What We Learned
Mariners’ Mile, identified as special study area in the City’s General Plan, is more than a high-speed thoroughfare. Rather than seeing the entire 1.3 mile length as one type of thoroughfare facility, our team used a ‘Context-Sensitive’ design approach. We observed that the area has three horizontal transition zones based upon these two elements:
Thoroughfare Design Speed – The higher-speed areas flow into Mariners’ Mile from the east over a bridge and from the west under a grade-separated overpass (Newport Boulevard). The lowest speed area is a quarter-mile segment in the Village Core to facilitate pedestrian and bicyclist safety connecting the neighborhoods to the waterfront.
How Buildings Front onto the Thoroughfare – The buildings may be more urban, mixed-use, and walkable in the Village Core area, and thereby set closer to the street for access and window shopping. While the buildings on the edges are set back further from the thoroughfare, away from the noise and higher speed traffic.
The horizontal zones have the following characteristics:
Highway Zone WEST – Coast Highway is mostly separated by gated subdivisions behind sound walls leading into the Newport Boulevard grade separated zone at the west end of the project area.
TRANSITION ZONE WEST – Newport Boulevard’s on and off-ramps in conjunction with a Coast Highway lane reduction from 3 to 2 lanes lowers speeds at the west end of Mariner’s Mile. Approximately 1,000 linear feet in distance.
VILLAGE CORE ZONE – Currently, two stop lights at Riverside and Tustin Avenues within one (1) block of each other. Riverside Avenue links the upper Cliff Drive Park and neighborhood to the north. Tustin Avenue links to the public parking spaces off Avon Street, the business district, and upper neighborhoods. High pedestrian volumes at times in conjuction with on-street parking and the close spacing of signals at Riverside and Tustin can impact traffic flow at times. This segment is approximately 1,320 linear feet centered on Tustin Avenue.
TRANSITION ZONE EAST – The longest segment, over a half-mile from the hillside pinch point closest to the waterfront to Dover Drive to the east. The north side is filled with new drive-thru restaurants and one-off buildings hemmed in to the hillside. The south side has the Balboa Bay Club, condos and hotel. A gated subdivision sits isolated south of Coast Highway. Multiple driveways and on-steet parking on the inland side can impact traffic flow at times. Traffic speeds toward the Bridge over Newport Bay or slows down towards Tustin.
HIGHWAY ZONE EAST – The wide bridge speeds traffic on a seven (7) lane arterial segment towards Newport Center or west towards Dover Drive.
Mariners’ Mile, identified as a special study area in the City’s General Plan, is more than a high-speed section of Highway. Rather than seeing the entire 1.3 mile length as one commercially zoned area on a major thoroughfare, our team used a ‘Context-Sensitive’ design approach to creating a safe, walkable, drivable, bike-able, linger-able, sit-able, shop-able and live-able Village. We observed that the area has three vertical transition zones based upon these seven (7) elements
from south to north:
The Bay – Accessible only by boats. The Duffy Boat was invented, made and sold here, defining a distinctive Newport Beach transportation vernacular. Beautiful and clean, everyone wants to be near, in and around the water.
The Waterfront – Where land, sea, and air meet, a very dynamic place that defines Newport Beach and its appeal to the world. Intermittent and sporadic connectivity, this is where everyone wants to stroll, hang out, and connect with the water and life on land.
Double Fronted Private Lots South – A unique lot type to Newport Beach, these lots must front onto Coast Highway and capture the attention of those driving by at high-speed as well as those boating by at a slower pace. They must draw customers from land towards the bay with views and access.
Parking is at a premium as these long narrow lots compete with space for commerce, pleasure, water frontage and coast highway frontage. Approximately 150 feet deep on average.
Coast Highway – On the prior page we identified how this facility behaves as the segments transition from high-speed highway to a safe walkable, bike-able, shop-able and livable thoroughfare in a village setting, then transitioning back to a high-speed thoroughfare.
Double Fronted Private Lots North – Another unique building type opportunity for these two sided long, linear lots between Coast Highway and access along the base of the bluff area. Approximately 200 feet deep on average.
The Bluff – Another unique place, the bluff and its parks surround the ‘village’ area of Mariners’ Mile. The large homes overlooking the area are the edge of a well-established and beloved neighborhood.
7. The Neighborhood – The upper neighborhoods have high-quality schools and high quality of life with direct access to this village area. Many residents drive, walk, and bike down to the village-area shops, post office, and restaurants. Many travel through the area for daily trips and weekend recreational areas.