Save Trestles Update

Dear Friends,

You have heard us rail about the devastating effects of the proposed extension to the 241 Foothill South Toll Road; that it will significantly compromise two existing environmental mitigations (the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy and the San Mateo Campground), that it will foul watershed habitat that is home to 11 federally threatened or endangered species, and that it will diminish the water quality of the nearby surf breaks at Trestles.

The TCA have argued that these are necessary compromises that we need to make in order to reduce current and future traffic congestion in South Orange County

BUT WHAT IF THAT WERE A LIE…?

WHAT IF THE PROPOSED EXTENSION TO THE 241 WILL NOT REDUCE TRAFFIC CONGESTION…?

That is exactly what the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week. In an article entitled “Studies contradict forecast for O.C. tollway benefits here

Times reporters Dan Weikel and David Reyes report on a recent study conducted by the Orange County Transit Authority, which conclude that the proposed extension to the 241 FTC-South will not help alleviate traffic congestion in South Orange County.

Here are some brief excerpts:

“New traffic studies contradict optimistic predictions that a proposed tollway through San Onofre State Beach would eliminate much of the congestion on Interstate 5 in South County. Most of I-5 in South County will be “consistently congested” at rush hour by 2030 even if the controversial Foothill South toll road extension is built, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority’s long-range transportation plan for 2006.

“Green means Go!” the (TCA’s) promotional materials state. “Foothill-South: Your road map to traffic relief.”

“Tollway officials estimate that vehicle trips on I-5 would be reduced from 290,000 a day to 267,000 in the Dana Point-San Clemente area. The least benefit would occur in the Lake Forest area, where traffic would be reduced from 413,000 trips to 406,000. The (TCA’s) studies predict that the number of congested I-5 segments would be reduced 70% during the evening rush hour, usually the busiest time of day.

“But OCTA’s long-range transportation plan, which was completed in July, predicts a far more congested future for I-5 than the toll agency envisions. OCTA studies indicate that daily vehicle trips on south I-5 between Avenida Pico and the San Joaquin Hills interchange will increase from about 250,000 to 364,000 by 2030. Between the tollway and the El Toro Y, vehicle trips are expected to increase from 342,000 to 460,000, a level that easily exceeds the daily flow on the 405 Freeway around Los Angeles International Airport.

“…two studies by Smart Mobility Inc., a Vermont-based transportation consultant hired by opponents of toll road extension, state that traffic growth in South County could be accommodated by improving I-5 and major streets.

The Surfrider Foundation did some checking on its own and came across this nice little graphic courtesy of the Orange County Traffic Authority: ?

Curiously according to OCTA, the only highway that doesn’t have any (let alone major) traffic congestion in 2030 is the 241 FTC toll road extension.

It doesn’t get much more black and white than that folks… Now the question you need to ask yourselves, “If the toll road will not alleviate traffic, then why are we building it?

Please help us stop this farce and Save Trestles while we still can. We are in dire, dire need of promotional materials to help get the word out to our community!

We need more t-shirts, yard signs, buttons and web/tech support. Please contact either Matt McClain (mmcclain@surfrider.org) or Mark Rauscher (mrauscher@surfrider.org) to make a monetary or trade in kind donation today.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Your friends at the Surfrider Foundation