Orange County has a robust transportation network consisting of freeways, toll roads, bicycle paths, bus transit, railways and walking paths. However, with the county's population expected to increase by more than 400,000 residents by 2035, ensuring transportation mobility throughout the region is an ongoing challenge.
Last May, TCA retained a leading issues management and consensus planning firm to conduct an independent analysis of mobility concerns in South Orange County. The Community Ascertainment Study focused on discovering the community's thoughts and perspectives regarding transportation infrastructure and mobility challenges in South Orange County - such as excessive traffic on freeways and arterials.
The Community Ascertainment Study indicated that there is high agreement that a mobility problem on the Interstate 5 Freeway exists but the severity of the problem varied based on personal travel patterns, use and location. In addition, there were several recommendations for collaboration among community members, regional transportation planners and stakeholders.
As a result of these recommendations, TCA, in collaboration with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Caltrans, initiated a community outreach process to address transportation mobility concerns in South Orange County.
Get Moving Orange County is the first part in a series of next steps which involved public meeting opportunities on June 20 and October 5, 2016. These public forums brought together transportation and planning experts with residents and community leaders to share information about key transportation issues in South Orange County, which center on dependence of the I-5 Freeway for north/south traffic. For more information and to review information from the first two public forums, please visit: getmovingOC.com
On Thursday, Nov. 10. the Transportation Corridor Agencies announced the settlement of five lawsuits regarding the State Route 241 Foothill South and Tesoro Extension projects. TCA is pleased to join more than a dozen environmental organizations in this unprecedented outcome, underscoring the collaboration between TCA’s leadership and the leaders of the environmental community. It is with this collaboration and framework, that TCA will move forward to review alternative routes for solving the regional transportation mobility problem in a manner that avoids environmentally and culturally sensitive lands.
The 241 Toll Road: A Traffic Solution for South Orange County
Since 1981, State Route 241 has been on Orange County's Master Plan of Arterial Highways to accommodate planned growth in South Orange County, alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 5 (I-5) and provide traffic redundancy in the area in case of emergency.
In 2008 the California Coastal Commission denied a key permit for this project and since then TCA has been reaching out to stakeholders to determine if a consensus can be reached on a viable alternative to address the mobility challenge that South Orange County faces.
Traffic on I-5 in South Orange County is now more congested than ever -- especially on weekends -- and is anticipated to get worse. And because there is currently no major alternative route to I-5, whenever traffic is severely congested due to weekend or holiday traffic or if there is an incident or construction on I-5, traffic spills onto the local streets of San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano completely clogging local roadways in these cities as drivers try to find a way around the gridlock.
Twenty-four million people live in Southern California today. That number will be more than 30 million by 2050, resulting in a 60 percent increase in traffic on I-5 in South Orange County.
As TCA works with the community and stakeholders to evaluate solutions to the I-5 Freeway congestion; TCA's primary goals of enhancing mobility and providing congestion-free transportation never overshadow its steadfast commitment to environmental conservation, restoration and appreciation. TCA's extensive environmental programs developed with construction of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads represent the most progressive approaches in habitat conservation, revegetation and management; scientific study and planning; endangered species protection; and greenhouse gas reduction. Click here to learn more about TCA's environmental programs and restoration sites.
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