We at the City of Newport Beach greatly appreciated the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Director's vote earlier this week to postpone a decision on removing the 19th Street Bridge from the Master Plan of Arterial Highways (MPAH). We consider this to be a six-month period to finalize a good list of mitigation measures to modify existing roadways and intersections to accommodate regional traffic if the bridge is deleted after all.
As to the Board’s decision on May 14, it’s not easy to undo things. Huntington Beach Mayor Don Hansen’s motion to provide for a six-month discussion period showed respect for the process. Newport Beach will respond in kind, by fully cooperating in developing the mitigation measures and engaging in the collaborative process set forth in the MPAH. As our Mayor Nancy Gardner noted, we can see the writing on the wall.
I attended the OCTA Board meeting and listened to some pretty harsh comments from the public about Newport Beach. Comments that led me to infer that folks haven’t been listening to us. Let me set the record straight then – we will be a partner in this. We are willing to support the bridge’s deletion from the MPAH, but the MPAH requires that mitigation measures be identified and prioritized. Many measures will be implemented in Newport Beach, but some might be in Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach.
We appreciate that the OCTA Board reaffirmed that working together is better than fighting things out in court.
Thank you OCTA.
Newport Beach City Manager