Once again, I wish to remind you that I will hold our City responsible for any negotiations with Caltrans that are not in our best interests. In considering settlement negotiations, I would ask you to review the numerous letters and documents I have previously submitted objecting to the widening.
The Council’s lack of outrage over the widening of Ortega has been of real concern to me and I would like to hear what you are doing to protect our town. There is nothing that will have a more negative impact on our City than the 14,000 home development that will take place on our City’s edge once the widening and interchange expansion on Ortega takes place.
Make no mistake, widening Ortega has nothing to do with making traffic better for our City and everything to do with giving the “capacity” needed for 14,000 homes that will end up massively increasing traffic. This is a FACT. This 14,000 home development must have “capacity” in order to complete the subsequent planning areas.
Currently, only planning area I has been approved for development. The other “Planning Areas” for the Ranch development will have to provide updated traffic studies in order to have those development entitlements approved. The widening of Ortega, and the toll road will provide this “capacity”.
Mayor Allevato, you appeared at the Coastal Commission hearing in 2008 in an effort to support the toll road by publicly stating that “we can’t widen the Ortega”. You also were the one that initiated the letter that was sent to Caltrans showing unanimous support for not widening Ortega from Calle Entradero to Hunt Club Drive. I am asking that you once again take the lead and insure that the State of California is not misled into wasting millions of dollars on widening a part of the road that was never intended to be widened. This road section is already the geometric consistent with 4 lanes that is found immediately west of this area.
Widening of Ortega within City limits has been sold to many of you as “already a done deal”. This propaganda has been perpetuated in an effort to have people give up. It is true that the Ranch’s “potential” 14,000 homes have had support by the Board of Supervisors and those supporting “REGIONAL” traffic improvements. This is not what our City councilmembers should be supporting. You were not put in office to make it easier for developers to negatively impact our City, nor were you elected to induce traffic and further green house emissions by encouraging the inland empire commuters to travel into Orange County by providing the alternative route to the I-97.
I hope the City is not looking to save money by widening the area between Hunt Club and Calle Entradero in order to put in the planned 12-inch gas line (running along Ortega from the I-5 to San Antonio) that will serve the 14,000 homes. Since we know there is no legitimate reason for widening in this area, I will continue to follow this closely.