Multi-County Service Now Provides Ride-Sharing Information


Dear Street Smart:

For years I've heard the messages save energy, stop pollution, ride-share.

In April, 1993, I began working in Fountain Valley. From the time I accepted the job offer, I began actively searching for a car pool. I contacted the Orange County Transportation Authority, and was told it was unable to find a match for me.

I asked them to try harder. An extended search turned up three names. Alas, one listed a bogus telephone number, another was on maternity leave (and has since moved), and the third was working at home.

Six months later, I contacted OCTA again. Any updates? After waiting for a month for their computer to come back on line, I was given the disappointing news that there were still no matches for me.

One questions just how extensive the ride-share database really is, and how much of an effort OCTA is making to build it up, especially since I have much too much company going south on the Costa Mesa Freeway each morning and even more going home in the evening.

Marlene Eckert


It's too bad all your previous efforts were for naught. Would you be willing to try one more time?

OCTA has stopped providing ride-share networking for Orange County and turned the job over to Commuter Transportation Services, a multi-county operation that has in its database about 95,000 people from Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties. Their number is (800) COMMUTE.

John Standiford of OCTA says public transportation may be an option to you if car pooling does not work out. In Orange, OCTA has three major park-and-ride locations for bus service and seven bus lines that serve the whole city, he said. To get anywhere in Fountain Valley from Orange, it would take at most two buses on one transfer, he said. Five of the seven bus lines in Orange have bike racks if you cycle part of the way to work.

Dear Street Smart:

When will there be a transition from the northbound Costa Mesa Freeway to the southbound Corona del Mar Freeway? It appears that there is already a provision for it.

Phil Salisbury

Newport Beach

A northbound Costa Mesa Freeway connector to the southbound Corona del Mar Freeway is currently being designed by the city of Costa Mesa and Caltrans, said Rose Orem, a Caltrans spokeswoman. Construction should begin by the fall of 1995 and last about nine months, she said.

The $1.5-million project is being funded by the Transportation Corridor Agencies and Costa Mesa, Orem said. The return connector is not planned now because of cost.

Dear Street Smart:

Expansion of the El Toro Y, that infamous interchange of Interstate 5 and the San Diego Freeway, appears to be moving right along. But when I'm driving north from San Clemente to Irvine in the mornings the real traffic snarls seem to occur before the Y, from the El Toro Road exit south, and immediately after the transition to the San Diego Freeway, where it's bumper-to-bumper through Irvine.

Traffic often flows freely through the Y itself. Why is that?

Scott Nelson

San Clemente

Getting through the actual Y interchange may seem like a piece of cake sometimes because of all the jams south and north of it. Here's what John Standiford, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, had to say:

Construction surrounding the interchange project is one reason for congestion south of the Y. Fifteen miles of car pool lanes are being added to I-5 from the Y to Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point, and improvements are being made to several ramps and auxiliary lanes, particularly around Crown Valley Parkway and Alicia Parkway.

Another delay south of the Y is caused around El Toro Road when cars begin to merge to get to the Y, Standiford said. The improvement project is designed to help eliminate much of the weaving and lane changing now required of motorists.

The project will be finished in the summer of 1996.

Sheer traffic volume accounts for congestion south and north too. More people drive out of South County than the freeway can efficiently handle.

Traffic snarls occur on the northbound San Diego Freeway because more drivers use it to get to work and stores. While I-5 is used more as a through-route to Los Angeles, right now it also bogs down because of numerous construction projects.

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