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Larry Kramer, San Juan Capistrano

A response to Mark Speros’ letter to the editor titled, “Where did the Ortega Congestion Go?”

Mr. Speros’ comment that the congestion “at the chokepoint” goes away when school is out proves that Rancho Mission Viejo does not cause the congestion. I think we have been saying that for a long time.

His implication that the congestion will not reoccur when school begins and La Pata is finished this fall would be nice if it occurs. Does he have some study to show that is what will happen or is he just saying it to support his position? Some could argue that it may be worse as people from San Clemente use it to go to the I-5 via Ortega Highway when the I-5 is crowded or Pico and Hermosa are backed up. He also misses the main point that the widening is being done to support traffic increases over the next 30 years. Is he only concerned with the immediate present?

As far as being in a hurry to get this project moving, remember that even under the best of circumstances, it would not have been completed before 2020. One reason the Council was urged to reconsider their decision is that we have spent about $4.5 million on the project already and OCTA may want their money back if the city does not reverse its position.

His alternate route from Antonio to the 73 toll road is not an OCTA project. It was rejected years ago as being both impractical and too expensive. Comparing rough numbers, the chokepoint removal would cost about $30 million while Speros’ alternative is estimated to cost about $900 million. There are no plans for this project. The undeveloped land he refers to consists of hills requiring expensive tunneling and wetlands requiring mitigation. He also indicated that the cost of the project is going up. Of course, if it is further delayed, it will cost even more. Welcome to the wonderful world of inflation.

I urge you to call and write your City Council members and OCTA and urge them to move forward on this needed safety improvement.

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comments (3)

  • Now it’s a ‘safety’ issue? Oh, wait, no. It’s a ‘choke point’. It is a congestion issue.

    If now it’s a safety issue and drivers are speeding on this roadway, it can’t be congested. Making roadways safer involves narrowing them, not expanding. More lanes will encourage people to drive faster.

    San Clemente residents will be driving La Pata, especially our residents in Talega and Forster Ranch. Our students will no longer be driving Ortega Highway to reach San Juan Hills High School. That traffic will most definitely be removed.

    San Juan also has the benefit of no longer having trash trucks from San Clemente contributing to traffic on Ortega Highway.

    I support your city council in their effort to ensure any regional solution to South County transportation is beneficial to San Juan, also. Regional transportation must take into account what is best for all cities.

    Yes, think of the future — the next 30 years. Insist the best solution be built, not the cheapest. Our quality of life in San Juan and San Clemente depends upon it.

  • Kathy Ward,
    I live in San Juan Capistrano and so do many of the students who attend SJHHS. We will and do drive the Ortega to get to school. The narrowing of the Ortega is dangerous and it does not matter what speed you are traveling. There is absolutely no room for error. And trash trucks, horse trailers, produce trucks, constructions trucks travel on that road with our children and still will even though La Pata will go through.

    Do you drive it??.

    It floods on that corner when we get the smallest amount of rain. IT does and I am not making it up for some political reason. It puts people in danger. Especially new drivers with little experience.

    This was used as a political battering ram and our children are the ones who were smacked hard by it. . I am on neither side of this council. I am for the safety of drivers. Especially young drivers. The decision not to widen the Ortega is idiotic and irresponsible.

    It is not going to be cheap to fix that road. And it would increase the quality of life for the students of SJHHS who live in SJC by making a safer commute. to school.

  • In the meantime the 50 or so mature trees have had their irrigation cut off along Ortega HWY during this hot summer. Translation; FIRE WOOD, is how SJC is treating this. We need a bucket brigade to save those trees now. Have the school kids water those trees. If not removing them will be all to easy when the time comes. We need to Occupy those trees to prevent the widening and keeping them healthy. Motto should read; If You Move It You Will Kill it.. Water them now.

comments (3)

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