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Commentary: Council opposes OCTA's Alternative 3 for 405 Freeway

July 30, 2012|By Eric Bever

Editor's note: The error to which the mayor refers was caused by an editing mistake, which misstated Costa Mesa's position on the proposed San Diego (405) Freeway widening.

Re. "OCTA: Focus group favors widening 405," July 28:

While I appreciate the Daily Pilot's efforts to bring the 405 issue to light, the newspaper made some very egregious errors regarding my position and that of the Costa Mesa City Council.

It is true that we are resolute and unanimous in our position regarding 405 alternatives, and if the Pilot staff had read our resolution, it would have known that the council opposes the Alternative 3 toll lanes and supports Alternative 2, which simply adds two free, general-purpose lanes going both north and south.

The council's position is the same as the polled commuters: We favor Alternative 2, which adds 40% more lane surface. The more Orange County residents learn about Alternative 3, the more they don't like it.

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In Costa Mesa, Alternative 3 is especially abhorrent because it is the only one that would require demolishing and rebuilding the recently rebuilt Fairview Road bridge.

Alternative 3 would also require nearly five years of construction from the Corona del Mar (73) Freeway to the Santa Ana River.

To be clear, all alternatives as submitted by the Orange County Transportation Authority would require realignment of sound walls adjacent to the State Streets neighborhood and Moon Park to facilitate a new onramp from the Euclid Street-Ellis Avenue intersection in Fountain Valley. Objection to this impact has been noted in Costa Mesa's response to the project's draft environmental impact report, and suggestions for altering the ramp's alignment to minimize impacts to Costa Mesa have been submitted as well.

Now, once again, in Alternative 3 the "added general-purpose lane" only replaces the carpool lane, which is taken over by the toll road. There will be two toll lanes in each direction that will require all users — even carpools of three or more — to obtain a FasTrak transponder and billing account, and five free lanes. There are currently five free lanes: four general, plus one two-plus carpool lane on the 405 at Euclid. Under Alternative 3, the current two-plus carpool lanes will be history.

An even more profoundly insulting aspect of Alternative 3 is that our Measure M2 taxes will fund a project that will only benefit those who are willing and able to pay tolls on top of taxes to get down the road a little bit more quickly. The benefit for those who cannot or will not pay extra is practically zero.

In conclusion, Costa Mesa's mayor and council strongly agree with the results of the poll group in their stated preference for Alternative 2, which simply adds two lanes each direction with no added tolls or fees.

ERIC BEVER is the mayor of Costa Mesa.

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