Caltrans Driving Us to Freeway Insanity

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Caltrans plans to widen the 91 Freeway [again], spending $1.3 Billion to improve commute speeds 1.5 miles per hour, while further destroying the only wildlife connection between the Santa Ana Mountains and the Puente-Chino Hills. Commuter trains, anyone?

Orange County transportation, 91 Freeway

Caltrans paving us to freeway insanity. Toon By Jerry Collamer.

Caltrans has always admitted, they can’t pave our way out of congestion.

If that’s Caltrans’ [California Department of Transportation's] admitted failing, you’d think some genius traffic think-tanker would envision a better / sane commute alternative along the State Route 91‘s snail-trail of woe (rhymes with slow) between Orange County and the Inland Empire.

But no.

Instead, Caltrans will spend 1-billion dollars, and half a decade expanding (again?) the 91, increasing freeway speeds at rush hour from 8 mph to 9.5 mph (not a typo, and not a joke, so stop laughing), or – you’ll pay a crazy high $10 toll lane fee (aka tax) at rush-hour to go 50 mph.

But toll lanes stall too. Then what? Demand a refund?

Fact: bad traffic can and will drive you insane. We see it everyday. Hello road rage.

From Hills for Everyone: At the juncture of Riverside and Orange Counties, transportation agencies plan for six additional freeway lane (three in each direction). This could disrupt the functionality of the Coal Canyon Wildlife Undercrossing. Coal Canyon remains the only place wildlife can move between the Santa Ana Mountains and the Puente-Chino Hills, and also links recreational trails in four counties.

Fact: the 91 is the “only” direct freeway link between OC’s commercial centers i.e. jobs, and Riverside County, where most 91-commuters live. It’s more or less a straight shot. Hmm. Train tracks work great in straight-shots. One commuter train-car would eliminate 200 (a guess) vehicles off the Insane 91. Now make that 20, or 30, or 40, or 50 train-cars shuttling IE commuters into OC and back along the 91. We could call it Metrolink! What a totally insane idea.

Caltrans drove me to it, at 9.5 mph, like they promised they would. And Caltrans never lies.

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Jerry Collamer

About Jerry Collamer

Jerry Collamer is a creative communications specialist. Backgrounds in National Advertising and Television Communication. Writer. Artist. Native Californian with a world-view career arch. Pragmatic and common sense urban activist -- co-founder of Wild Heritage Planners.