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Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) hosted a community meeting at Ocean Institute in Dana Point on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
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 community meeting was the third town hall organized to encourage public input.
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.
On Friday, Nov. 8, Caltrans, in coordination with the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA)—part of the TCA—submitted the Notice of Preparation/Notice of Intent and announced a series of public scoping meetings in San Clemente, Mission Viejo and Dana Point.
Comments received during scoping will be taken into account in the drafting and preparation of the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement.
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 Relief Effort.
Alternative 22, a road alignment plan that Orange County Board Supervisor and Chairperson Lisa Bartlett 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.
The public scoping period was initially set for Nov. 8 through Dec. 9. San Clemente Mayor Dan Bane urged Caltrans and the TCA to extend the 30-day scoping period to 90 days, considering the holiday season could deter input. Based on input received, TCA and Caltrans have agreed to extend the comment period for a total comment period of 60 days, according to Sarah King, a spokesperson for TCA.
Now, all public comments are due by 5 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2020.
To submit public comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter addressed to 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.