Temecula Council to seek help to fix Interstate 15 gridlock conditions: ‘We can’t pour enough concrete’

Dear Editor,

Just wanted to comment on Tim O’Leary’s fine article, “Temecula Council to seek help to fix Interstate 15 Gridlock Conditions,” in the Oct. 6-12 issue of Valley News but… we really need to make Mayor Maryann Edwards and Councilman Mike Naggar aware that pouring more concrete to widen I-15 from Fallbrook to Lake Elsinore is not going to fix the problem of gridlock that occurs two times a day in Temecula.

We need a higher-level approach to thinking and offer alternatives to the commuters that are passing through their fair city and causing much of the traffic problems. Once upon a time, the California Southern Railroad, which was absorbed by the Santa Fe Railroad, had constructed a main line that ran from Riverside, south through Perris and down through Lake Elsinore, Temecula, Fallbrook and through Camp Pendleton before connecting with the “Surf Line” north of Oceanside.

The good news is that just last year the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority reinstituted passenger service on the 91 Perris Valley Line, ending rail service in south Perris. Most of the right of way is still there. If we could get North County Transit in San Diego to work with LA Metro, maybe we could get some feasibility studies going to offer commuter rail from Riverside to San Diego, where every day thousands of Californians must drive, since they have no other choices.

I know that North County Transit is studying a station stop at Camp Pendleton, as it is a large employer in the area. The right of way of the old rail line went through the base in a canyon in a northwest direction up toward Bonsall and Fallbrook. The right of way got washed out in the early 1900s, but you cross over it on the Interstate 215 at River Canyon Road.

As most of you know, there is a reverse commute at work here with San Diegans commuting north to work every day, while Riverside County residents head south. Frequent service in both directions would go a long way to taking hundreds of cars a day off I-15.

I lived in Atlanta from 1980 to 1983 and watched them widen the I-75/I-85 corridor from six lanes to 12 lanes. It destroyed neighborhoods, and the freeway is still a parking lot. You are talking millions and millions of dollars to widen the road, which the highway lobby would love to see. Instead, consider rebuilding what used to be the main line to San Diego. It makes all the sense in the world. Think about how much traffic would be taken off your roads.

Chris Johnson

San Marcos, California

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