Sunday, October 24, 2021

Orange County officials move to ease traffic in South County

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved during a September 28 meeting to increase South County’s regional mobility by implementing three major transportation projects.

A proposed agenda item by supervisor Lisa Bartlett, a cooperative agreement with the Orange County Transportation Authority and the City of San Clemente to help reduce traffic, was met with controversy by her colleagues.

“South County is unique in that we don’t have the mobility patterns in other parts of the county,” Bartlett said during the September 28 meeting.

“We have a freeway, basically I-405 that turns into I-5, and that’s pretty much it. In other parts of the county, you have many more options. We have significant challenges in South County. And I’m focused on bringing together good projects that will help with regional mobility, and also enhance public safety.”

The project includes the widening of the Ortega Highway, the continuation of HOV lanes on I-5 from Avenida Pico to the county line in San Diego, and the extension of the Los Patrons Parkway, which will form a non-toll county artery from Cow. Camp Road in Mission Viejo, towards San Clemente.

According to Bartlett, a study conducted by the Transportation Corridor Agency indicates that regional traffic concerns can be resolved through three-pronged transportation solutions.

“These three projects will take us well into the future, perhaps for the next 50 years for regional mobility in South County, we don’t need another major project,” Bartlett said. “These three projects…relieve a lot of traffic on residential roads and streets across cities. Traffic studies have proven that it is not going to have an adverse effect on cities or neighbourhoods.

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Despite the appeal that the projects bring to the county, Super. Doug Chaffee questioned the language of the agreement regarding the binding of future boards, the ability to withdraw the party, and the lack of an expiration date.

“I hear intentions, but I don’t see them in writing,” Chaffee said. “We’re talking about three projects as a subject, without explicitly stating what the subject matter is.”

The county attorney’s chief assistant, Nicole Walsh, confirmed that the lack of an expiration date was the result of not knowing when the funds would be made available. Therefore, it is not possible to write an exact expiration date.

Concerned about confusion among the board, Supervisor Don Wagner suggested potentially moving agenda items to address all issues.

Chairman Andrew Doe requested more clarity about the county’s obligation for the three projects before agreeing with his colleagues to modify the agreement during his lunch break and discuss it before public comment.

Despite revisions made by supervisors while taking a break from lunch, Chaffee disagreed with the language within the agreement that suggested the project be expanded outside the three projects listed.

Chaffee refrained from voting on the agreement, while other observers voted in favor after clarity.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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