Jake Dekema, 74, was for 25 years the director of transportation for an area that includes San Diego County. He lives in La Jolla.
It should have been widened long ago. I don't know what else they can do that they're not doing. They're going to widen it to six lanes, for which we provided the right-of-way many, many years ago. I don't think you can afford to widen it to eight lanes any more.
The widening to six lanes should have been done long ago. The money just wasn't there in comparison to other projects in other parts of the state. It didn't have that high of a priority. But if it had been widened to six lanes when I asked for the money when I was still working, you wouldn't have the congestion problems during construction that you're bound to have today.
It probably won't solve the problem, long term. I just don't think you can get enough capacity in that one road. What you need to do is put in Highway 76 as well. That will take some of the load off. (Highway 76 would run from Oceanside to Interstate 15 alongside the San Luis Rey River.)
\o7 Lee Thibadeau, 45, is in his fourth year as the mayor of San Marcos, which has a traffic management program. He has been on the San Marcos City Council since 1980.
The best that could be done immediately is a traffic management program throughout North County. Unfortunately, the city of San Marcos is the only city in North County right now with a program. As soon as our neighbors join in, I think we'll see some major benefits from that.
Initially what we need to try to do is get the employers cooperating and working toward some peak-hour traffic programs providing incentives and other vehicles to get their employees working on flex hours, modified work schedules, things like that.
A lot of them could take a bus one or two days a week. A lot of people are unwilling to give up their cars; they want it there in case they want to go some place for lunch or whatever. The larger employers can make pool cars available. If you took a bus to work just one day a week you're going to cut down your contribution to traffic congestion during peak hours by 20%.
San Marcos--and we're really the second city in the state to do this--started a program a few years ago and had a lot of success, a lot of cooperation from the employers and employees. In fact, it becomes a benefit to the employee. City Hall, for example, rotates an additional day off. Our secretary in City Hall, I think it's about every third Friday she gets off. They call it her happy day. She gets a three-day weekend once every three weeks as a result of putting in an extra half hour a day or an hour a day to beat the peak-hour traffic, either to be ahead of it or behind it.
That's a long-range solution that has to become a permanent program. What that can do for us is give us some immediate opportunities to cut down on congestion. It won't solve the long-term problem by itself, but it allows us some time and some breathing space while we build more of the facilities that are necessary.
The reason it has to be ongoing and long term, though, is you could build 12 lanes on Highway 78 and in a short time they would all be filled up because people using the surface streets right now who are getting congestion would then see an opportunity to move faster on the freeway and move to the freeway. We don't have an adequate circulation plan within the cities.
\o7 Capt. Ron Phulps, 43, was promoted from lieutenant to captain for the California Highway Patrol in late 1989. He spent three years in charge of transportation planning for the CHP in Sacramento.
I don't know that a whole lot can be done. We in Highway Patrol are doing what we can do. As of last year, we assigned five motorcycles to Highway 78. That was the first time in years we've had motorcycles, and we're trying to get a few more because of the lack of shoulders and the construction projects.
That's what we're facing in all of our urban, congested areas in the state, and the fact that Caltrans is forced to provide additional lanes without necessarily having additional right-of-way. Therefore, in order to do that, sometimes they have to cut the shoulders off the freeway and we lose our working environment.
The other thing that we're doing right now is a program we call operation CLEAR. That stands for Clearing Lanes Efficiently and Rapidly. We focused on Highway 78, between Mar Vista and I-15, and during peak commute hours in the morning and afternoon we have redeployed two additional people who have beat responsibilities elsewhere within the Oceanside command. We've deployed them onto the 9-mile segment of freeway to simply keep traffic moving--to remove impediments, whether it's debris on the roadway or disabled vehicles on the shoulders. Just to get all of those impediments and visual hazards off the freeway in order to get traffic rolling.