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Larry Kramer, San Juan Capistrano
Jan. 5 was a sad day for our fair city. That was the day the City Council majority threw all rational thought out the window. For what purpose, only they know. They re-voted on the engineering and design contract to remove the 0.9-mile choke point on Ortega Highway and voted against the contract.
The council majority claim they are for safety, but it is an unsafe highway now and will get worse. They campaigned against traffic congestion. It is congested now (level D/E) and getting worse (level F).
The road performs at unsatisfactory levels during peak hours, but that is fine with them. Two of them live on the other side of town and likely do not use it. The third, who was not elected to the council but appointed, does not like sound walls and retaining walls. They want to keep a four-lane state highway “rural.”
I feel sad for the contractor who thought they had a contract and began work. But in San Juan Capistrano, a contract is not final. They can and have later changed their minds. Is that business friendly? Will they pay the contractor for the work already done (using your tax dollars)?
I feel sad for the many good, honest, hardworking people who devoted thousands of hours negotiating, planning and designing this small section of highway over the past 10 years that is now for nothing.
I feel sad for the people who were in the accident on Ortega Highway on Jan. 8. They were trying to make a left hand turn onto La Novia, but another car got in a hurry going east and decided to occupy the same piece of road. As the traffic increases, the number of accidents will likely increase.
I feel sad for the students and parents going to and from San Juan Hills High School and wasting their time in traffic.
I feel sad for the people working in San Juan Capistrano who live off Ortega Highway.
I feel sad for the people who live in Sendero who will decide not to travel to our city to a restaurant or play or movie because of the delays. I also feel sad for the businesses that will experience reduced patronage.
For all those people, as you are stuck in traffic, remember that, as Councilman John Perry said, the choke point is a calming device. So just stay calm as your engine idles.