By Lillian Boyd
The initial stages of the environmental process to study the proposed 241 Toll Road extensions through San Clemente and parts of San Juan Capistrano are officially underway, as Caltrans is now accepting public comment and review of the South County Traffic Relief Effort. The public-comment period has been extended to Feb. 7.
The Relief Effort, which includes a series of proposed routes—some of which intend to extend the 241 through San Clemente and connect to the I-5 Freeway, while another is to extend Crown Valley Parkway to the 241—are intended to “improve north-south regional mobility in South Orange County and accommodate regional travel demand,” according to Caltrans.
Comments received during scoping will be taken into account in the drafting and preparation of the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement. The initial public-comment period was set at 30 days. The period was extended to 60 days after San Clemente Mayor Dan Bane had implored Caltrans and the TCA to provide more time during the holidays.
On Dec. 13, Caltrans, in cooperation with TCA, issued a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report to announce the public scoping period had been extended a second time until Feb. 7, for an overall 90-day period.
Initially, there was a total of 24 overall ideas for the project, but those have been narrowed down to 11 alternative proposals—including a no-build option—all of which will eventually go through environmental and engineering studies.
The proposed options that could potentially impact San Clemente and San Juan include alternatives 13, 14, 17, 21, 22 and 23.
Alternative 13 would have the 241 extension come down through San Juan and cut west to connect to the I-5.
Alternative 17 would similarly have the 241 travel down through San Juan and continue south into San Clemente, connecting to the I-5 through Shorecliffs.
Alternative 14 is proposed to extend down near the western border of Rancho Mission Viejo, cross over La Pata and join the freeway by Avenida Pico.
Alternative 21 comprises two separate roadway segments, with the first one extending Los Patrones Parkway from Cow Camp Road to Avenida La Pata. “The second segment would provide a median-to-median, high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane connector from SR 73 to I-5,” according to the Relief Effort.
Alternative 22, a road alignment plan that Orange County Board Supervisor and Chairperson Lisa Bartlett had proposed, would connect the new Los Patrones Parkway from Cow Camp Road to Avenida La Pata, running along the east side of the Prima Deschecha Landfill.
Alternative 23, which has a few potential components to it, would extend the managed lanes—High Occupancy Toll lanes and High Occupancy Vehicle lanes—on the I-5, from Pico to the Basilone Road interchange.
To submit public comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter addressed thusly: Attn.: Env/SCTRE Scoping, Caltrans District 12, 1750 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705. Public comments that are submitted will be reviewed by both the TCA and Caltrans.
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.