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Continued Development in the Face of Traffic Saturation

June 15, 1986

The Orange County Board of Supervisors and county Planning Commission have a dual responsibility: to consider applications from developers and to protect the public from problems caused by excessive land use.

In the evaluation of present applications for new tracts or increases in the density of already-approved permits, in most cases consideration or approval has been predicated on freeways or arterials not yet begun or for which the schedule of completion is into the 21st Century.

In 1956, the Master Plan of Arterial Highways was adopted by the supervisors. At that time the population was about half a million, 10% urban, 90% agricultural. Completed in 1963, Interstate 5 was a welcome relief from the tedious journey from Los Angeles to Orange County on surface streets, then down Pacific Coast Highway to San Juan Capistrano. But the most liberal estimate of design capacity is far below the actual flow on I-5 and its junction with Interstate 405.

The concentration of traffic has reached saturation. To permit more residents to locate in Orange County is compounding the problem. A formula for avoiding air pollution in the county, now relatively free from second- and first-stage alerts, should be a primary consideration of the approach to this problem.

It is apparent that increases in the density on existing permits or any new tracts will affect the concentration of pollutants in the county's atmosphere and the supersaturated roads. Wisdom indicates that action on these applications should be withheld until the plans of the Orange County Transportation Commission and Environmental Management Agency can be developed.

MILTON J. ADAMSON

Laguna Hills

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