Letter: Interstate 5 Traffic Crush is Still to Come

Jim Coshland, San Clemente

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Avenida La Pata extension to Ortega Highway is scheduled for completion within the next two years.

At that time, look for the next Interstate 5 closure north of Avenida Pico to bring gridlock along Pico, as thousands of cars and trucks seek a way around the blockage. There will be solid full lanes of vehicles from I-5 to Avenida La Pata and continuing north on La Pata.

Not only may closures cause this but the frequent and heavy I-5 traffic overloads on Sundays heading north may also result in Pico and La Pata being unbearable.

As usual, the morons who forced the “no-access” around San Clemente to the I-5 south of town will not step up and take the blame. They may be little affected anyway, since so many of them are out-of-towners.

San Clemente residents have been taking it on the chin for so many years in so many areas and local projects that this ultimate kick in the rear may wake us up. Or maybe not.

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One Response to “Letter: Interstate 5 Traffic Crush is Still to Come”

  1. Dino
    June 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Jim – As a fellow south county resident, I sympathize with your predicament. However, I disagree with your assertion that the toll road extension would solve this problem. First, I don’t believe the majority of drivers are proactive and would route around the slow-down thru San Clemente by utilizing a pay-to-use toll road. To deviate would require a decision in Irvine. To re-route further down the 5 would mean using roads already over-crowded with vehicles heading inland to Coto, Ladera and other mega-developments. Second, those that would use the toll road extension would simply create an additional impact further down the 5, which would more than likely create the same situation within the confines of San Clemente. Third, it is more than realistic to acknowledge that the extension of the toll road would simply open up more land for developers to pack in more zero lot line homes and strip malls, thereby creating yet more traffic in south county. The answer is two-fold. Study and build mass transit that can be used 50% of the time or more. It must be convenient and efficient without unduly burdening the users. It can be done. The Bay Area has BART, Caltrain and other travel options that work very well. One can land at SFO and take BART right into the City or to other locations up and down the peninsula. The second answer is population. California has been inundated with new residents. Quite a few are new arrivals from South of the Border and Asia. Until we determine how to control this, our commuting issues will not end, they will only get worse. Our infrastructure was once built with a certain level of individual users with an excess capacity plan. That excess capacity was maxed in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It’s a crappy situation, but one that requires a focused and intelligent response. Perhaps our politicians will get the message if we start being more vocal.

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