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The Big Tie-Up on the San Diego Freeway Monday

June 12, 1988

Thousands experienced turmoil and frustration on the San Diego Freeway last Monday. Why, we ask ourselves, was traffic gridlocked for more than eight hours?

Was it a pre-election strategy by proponents of traffic-related ballot propositions? The most obvious answer is the inattention of truck driver Robert Causey of Memphis, Tenn. Causey apparently was checking his map, talking on his citizens band radio and enjoying the California sunshine.

The object that was struck by Causey's truck was an empty church bus known as the "Joy Bus," parked along the San Diego Freeway. Why was a bus parked on the freeway? We know that the freeway frequently appears to be a parking lot, but isn't it dangerous to allow vehicles to park on the freeway shoulder?

I personally passed the Joy Bus, on June 4, again last Sunday, and a third time last Monday. On every occasion, the Joy Bus was parked in the same location, on the northbound shoulder, just slightly edging out into the traffic lane. I was lucky. I missed hitting it every time.

If the accident hadn't occurred Monday, it would have been Tuesday, or maybe even Wednesday before it happened.

I would hope that Caltrans or some other governmental agency has a system for preventing vehicles from parking on our freeways. The agony endured by countless thousands while sitting on the freeway Monday was very costly.


Costa Mesa

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