When a pilot instructor and student emergency-landed a small plane in the perpetually-empty northbound lanes of the debt-ridden, failing-business-model 241 toll road in Orange County, California, he exclaimed: “What a waste of perfectly good asphalt.”
pilot makes unused 241-toll road a landing strip
Years back, I suggested publicly, Orange County Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA’s) 51-miles of under-used toll roads, strapped as they are to an ever-plummeting business model: raising toll fares at rush hour thus keeping commuters on neighboring “freeways,” as TCA’s debt / interest payments on their road-loan balloons into the stratosphere with less and less drivers “tolling” – that a solution to TCA’s ever-failing business model, was to sell the underused 73 and 241 to Newport billionaires, to use as their personal super-speedway weekend fun-runs for their gazillion dollar stable of exotic sports cars.
Then on weekdays, allow us, the stalled-in-traffic commuters, to drive the ex-toll roads for free. A win-win! TCA dumps its endlessly burgeoning debt load (and angst), allowing their 51-miles of chronically under preforming toll roads to Go Free during the work-week.
I’ve suggested other ideas; what to do with OC’s 51-miles of empty toll roads: paved sports fields, outdoor bowling alleys, 51-miles of farmer’s markets, swap meet venues, skate parks etc – but the one I never thought of (duh) – private-plane landing strips. I’m chagrined. It’s so obvious.
Well on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, on the empty 241 toll road, nary a car in sight, a pilot’s dream came true, landing his single engine bird on the longest, emptiest, stretch of runway (241-toll road) he’d ever laid eyes on. So forget my Newport Billionaires Boys Car Club idea – and call John Wayne Intl. They’ve been thirsting to rid themselves of “small” (nuisance) flying machines.
Here it is – 51-miles of perfectly paved, auxiliary landing and take-off strips, totally empty and ready to go, “Cessna 1234 to Tower, request landing – Oso Parkway on 241-south.” – “Tower to C-1234, you are cleared for landing. There is absolutely no traffic there. There never is. Proceed C-1234.”