Orange County transportation, 91 Freeway

Caltrans Driving Us to Freeway Insanity


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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One Comment

  1. Herbert Eidt: The problem with commuter trains down the 91 is that people can’t get from the end of the 91 anywhere unless they have a car. In conjunction they need to develop the bus/train system in OC… Costly but probably necessary in the long run.

    True, though trains access employment centers in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and East Irvine, but lo and behold, nothing to the airport and coastal areas. We need to keep pushing for the new “Centerline”…

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