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Mark McGuire, San Clemente
In 2006, the TCA claimed that extending the 241 toll road to I-5 would save drivers 31,000 vehicle hours per day in 2025 by reducing congestion on the 5.
In its recent draft PSR, the TCA claims that extending the 241 to I-5 would only save I-5 drivers 1,740 hours per day in 2050. That is one-18th the amount of traffic relief, 25 years further out, than what the TCA was saying in 2006.
I am convinced that the TCA’s Route 14 concept of extending the 241 to I-5 at Pico is dead.
TCA’s newly favored boondoggle is Alternative 21—construction of four managed lanes in the middle of I-5 from Basilone Road to the 73 toll road. Managed lanes can be used by high-occupancy vehicles for free and vehicles with one or two occupants can use by paying a toll. The TCA’s projections show managed lanes would reduce vehicle delay on I-5 by about 4,300 hours per day in 2050.
Constructing four managed lanes in the middle of I-5 through San Clemente would be devastating in terms of takings for right of way. No responsible transportation agency would undertake such a massive and disruptive project to save 4,300 hours of delay 32 years from now.
For comparison, the OCTA is undertaking a widening project on the 405 from the north end of the 73 to the LA County line. The project extends a similar distance to what the TCA’s proposed managed lanes would travel.
Traffic studies for that project estimate that it will reduce congestion by 93,000 hours in 2025 and a whopping 350,000 hours per day in 2040. The traffic relief provided by the 405 project will be greater than any of the TCA’s “south County mobility solutions.” An estimated 350,000 hours of time saved daily, compared to 1,700 hours for Alternative 14 or 4,300 hours for Managed Lanes (Alternative 21).
Sometimes there are hard choices to make involving environmentally damaging road projects that provide substantial traffic benefits—but that is not the situation we face.
It is insane that we have to fight like hell to stop the TCA from destroying our town. But fight like hell we will, and the facts favor us in this fight.
Letter has been edited to reflect the author’s intended project estimates for the 405 expansion.