Michael H. Momeni, Environmental Nuclear Scientist
The average daily traffic through Temecula Valley was about 165,000 vehicles during 2015 (source Caltrans: 159,000 to 169,000). This number was projected to increase to 250,000 by 2030 at the junction of the Riverside and San Diego county line. A review of construction expansion within the Interstates 15 and 215 corridors would indicate that the 2030 projection is expected to be much larger. Interstates 15 and 215 connect San Diego to Ontario and to Riverside, respectively.
To reduce traffic on Interstates 15 and 215, several options have been presented. Among these is an improvement of California State Route 79 from Highway 8 to Aguanga, north to Hemet connecting to Highway 10 and 60 at Beaumont. It would allow an alternative route for trucks and cars passing through the region to the north and east of Temecula Valley.
The second option is an improvement of both Interstate15 and 215. These improvements would include the addition of traffic lanes and an extension of the express lanes from Escondido to Ontario and Riverside. This option relies on the concept that once a highway is expanded by adding more lanes, the problem of the congested road will evaporate. This concept is fully false. Indeed, expansion of Interstate 15 in Temecula may make the commuting time shorter but it allows more distant places such as Hemet to become more desirable because of the affordability condition:
The third option is the creation of a commuter train linking San Diego to Ontario and Riverside:
The creation of a regional commuter trainconnecting East Ontario to San Diego has been previously reported here (Palm and Pine Publication, September/October 2017, page 3) and will be the topic of a Regional Transportation Workshop on October 25, Temecula, sponsored by the Santa Margarita Group.
Any of these options must be subjected to detailed analysis of the environmental impacts as well as cost-benefit analysis prior to approval.