is not the construction but the lack of parking in front of their stores.

Fresh Produce management says their customer base tends to be older, so the lost proximity to parking may have affected business.

Another concern is that the umbrellas installed along the curbside store signage make the store more difficult to locate. In general, the two Fresh Produce employees say their customers love the Promenade on Forest Avenue.

Shopkeepers say they too enjoy the outdoor dining experience and like to hang out with friends over a glass of wine after work.

At Shoe Cellar, a clerk said that many people find the store after such encounters.

“It’s clean, it smells good and smoking is prohibited (at the Promenade),” he said. “I think it’s good for business.”

The Promenade on Forest is an experience that Laguna Beach City Council members put together in the midst of one of the most difficult times in Laguna Beach history. The city council has authorized and encouraged businesses and restaurants to expand their services to include outdoor dining and shopping. The invention of park-let dining spaces and the inviting design of the street transformed Forest Avenue in a way that is purely Laguna.

Should it remain open to pedestrians only after Christmas Eve 2021?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments or by emailing Lisa.Black@Patch.com.

Patch editor Ashley Ludwig contributed to this report.


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