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San Clemente Journal

Chamber supports Far East alignments to help alleviate traffic congestion on I-5

Aug 05, 2004 06:41PM ● Published by Don Kindred


     The San Clemente Chamber typically supports public projects that improve mobility and enhance our quality of life. Roads and transportation systems form the backbone of healthy economy, and traffic congestion, especially here in San Clemente, is a major problem.
That’s why the Chamber has historically supported the Foothill-South toll road. The extension of the 241, which currently ends at Oso Parkway near Coto de Caza, would help relieve some of the traffic that clogs the 5 freeway, especially weekend traffic. Foothill-South would provide San Clemente businesses and residents another option to the freeway, which will not only help us get around more easily, but would provide a critical alternative route for public safety services like fire, police, and ambulances. 
     The Chamber continues to support the toll-road alignments that are farthest east of the city. These alignments, which connect near the county line, provide the most complete alternative route to the freeway. Most importantly, the far-east alignments take no businesses and no homes. The Chamber does not support any of the alternatives that stop short of a direct connection to the 5, and opposes the alignments that connect to Pico.
The Chamber isn’t alone 
     A majority of San Clemente and South County residents believe Foothill-South should be built to help alleviate growing traffic congestion, according to a fourth-annual survey released in June by the Transportation Corridor Agencies.
     “What is most remarkable about these findings is the stability of the results over time,” said Dr. Bob Meadow, president of Decision Research, the firm that conducted the poll in June. “Simply stated, enthusiasm for completing the toll road system in Orange County remains high.”
     Decision Research, a national public opinion research firm, conducted the phone surveys among 1,100 registered voters in Orange County, with more surveys conducted in San Clemente and South County. The firm has conducted research for political clients in 40 states including such organizations as The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society.
     The poll also found that, by a 2-to-1 margin, people continue to believe roads should be built to avoid congestion on existing roads, since developers will build housing wherever they own land. The survey findings are consistent with independent polls conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, which show 65 percent of South County residents believe toll roads have been a good thing for transportation.
Let your voice be heard
     In San Clemente, traffic on weekends is especially bad and recent state statistics show that Orange County’s population has now reached 3 million residents. If nothing is done, traffic on I-5 will increase 60 percent in South Orange County in the next 20 years. 
     If you support the far-east alignments and believe that something must be done to help relieve traffic congestion in San Clemente, please let your voice be heard. We encourage you to submit comments during the Foothill-South environmental review period. You may view the draft environmental impact report and submit comments online at www.thetollroads.com, or you can visit The Toll Roads Information Center on Del Mar Street. The center includes a large aerial map of the alternatives and two large-scale 3-D models depicting how the various alignments connect to I-5 and Pico. Hours: Tuesday- Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 6. Your voice will help ensure that a road is built that relieves traffic while balancing the need to be sensitive to the environment.
Pat Wolfram, President
San Clemente Chamber of Commerce

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor,
     The article in the last edition of the Journal by Rick Anderson, under the section Community Voices, which was in support of the toll road, I believe needs to have an alternative point of view printed. While Mr. Anderson is entitled to his opinion, unless that view is totally shared by the San Clemente Journal, then the citizens of our town need to be able to share a different opinion.
    Contrary to what the TCA tells people, the toll road extension will not ease congestion. Mr. Anderson neglects to mention that the preferred route for this extension will take it through currently undeveloped land, including San Onofre State Park. The TCA says that it does not have a preferred route, and shows a number of alternative options, all of which are nothing more than smoke screens. If the road is allowed to be built it will spur on new development all along its corridor. This will create even more traffic, it will do nothing to decrease existing traffic. As with other cities, San Clemente has made it’s own traffic problems with all the new homes and businesses which are still beingbuilt in the areas along Pico Ave towards Camp Pendleton.
     Mr. Anderson’s article ended by saying that if this road is built it will finally give San Clemente residents a choice. A choice to do what exactly? With the I-5 already running through the center of the city, residents are not going to drive out of their way to get to a toll road that is not even going in the direction that they need to travel. Anyone coming to San Clemente from other parts of Orange County, or LA County and beyond, are not going to take a large loop inland, adding miles to their journey, pay a toll, just so they can end up at the very south end of town, where they would then have to turn back on themselves and travel north on the I-5 to get to the heart of the city.
Sincerely, Stephen Burgess

Dear Editor, 
     In the past when I have read your magazine it seems that you have mostly had articles in favor of the toll road coming through San Clemente so I wanted to write this letter on behalf of all of us who enjoy the San Mateo & San Onofre Beach and camp areas. My husband and I walk down to Trestles Beach regularly on a trail overlooking the whole San Mateo Creek bed area. Campers from the campground can get to the beach via that trail also. On one of the days we walked to Trestles beach there were alot of little girls with their daddies riding their bikes to the beach. San Mateo Campground was having its usual enflux of Indian Princesses camping there.
     As we got closer to the beach there were cyclists in their bright clothes riding along the old highway that crosses the Trestles trail. So many families were headed to the beach that glorious day it looked like a mass exodus. Not just surfers, of which there were quite a few, but little kids running along just happy to be outdoors possibly seeing a rabbit or two as a bonus. When I read the TCA Board’s report that is sent to everyone in the area (Where they get the money for that we’ll never know) I can't believe that they want to build a massive toll road down the middle of it all. The toll road would damage the park so severely that State Parks will be forced to abandon much of the park, including San Mateo Campground. Yes, I do understand about the traffic crunch; I'm driving in it also. But is it worth just using up every bit of open space we have to get to where we want to go faster and faster? Is that real progress after all?
     I want to leave my children and grandchildren a heritage here in So. Orange Co. that they will be proud of and be able to enjoy for generations to come. If the toll road does go through (and some say it is the only way!) we must be honest about all the land that will be made accessible for more housing and development. We must ask ourselves is it worth it. Our family doesn't think it is. We have seen the environmental impact report and it is not possible to put a huge toll road down here where it will not have a major impact on our open space and the wildlife we have left.
     The toll road would dump dangerous toxic waste like motor oil, engine coolant, and tire and brake particles that would pollute San Mateo Creek and the surf at Trestles Beach-one of the finest remaining natural surf breaks in the world. I encourage anyone who loves the beach and enjoys the outdoors please do not be conned into thinking that putting another toll road here in So Orange Co. is the answer. When you get a “Stop the Toll Road” packet or info in the mail please respond and be counted as one of the families that stopped the madness. 
Sincerely, Joel and Nancy Severson and family

 
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