Brian Mertz, San Clemente

Here we (don’t) go again.

How many frustrating, wasteful, fume-spewing traffic nightmares will it take before we develop an Interstate 5 alternative that is so crucial to our quality of life?

A wreck near Camp Pendleton stops traffic for hours. A fatal truck crash spills lumber across all lanes in the middle of town. Then two motorcycles tangle in San Juan Capistrano and it happens again. Each time, El Camino Real is clogged with cars seeking a way around and ubiquitous GPS guides hordes of drivers through our narrow residential streets.

It’s way past time for state and regional traffic planners, myopic environmentalists and, crucially, the U.S. Marine Corps, to stop defending their narrow turf and cooperate to solve a recurring problem that can only continue to get worse.

In the meantime, maybe downtown businesses and the outlet mall being built in San Clemente could profit by posting new freeway signs advertising good places to wait out the inevitable jams.

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