Jay Gaskins, San Clemente
I am exhausted from reading the letters and columns regarding toll roads, traffic congestion and associated environmental issues. One writer recently stated that I-5 going through San Clemente is rarely congested and only affects the Mission Viejo area during specific rush hours. Her comments are incorrect and she is creating her own “facts” to support her agenda. Another writer stated that toll roads don’t work, are only for the rich and that’s why the 73 toll road is generally empty and untraveled, which is false.
Anyone who travels the I-5 frequently would know the vast majority of the traffic is from San Diego commuters who are traveling north through the San Clemente bottleneck. The congestion on I-5 through San Clemente is not even limited to rush hour traffic anymore; rather, it is congested all the time, and making matters worse, the reinstated high school traffic turns the I-5 through San Clemente from a nightmare to a nicely remodeled parking lot.
The conclusion I’ve drawn from reading these letters is that people would rather have 15, eight-lane streets running through the middle of San Clemente with a street light every 500 feet, from San Juan Capistrano to San Onofre than one reasonable toll or non-toll freeway that relieves the traffic in its totality.
The only reason this conversation exists regarding toll roads going through the city of San Clemente, is because these same activists deciding that making a toll road that circumnavigated San Clemente was a bad idea are now reaping the benefits of their prior ignorance. In fact, the toll road continuation and final termination to Cristianitos is the only traffic-suppressing proposal that makes sense and includes emergency evacuation benefits.
Instead of making the Transportation Corridor Agencies the enemy, maybe people should listen to the proposals, understood the environmental impact and weigh the project fairly. Then, maybe a protest against a toll road through the city, after a stupid agreement was made between the TCA and environmental groups, wouldn’t have been the first choice.
Possibly, opening up HOV lanes to all (with no permits), reducing the shoulder width and making the high school exit long enough to handle a day’s worth of students would help, as well.