Last Monday, the Western Riverside Council of Governments, a board consisting of our County Supervisors and the council members of local cities, all listened to a presentation from Brian Taylor, director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.
Taylor basically said that any freeway expansion plans for Riverside County won't ease congestion, but actually invite more of it. He went on to say that toll roads are the best solution towards keeping traffic moving.
You can read about it in an article published by The Californian...
After the presentation, various members of the board offered their quotes to the reporter, which basically rejected the notion that toll roads were the best solution. 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone probably said it best...
And County Supervisor Jeff Stone said it is misleading to suggest that tolls solve the congestion problem, because those who can't afford the charge still wind up sitting in traffic.I used to commute from Menifee to the John Wayne Airport area to work each day, between 2001-2003, before finally quitting to do this website business of mine. Some days I'd take the 91 freeway, and other days I'd take Ortega Highway. Both seem to get me to work about the same time, except the Ortega Highway always kept moving at a faster pace, even though technically, it was a longer commute in miles.
"I think that causes a lot of rebellion for people who are stuck on a fixed income and are trying to get home," Stone said.
But I also used to ride down the toll lanes of the 91 freeway. I had a transponder from the Toll Lanes operator. In those days, it cost me $5.00 to travel down the 91 toll lanes. I believe it costs even more today. Without it, you're simply stuck in traffic, and being stuck makes you angry. So essentially, the toll road is an anger management tool more than anything else.
My solution to the traffic congestion is to ride motorcycles or scooters. These days, scooters are as fast and powerful as many of the motorcycles out there. The smaller size of motorcycles and scooters means that they take up less room on the roadways and traffic moves faster. You can also expect to get between 40-50 MPG with most motorcycles, and 50-70 MPG on most scooters. You're saving a lot of money on gasoline, and you're producing fewer emissions.
But as for toll roads, I don't welcome them. Even though I used them in my commutes, I would have preferred to open up all lanes to everyone. Just because toll lanes move faster, doesn't mean the "free lanes" move faster, they seem to move slower and slower all the time. And like Stone said, people who cannot afford the tolls get more angry.
We need to widen lanes, and widen them big time. I'd like to see the I-215 widen to at least 4 lanes on each side, instead of the proposed three. I realize that will encourage more people to move here, but we already know more people are going to move here anyways.