Our parks, national forests and other wild lands are not storage places for future roads. They are precious treasures of our heritage to be protected for ourselves and future generations.
The possibilities for utilizing the Riverside Freeway have barely begun to be explored. Reversible lanes would be a good place to begin.
You did a very competent job covering the Riverside and Orange counties' commuting problem and proposed solutions.
You mentioned that local leaders "also question the paths of the four proposed canyon routes, saying they conflict with the planning goals of Orange County cities and do not go to the county's northern and central employment centers." This is a key statement that merits expansion.
First, the planning goals of Orange County communities do not include the bisecting of vitally needed regional parks and degrading the quality of life in the roadside communities themselves.
Second, the proposed roads do not take commuters from their homes to work. They take commuters from one freeway network to another. The commuters ultimately would use the already congested San Diego, Costa Mesa and Garden Grove freeways, the main arteries of the Orange County freeway network. Adding traffic to this network would mean overhauling it to carry the increase of 130,000 cars from Riverside County.
This consequence applies as well to the options of increasing the capacity of the Riverside Freeway or driving a tunnel through the Santa Ana Mountains. Imagine being stuck in a traffic jam in a 14-mile tunnel. More roads are not a comprehensive system solution.
On the other hand, the increased rail service through Santa Ana Canyon carries the exciting possibility of taking cars off the Riverside and Orange County freeway networks.
High-speed passenger trains carrying a couple of thousand passengers at five-minute intervals would transport 24,000 commuters an hour. To double that number, either double the number of trains or double the number of cars per train.