Some residents of the exclusive Emerald Bay community voiced concern that a safety project at the neighborhood’s main gate could lead to a traffic signal that they oppose.

A handful of Emerald Bay residents approached the Laguna Beach City Council last week to question a notice from community representatives giving an update on the gate safety project. The residents asked whether it meant a traffic signal could be coming at Emerald Bay and North Coast Highway.

Article Tab: Beachfront homes in the gated Emerald Bay community are among the most valuable in Orange County.
Beachfront homes in the gated Emerald Bay community are among the most valuable in Orange County.
CINDY YAMANAKA, REGISTER FILE PHOTO

It has been a topic of heated discussion the past few years. While some residents have been awaiting a signal at the spot, citing traffic and safety concerns, others say it’s not needed.

City Manager John Pietig said the city supports other improvements at the unincorporated community but does not support a traffic signal at this time. That part of Coast Highway is in the city’s jurisdiction. The council decided in May 2012 that the intersection wasn’t particularly dangerous, with a lower accident rate than intersections on similar state highways, traffic engineer Steve Brown reported.

The notice said the community’s Main Gate Executive Committee will continue to promote the traffic signal because “it is crucial to the safety of residents and the public traveling on PCH.”

“I was very disturbed by that,” Emerald Bay resident Patty Collisson said.

Before anything happens with a signal, the issue would go before the City Council with a full report, Pietig assured residents.

City officials met last month with representatives of Emerald Bay and the California Department of Transportation to discuss the safety project, which includes:

• Two lanes in and out of the main gate entry

• A right-turn pocket for northbound drivers and a turn lane for southbound drivers will be lengthened.

• The acceleration lane for drivers leaving the community and turning south will be lengthened.

• A raised median on the center of North Coast Highway

• Street lights added to the intersection