Chris Hamm
Chris Hamm

By City Council member Chris Hamm

One of the biggest threats facing San Clemente is the potential extension of the 241 toll road through town. The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is doing its best to divide our community and build another “Kings Highway.” We need to stand united as a community against all toll road options that divide San Clemente the way the I-5 has. Don’t be fooled by the TCA’s attempt to pit neighbor against neighbor by presenting options through different communities. We need to stand united to show them that we will not accept any new toll roads. If you live in San Clemente, you will be negatively affected by the construction of the toll road.

With the TCA’s settlement with environmental groups preventing the consideration of the alignment that would have run behind San Clemente from the Oso Parkway terminus to the I-5 just south of San Clemente, the TCA is pursuing other options. This is why it is important that our community unite to protect San Clemente.

Some people might point to the traffic on the I-5 as a reason to support the toll road. This is a farce. The TCA’s own numbers show a minimal reduction in traffic from the I-5 if the toll road is completed. Building a freeway junction in the center of town will not reduce traffic; it will worsen it. Once the I-5 widening is complete, coupled with the recently completed La Pata extension, we will see traffic decrease. The TCA has increased its toll fees a dozen times, which limits accessibility to only those who can afford it. The price to drive the toll road, combined with the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration hikes, will do little to solve traffic congestion. San Clemente residents will bear a painful burden if the toll road cuts through our town. It would change the quiet landscape, home values will plummet, and it will reduce sales and bed taxes resulting in general fund revenue losses.

Due to the settlement agreement, the toll road cannot be built around San Clemente. The following options are being proposed: Route 14 creates a flyover freeway shadowing La Pata, behind Target, crosses Vera Cruz and connects to the I-5 over the high-school fields at Pico (this is the most likely scenario). Route 13 and 17 create flyovers that follow the ridgeline north of Forster Ranch, cuts over Los Mares and flies down the center of the Shorecliffs Golf Course, connecting to the I-5 at Vaquero.

The City Council adopted a resolution opposing these proposed routes, and in a letter to the TCA we communicated that the only solution with the least impact would be to build out arterial roads. We urged the TCA to look at this solution because it provides the best benefits for mobility for South Orange County with the fewest adverse impacts. This would include a combination of arterial street improvements to extend Crown Valley Parkway to connect to the 241 toll road, construct an east-west arterial along the option 9 corridor and extend La Pata.

We reminded the TCA that prior analysis was conducted on option 9, which would provide an east-west connection between the 73 and 241 toll roads. This analysis demonstrated that this connection would provide regional mobility benefits, so we urged the TCA to consider this option in its environmental impact review of project alternatives. An east-west connection is similar to the “Beltway” alternative. As a result of the public and City Council urging the TCA to include in its process a greater effort to identify arterial solutions to traffic, the TCA agreed to do so at its last meeting.

Join me in opposing any new construction of toll roads—we need to start the conversation now. Together we can stop the construction of this unneeded, overpriced roadway. Learn more by visiting  or email me at Also, attend City Council meetings, which will include status updates on this topic.

Chris Hamm is a San Clemente City Council member, who served as mayor in 2015. He was reelected to office in 2016.

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comments (7)

  • tca – complete the loop you foreign owned anti competition parasites ,,,,,,,,pay or free ? you know what we like MR Hamm

  • So, it’s not fine to build a toll road that ruins your community, but it’s fine to build a toll road that ruins mine. How much marijuana did you need to smoke for this to start making any semblance of sense?

    Why does San Clemente insist on pushing Options 9 and 18?

    I’ve never seen such a NIMBY outlook so flagrantly displayed. The city leadership and any residents who support these options are pathetic excuses for human beings.

  • Interesting, the city has not been shy about suing people and businesses. Where is the lawsuit challenging the TCA’s plans?

  • Never wast a good crisis.
    Strong political advice.
    You still have the issue of the dangerous new PCH, 1 head on collision already 2 vehicle’s in your uncovered ditch.
    Deal with the TOLL road but we will be watching closely what you have up your sleeve. A lot of us are watching closely.

  • Thanks, Chris Hamm. We definitely need to win this for our awesome town.

    Okay folks, as I have indicated before in my prior comments replying to Justin McCarthy — I do not know this person and cannot tell from this cryptic response if he is being sarcastic. Either way like his prior comments it is an epic fact fail.

    If they are being serious then it is highly hypocritical for them to suggest that our city is suing people and businesses when it is not. This person has twisted the circumstances to draw attention. The truth is the only legal action the city is involved with is defending our town from profiteers like Sovereign health (sober living homes company) and Memorial Care (people that drove our hospital into the ground and closed it.)

    Funny thing is when I researched this person for a prior article comment also on the SC Times I learned he had been in the Palm Desert City Manager office for years 15+ years. (Here’s the link to the prior article – //

    What makes it even more hypocritical is that it is coming from a person who has a history of working in City government that used this knowledge, not for the good of the city but to sue the city for $2MM in public funds. He did this so he could personally profit from an unorthodox fund that was put in place decades ago which had fallen off the radar.

    So yes we do need to unify as the article suggests. Do not hold your breath expecting any help from greedy profiteers like Mr. McCarthy with issues threatening our City. It seems he is only in it for his own personal gain.

    If you by chance want to get involved to help find alternatives so the toll roads bypass San Clemente consider joining this group –

    #factfail #justinmccarthy #profiteer

  • Problem solved…Gnatcatcher and Pocket Mouse

  • Thank you Chris Hamm and the entire SC CC for your advocacy on behalf of our town. The Toll Road is not needed nor is it wanted by San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano or Dana Point. As you mention it will drastically worsen traffic by linking the 14,000 home Rancho Mission Viejo development to the 5 freeway. The entire reason for pushing this monstrosity through is to facilitate development inland at the expense of our towns. Don’t be fooled by the scare tactics used by the TCA including the disingenuous argument of needing additional “access” in case of disaster. The thousands of cars from RMV dumped onto city streets and the 5Fwy will not improve access out of San Clemente; the net concentration of traffic will always be towards the beach towns. Additionally, our communities will be left to deal with the very real, daily risk of pollution from a major roadway cutting right through a fully developed town. Over 200,000 people die in this country annually from air pollution, it is extremely reckless to propose such a burden on the residents of our beach cities in order to line the pockets of developers.

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