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STREET SMART

Plans for Michelson Bridge Widening Span Several Years

March 29, 1993|CAROLINE LEMKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

Will the city of Irvine ever widen the bridge on Michelson Drive between Harvard Avenue and Jamboree Road? This two-lane bridge is the biggest bottleneck in the county.

Daniel Rigg

Lake Forest

Widening the Michelson Drive bridge has been a topic of discussion among Irvine City Council members for years, said Arya Rohani, the city's manager of transportation. Although the idea of widening the bridge has been received favorably by many, mitigation measures must first be implemented for the nearby San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh, one of the largest freshwater wetlands in Southern California .

Last year, the City Council took a step in that direction by approving an environmental impact report for the San Joaquin Marsh Enhancement Project. Now, public hearings must be held to discuss the impact construction would have on the environment, Rohani said.

Securing funding and accepting design proposals for the bridge project would be the final steps before construction could begin, Rohani said. If all goes smoothly, construction could begin by 1995, he said.

Dear Street Smart:

When drivers are approaching a freeway on-ramp from a surface street, they should be informed a block or two in advance about which lane to occupy in order to get on the freeway. Is there any plan for that?

A.H. Severson

Westminster

A onetime program did exist about two years ago that provided signs to guide motorists to the lane needed to reach a freeway on-ramp, said Dean Delgado, senior transportation analyst for the Orange County Transportation Authority. Under the OCTA program, more than 100 signs were installed throughout the county and they remain in place today, he said.

Under the program, OCTA asked the city governments in the county to identify locations where advance freeway guide signs could be placed, Delgado said. Not only did these signs give motorists notice about which lane to use, they also directed traffic to side streets that led to freeways, and, in the case of Huntington Beach, outlined an alternative route from Beach Boulevard to Warner Avenue to the southbound San Diego Freeway that shaved almost two miles from a more popular route.

The signage program was funded with leftover money from a separate street rehabilitation and sign project, Delgado said. No similar program is scheduled for the near future. Individual cities may request more freeway signs as part of any major street project they undertake, he said.

Dear Readers:

The Orange County Transportation Authority approved an agreement last week with the Southern California Rapid Transit District to allow free transfers from OCTA's commuter train to Los Angeles' Red Line subway. Monthly rail pass holders will be able to transfer to the Red Line without purchasing Red Line tickets from vending machines during peak commute hours.

The transfer agreement goes into effect Thursday. OCTA train commuters can show their monthly passes to Red Line ticket fare collectors and transfer without paying an additional fee. This agreement is not applicable to Amtrak's 10-trip, round-trip, or one-way tickets, said OCTA rail planner Adrienne Brooks.

Amtrak has shown interest in working with the rail transit district to combine transfer tickets into their 10-trip ticket package, Brooks said. In the next few months, OCTA will work with Amtrak to bring this to fruition.

Currently, the Red Line fare is 25 cents per trip. In April, the rail district board may recommend raising the fare. If the fare increases, the transfer charge to OCTA would also increase, Brooks said.

For more information, train commuters may call the OCTA at (714) 636-RIDE.

Street Smart appears Mondays in The Times Orange County Edition. Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about traffic, commuting and what makes it difficult to get around in Orange County. Include simple sketches if helpful. Letters may be published in upcoming columns. Please write to Caroline Lemke, c/o Street Smart, The Times Orange County, P.O. Box 2008, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers. Letters may be edited, and no anonymous letters will be accepted.

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