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OCTA: Focus group favors widening 405 [Corrected]

Small study shows strong support among freeway commuters for more lanes on the freeway. Costa Mesa remains vehemently opposed.

July 28, 2012|By Lauren Williams

Corrected: An earlier version of this story misstated which options for the 405 widening the Costa Mesa City Council opposes and the one it supports. The council prefers Option 2.

Most commuters who took part in an Orange County Transportation Authority focus group support widening the San Diego (405) Freeway by two lanes in each direction, according to the agency.

OCTA commissioned an outside firm, Lawrence Research Group, to conduct a study consisting of three focus groups made up of nine to 11 drivers who commute on the 405 between the Costa Mesa (55) and the San Gabriel River (605) freeways.

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The drivers from Long Beach to Mission Viejo were chosen from a database of previously recruited people and were paid $100 for the two-hour survey, according to Gary Lawrence of Lawrence Research Group.

The group consisted of registered voters who traveled to at least five points on the freeway, and was evenly split between men and women, Lawrence said.

Organizers presented each group with four alternatives and found no support for the "No Build Option."

Most commuters preferred the option for building two regular lanes in each direction, according to a staff report filed Monday with OCTA.

The second-most popular option involved adding one toll and one regular lane to each direction of the freeway, the report shows.

Some focus group members routinely used toll roads while others did not.

The drivers said they wanted construction done immediately rather than incrementally, and didn't favor requiring three or more people in a car for carpool lane access, rather than the current two.

The OCTA board also reviewed the number of public comments received on the 405 project and concerns raised by communities affected by the proposed expansion.

Costa Mesa had the highest number of attendance at public hearings with 235 people, according to the presentation.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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