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Jay Gaskins, San Clemente

In response to the very informative letter to the editor in the April 6-12 edition of the San Clemente Times by Gary Headrick, citing the vulnerability of all San Clemente residents due to the storage of nuclear waste at SONGS, I just want to say that I agree with you, and we are in a world of hurt if something happens that close to us and results in damage to our lives, our city, and our ocean.
Unfortunately, the only way to evacuate the city is through the Interstate 5 bottleneck that goes right through our town—at 8 miles per hour. If your “facts” and projections are accurate, it would not matter if (when) the waste leaks into our city limits if we can’t get out fast enough to outrun the mushroom cloud.
The problem is as follows: you and your disciples are locked in to your doomsday forecast but vehemently deny that the 241 toll road extension to Interstate 5 is a good idea. This is a textbook case of wanting something without tolerating the means to that end.
The impending danger at San Onofre and traffic congestion during evacuation are not mutually exclusive. Nuclear storage and leakage at SONGS will surely be the end of life as we know it, if you are correct with your predictions, married with the inability to get out of the affected areas.
I feel strongly that without multiple arterial throughways, the “doom and gloom” forecasters of nuclear waste, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and landslides have arguments that are baseless.

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comments (9)

  • I am really not too worried about a nuclear event. I doubt if 20 roads out of town will save us if there is an explosion of some kind.

    I do worry all the time about being stranded in SC day in and day out. Freeway improvements notwithstanding it will only get worse.

    We must solve the 241 extension problem. With all our technology and creativity as a society, I find it incredible that reasonable people can’t find a solution .

    We need to end the gridlock. Get back to the table now!

    • Please everyone understand the sarcasm related to the doomsday and mushroom cloud. My point is that the people that are predicting the SONGS end-of-days are the same ones that oppose the toll-rod. I am not sure why that sarcasm was so hard to understand in as much as Gary Headrick’s letters are so repetitive and predictable.

  • bring it down ortega complete the loop

    the 5 freeway jams up we are trapped in san clemente because the el camino real pch jams up also,,
    now the 5 freeway augmentation is to little to late ,,
    we are installing a nice pedestrian path on the north part of of elcamino real that is encroaching into the road not the hill or tracks and narrows that road to one lane thus hindering our ability to possibly go around the issue on I5 ,, smart they are not ,, next dog and pony show will be issuing parking to another greedy developer instead of a commuter hub for our citizens

  • That is the equivalent of doomsday.

  • If our concern is an immediate evacuation route, how would any proposed NEW road be a solution? Even if construction on a toll road were to begin tomorrow, it would be years and years before it could help us in an emergency. When the plant was in operation, the secondary evacuation route was El Camino Real/Pacific Coast Highway. Is El Camino Real no longer an evacuation route? If not, why not?

  • Ortega cannot handle anymore traffic. I don’t know if you have noticed all the homes that run along Ortega but that are A LOT. Dumping more cars at the 5 /Ortega intersection will create a disaster, more already exhists. SJC is an even smaller city and streets than SC and cannot handle anymore cars. The county blew it when they allowed Rancho Mission Viejo and needs to be sued by SJC/MV/and SC.

  • A toll road will not save you from radioactive fallout, this is nonsense and a poor excuse to put a toll road through the middle of San Clemente. The amount of health problems, property value loss and damage to city open space is more likely than a nuclear event. You can leave town using La Pata! I’m fine with connecting the 241 to the 5 as long as it’s out of San Clemente city limits. Put it through Camp Pendleton, plenty of space, complete the ‘Beltway’.

  • The town has been here for almost 100 years and not once has everyone getting on the highway and driving for their lives been necessary. Don’t live in fear and sacrifice the very thing that makes this town special to appease some rich A-holes who want more development to line their pockest and don’t give a rats ass about San Clemente or Ole Hanson’s vision.

  • La Pata is now open. That negates whatever perceptual advantage the toll road would provide. We now have a secondary exit out of San Clemente. Secondly, all reactors at San Onofre have been shut down; thus reducing the “potential” for a rapid catastrophic incident in which a pressurized breach of the containment dome releases massive amounts of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. And, ha ha, what makes anyone think they would tell us if San Onofre started emitting radioactive gas. They did not in the past!

    One of the primary reasons to build the toll roads has always been to facilitate development of large tracts of land by making them accessible via the toll roads and reducing the cost of infrastructure for the large landowners who are developing the land. The second reason was to facilitate the creation of El Toro Airport. An airport generates millions of new trips per year. The County found away to avoid the cost of mitigating airport (and airport induced development) generated traffic by shifting the burden to the public via user funded toll roads. One reason the 73 Toll Road bonds went into technical default was because El Toro Airport got defeated and massive amounts of airport related traffic never materialized.

    Ironically, the toll roads create traffic as opposed to eliminating traffic. The very nature of the financing of the toll roads with massive amounts of capital appreciation bonds (negatively amortizing loans) requires ever more development to generate increasing traffic to pay the ever increasing bond payments. The toll roads have been a huge hoax on the OC public.

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