Fill out this form to let our representatives know how flawed the TCA’s “mobility solutions” are.



Your custom message

The TCA has announced that its initial screening of 20 “mobility solutions” (even though they only build toll roads) for South OC has been whittled down to 7.

 

The TCA has NOT shown any supporting analysis for its conclusions to get to the 7 options, nor is there a need for any of the options in South Orange County.   In fact, the 5 freeway in South OC does not even warrant a car pool lane because the volume of cars does not support it.  The TCA’s is spending millions upon millions on lobbyists and marketing firms in the name of the studying of the 7 options.

 

1.  The initial screening is based on projected traffic volumes in 2045.  Past TCA Foothill South traffic projections have been VASTLY OVERSTATED and never materialized.  For example, in 1991, the TCA asserted that the 241 needed to connect to I-5 in order off-load approximately 59,000 of the 221,000 weekday Average Daily Trips (ADT) projected for I-5 at the County line by 2010, but actual weekday traffic counts by 2010 were only 134,000, not 221,000.  Today the average weekday traffic volumes on I-5 at the County line are still under 140,000.In 2006, the TCA said that by 2025 it would take 1 hour to get from the County line to Oso Parkway in the morning rush hours (and an hour to get from Oso to the County line during the evening rush hours).  Nobody predicts that now—not even close.  TCA should show the public the assumptions they made about 2045 traffic—they could be as wildly off target as all their past toll road-justifying projections.

 

2.      The initial screening does not spell out what is in the baseline road network in 2045.  For example one would expect that the I-5 HOV lanes that are just now being completed to south of Pico would be extended to the County line by 2045 if future traffic volumes warrant the extension.  We can’t tell if those lanes are or are not included in the TCA’s initial screening analysis.  Also, what roadways are assumed to be completed as part of the RMV Ranch Plan development?  The County approved the Ranch Plan on the promise that the traffic demand could be addressed with or without a toll road extension.  If the 241 is not extended, then additional roads are to be constructed to substitute for the toll road.  Los Patrones Parkway is a good example.  It has essentially replaced the first 5.5 miles of the TCA’s planned extension of the 241 that the TCA could not get approved.  So now residents within RMV (and others) will be able to use that 5.5 mile road for free rather than pay tolls every day—that is UNLESS the TCA succeeds in its dastardly plan to try to take over this free road and convert it to part of the toll road! 

 

The Ranch Plan also includes a planned primary arterial roadway (i.e., at least 2 lanes in each direction, with a center divider) coming south from Cow Camp Road across Ortega Highway.  The exact alignment of that planned road has not yet been determined, but under a no toll road scenario the logical approach is to have that road be an extension of Los Patrones and have it connect to La Pata.  That would get us to 8-plus miles of free arterials right where the TCA wants to place its toll road.  But did the TCA’s initial screening include this alternative road network in its baseline for 2045?

 

3.       The initial screening continues the charade that the TCA is in the midst of a legitimate “process” of considering and narrowing down “South County mobility solutions.”  Not so!  The TCA’s process has been absurd, and has resulted in ignoring serious alternatives to its desired Toll Road extension while “evaluating” non-serious ones.  Double deck I-5 from the 405 to the SD County line?  Right.  More bike lanes?  A good thing of course, but not a serious alternative to address peak period vehicle traffic on I-5.  But double-decking I-5 and more bike lanes are 2 of the 20 “solutions” the TCA’s process has produced, even though we know for a fact that other more serious alternatives were provided to TCA and that TCA itself has had to look at other serious alternatives in the past that it has conveniently ignored thus far.  Every past TCA study re the 241 has looked at one or more extensions that do not connect to I-5, but instead stop at a logical existing or planned arterial road.  So the fact that the TCA has yet to present any “partial extension” alternatives shows that they are playing games.  They will have to analyze one or more of these partial extension alternatives in the EIR/EIS, so why have they not presented any information about them to the public to date? 

 

One possible explanation jumps out:  a partial extension, say from Oso to La Pata north of San Clemente, involves taking over a soon to open free road (Los Patrones Parkway) and then duplicating what can be accomplished with the planned arterial road that is to extend south from Cow Camp Road.  In other words, a partial toll road extension is easily replaced with a free arterial road, and a free arterial road would function BETTER than a toll road!

 

TCA will eventually have to analyze several more serious alternatives to what they’ve been kicking around so far, including (but not limited to):  (1)  A partial extension of the 241 that ends at La Pata north of San Clemente [a bad alternative because it requires taking over an already approved, almost open Los Patrones]; and (2) The extension of Los Patrones south from its existing approved terminus at Cow Camp Road to La Pata north of San Clemente [essentially a free version of the partial toll road extension alternative].  Why build a toll road when a free arterial will do better?

 

4.         Speaking of “free,” don’t forget the TCA PROMISED AND HAS A LEGAL OBLIGATION TO MAKE THE TOLL ROADS FREE.  Past misfortunes (i.e., overstated ridership projections) caused the bond repayment period for the toll roads to be extended way past the original pay-off dates, but that does not mean the TCA is off to hook regarding paying down the bonds and removing the tolls.  2045 is the year the TCA’s initial screening used to analyze alternatives; this is only five years before the bonds for SR-73 are to be paid off.  Moreover, if TCA continues to meet (finally) what appear to be more realistic revenue projections, then it will be in a position to pay down the SR-73, SR-241 and SR-133 by 2045 or earlier.   ASAP, the TCA staff should present to its Directors and the public an analysis of how soon the bonds could be paid off and the individual toll roads could be opened up as free roads, and it should analyze the traffic benefits that come from having at least SR-73 un-tolled by 2045.

 

Those of us opposed to the TCA’s plan to suddenly try to cram a toll road extension to I-5 through an existing community where it was NEVER planned to go do not have our head in the sand about the need for mobility improvements in the future.  But we know that the TCA has never once accurately predicted future traffic in south County (overstated every time), and we know that a better alternative to a wasteful, destructive toll road extension is a combination of:  (1) Incremental improvements over time to the arterial roadway network in south County; (2) Incremental improvements to I-5 on an “as-needed” basis; and (3) Eventual removal of the tolls on the existing toll roads--as promised.

 

Thank you 

your name
your city