San Juan Capistrano

                                                                            Letter to the Editor
                              Push Back on the Ortega Widening

 A few thoughts to consider about the article in the last issue of the CCS; “The Push to Widen Ortega”.  Traffic, like water, finds its own level. Right now the choke point slows the volume of traffic on Ortega which may cause minor back up to the new Ranch developments.   

But it also slows it down enough that SJC residents can “catch a break” and turn onto Ortega from streets within the community.

It’s a fallacy that eliminating the current choke point will solve the traffic issues. Why? Because there’s already a second choke point at I-5 and Ortega…which at 8am backs up all the way to La Novia on the East side of town, and far down Camino Capistrano on the west side of town.

The argument will be made that once the freeway interchange is completed, that will all disappear. I think not, because our “new and improved” interchange will be nearly identical to the newly upgraded.

I-5 / La Paz interchange; both East and West sides have a dedicated on-ramp for each direction of travel, and they too have a high school on the East side of that interchange. Yet even with all those improvements, traffic regularly backs up on both sides of the freeway access… and they don’t have anything like the Ranch development on their eastern border. Plus, their I-5 South off-ramp has an additional lane that ours will not, and they’ve had tremendous back up at times.

 I think that the current upgrade I-5 upgrade solves our current traffic needs (barely), but isn’t going to provide any relief once the new Ranch developments come on line. If you have any doubts, take a look at Crown Valley at 4pm any week day. They have Ladera Ranch on their Eastern side, with Crown Valley widened to 6 to 8 lanes on that side, yet the I-5 Northbound on-ramp backs all the way up onto Crown Valley from just the East side… and that’s with TWO very long on-bound lanes for that on ramp (I think we’ll only have one, which will be much shorter).

 The net effect, when everything is built and sold is that Ortega will be a parking lot, as bad if not worse than it is at this exact moment. At least, that’s the way I see it.

Mark Speros
San Juan Capistrano


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