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Youth Columnist: Development in Irvine Needs to Slow Down


I’m a classic example of my generation — teenagers who were born and raised here in Irvine. My parents, like so many others, settled in Irvine because of the terrific school system and the quality of life that the City offered its residents. I went to school here — first at Stone Creek Elementary, then Lakeside Middle School, and now Woodbridge High School.

Mandy playing at Bill Barber Park as a young child

As much as I love my hometown, I’ve witnessed huge — and not so good — changes as both Irvine and I grew.

When I was young, I remember visiting parks that were beautiful and uncrowded.  Often, it would be just me and my father, playing in the sand together, or my dad helping me across the monkey bars.  When I accompanied my mother to the supermarket, it was easy to find a parking spot and there was always room for shoppers to pass each other in the aisle. The wait at the register was almost nonexistent.  On Google Maps, there wouldn’t be any red lines. In general, life in Irvine was easygoing, comfortable, and most importantly, lacking the noise, traffic, and stress of city life.

As I entered sixth grade, Irvine began to develop at an accelerated pace.  Roads started closing for construction and entire swaths of land were built up into massive multi-story apartment complexes.  By the time the second Costco came to town, the parking lots were constantly filled.  And now it’s not even possible to get to my school without sitting in a traffic jam.

A typical morning stuck in traffic trying to get to Woodbridge High School

Witnessing these changes over such a short period of time is startling!

Even at 16, I can clearly see that the speed at which Irvine is developing is much too fast. Irvine hasn’t even had the chance to truly breathe before suddenly, it has changed. The streets are choking with cars; the schools are overflowing with students.

Irvine’s growing too fast, too quickly. Going so fast that it’s hard to keep up.

Development in and of itself can be a good thing, but development that is too much and too fast, tends to hurt the community.  The pay-off for the community just isn’t worth it.

For the sake of people who live here and the quality of our lives, I encourage our City leaders to slow down development in Irvine.  It’s the right thing to do for the kids who are being raised here, for our parents, and for the entire Irvine community.

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