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Parking Bind in San Juan

In response to the editorial “A Welcome Investment in Train Depots” (Dec. 9), let me clarify what I believe to be the motives behind the city of San Juan Capistrano’s interest in modernizing the depot.

Recently my husband and I had occasion to visit San Diego. Why not take Amtrak? We would save on gasoline (less pollution) and have a relaxing ride down the coast. What could be more pleasant?

The shocker came when we tried to park. Like most locals, we usually park near the stores we patronize or, when visiting our nice new movie theater, in the three-hour spaces in the adjacent parking structure. All-day parking for the Amtrak is something else.

Since our journey was later than the usual daily commute, all available unrestricted spaces were filled, both alongside the depot and inside the parking structure. Street spaces were also taken, but there were numerous three-hour spaces immediately outside the depot and on two levels of the parking structure. Departure time loomed.

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Finally, saying, “What the heck!” we left the car in the farthest corner of the deserted upper level and made for the train. After a pleasant day in San Diego, we returned to find, you guessed it, a $27 parking ticket. The area was still deserted.

Our fault? Of course. But what about available parking for people who actually wish to travel on the train and not just dine in a comfortable, quaint little restaurant?

You see, the city’s true motive in refurbishing the depot is not to make things more convenient for those pesky travelers. It’s the Big “P"--Profit, in the form of increased revenues from restaurants. Hence all of those convenient three-hour parking spaces.

Now that the depot is ready for 20th-Century travel, how about some 20th-Century parking?

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CHRISTINA MACIAS, San Juan Capistrano


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