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Penny Maynard, Dana Point

When Interstate 5 was closed Thursday, October 24 as a result of a serious accident, and traffic was disrupted from San Clemente/Dana Point to the El Toro Road for more than four hours, where were the voices for alternative solutions to traffic management from organizations whose voices have been the loudest against the 241 toll road completion?

Everyone has the right to be against something, but to not offer an alternative solution does not solve an existing problem and doesn’t seem responsible to me.

As long as we continue to have traffic on Interstate 5 in this area, and as long as the Rancho Mission Viejo development (14,000 new homes, 5 million square feet of new commercial development) remains on track, traffic on I-5 will continue to increase. As long as the Orange County economy and population continue to grow, we need a solution to situations like this.

Since there is no major alternative route to I-5 in the area, incidents like what happened October 24 will continue to occur, disrupt our lives and impact our safety. Even the NBC Los Angeles reporter Vikki Vargas, sent to cover this accident, said the disruption was because “there is no alternate route” in case of emergency. This was echoed by another individual who was at the scene.

We desperately need a major alternative route to I-5 in southern Orange County.

I am an environmentalist and have been all my life, but we shouldn’t have to live with situations like these. It’s unacceptable. Many will say the answer is mass transit but don’t identify routes, funding or subsidized sources. Mass transit would also take decades to build. Let’s also remember that hybrid and electric vehicles require roads. Transportation planners, elected officials and environmental groups all need to work together now to find a major alternative route to I-5 that is acceptable.

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comments (1)

  • John Birk, Dana Point Reply


    The traffic on October 24 was horrendous, and happened to exactly coincide with our move from Ladera Ranch to Dana Point…ugh. I am also very environmentally conscious, but clearly the 241 toll road extension to I-5 in south San Clemente would have alleviated the impact on south Orange County on that day. So the new compromise is to extend La Pata from the County dump into San Clemente. I suppose that will serve as a safety valve in the future when sigalerts occur on I-5 in south Orange County, but it will have limited capacity, and with Rancho Mission Viejo coming, the routing through the Talega neighborhoods may be a worse problem for San Clemente residents than having built the toll road extension throught the remote canyons bordering Camp Pendleton in the first place!

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