Author complains of red-light running and intersection blocking all over town. She calls for more vigilant traffic enforcement.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter was originally addressed to San Juan Capistrano City Manager Karen Brust.

Dear Ms. Brust:

It is unavoidable that an increase of population and an increase in large construction projects will affect traffic adversely. I realize this and do my best to be patient in congested areas of town.

I am writing you, however, because others apparently are not so patient, and are increasingly ignoring traffic laws. It is now to the point where at every major intersection I encounter, there is ALWAYS someone running a red light.  It's a guaranteed event, so I pause before entering the intersection (as a driver or as a pedestrian) to avoid a collision.

Another increasing problem is drivers blocking intersections: insisting on entering an intersection they cannot clear, thus remaining in the center of the intersection when the light has changed and preventing the cross traffic from moving.

Adding to the free-for-all attitude on the road are more mundane, yet also dangerous and very common, issues such as texting while driving, refusing to yield the right of way and driving in bike lanes.

I understand that budgets are tight and we must carefully allocate our limited law enforcement resources to the most-needed areas. But as our streets are gradually turning to anarchy, I would like to request that traffic enforcement might increase in priority.

Thank you for your attention,

Corinna Henson

rob h September 12, 2012 at 02:11 PM
The biggest issue here and the cause is the cities lack of completing projects, closing lanes during rush hour, for not thinking through the construction on Del Obispo, where just this week they go from two lanels down to one causing illegal U-Turns, tempers flairing, people stopping in intersections becuase they don't want to sit anoth 10 minutes. There are two left lanes, to where they could use one for the second lane, also no reason fro the two trucks to be parked on Del Obispo closing one lanel. Oh! The you have the infamous on/off ramps on Camini Capistrano. This project seems to just sit idle. All this frustration, illegal turns, running lights, etc. etc. should be blamed on Ms. Bust or whoever is in charge. If you can't make changes NOW, TODAY, then your not doing your job and apparently don't care about the community. I suggest you stand out there and direct traffic yourself. Then you have the nerve to send spend money to go to different business owners re: the Ortega project? What the hecks wrong with you people. Get the projects completed that your already working on. Get it done or get out. Your the cause of the problems here, and now you want more traffic control? Your way off base on this.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Don't confuse Caltrans and the city. Caltrans is a state agency (in charge of the Camino Capistrano exchange and the Ortega Highway exchange at the I-5). Caltrans just tells the city what it's going to do. While city officials can make requests, they don't have any real power in the situation. The Del Obispo bridge, however, is all the city.
rob h September 12, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Thanks Penny. I did send a fax to Ms. Brust and a couple of others with no response in regards to the Del Obispo situation which is more vital than the on/off ramps.
Pat Bauer September 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM
When I move here a little over a year ago I was totally impressed with how the city kept great traffic flow most of the time. Three months later - what the hell happened??? Seems lots of citizens are complaining and nothing has happened to correct any issues in a year. The RR tracks on Del Obispo are still a mess, signal turns red for not particular reason (note: traffic is not backed up) and I would also like to know the reason for two left turn lanes to Alipaz? The one lane worked like a charm except for rush hour back up. Now the left arrow turn time seems to have doubled which makes it worse and the traffic going toward downtown stops and blocks the intersection. Again, what the hell has happened?
rob h September 12, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Agree, except we do have a business right near the RR tracks and yes the traffic backs up big time. Really don't think the city thinks things through, if they have and this is what they have come up with, they need to be fired.
rob h September 12, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Yep! It's a mess. We have a buisness by the old post office and at times we will sit 20 minutes in the clog. Extremenly bad planning to have two lanes down to one during rush hour when trucks can park around the corner, or make on e of the NEW left turn lanes (which is good, but for now use one as the second lane.) Signals are timed badly and as more people see that the city has no clue what they are doing the more frustrated they become. No need for more traffic control it's time for city control over their personel. Get people on board that REALLY CARE about the city. We are definately considering moving our buisness to San Clemente or Dana Point where the city actually cares about their people once our lease expires. Thank you San Juan for showing us what your made of.
Clint Worthington September 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Please remember at election time to not vote for Sam Allevato. He is the one remaining City Council Member that voted for that traffic signal and every single change at the Del Obispo railroad crossing.
rob h September 12, 2012 at 05:59 PM
FYI Clint. Sammy IS NOT getting my vote
Clint Worthington September 12, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Thank you for not voting for him. I understand your frustration with the traffic as I live off of Alipaz. I hope that you do not move your business. I truly believe that if the traffic signal was removed at the rr crossing that it will improve traffic from the standstill that it is now.
rob h September 12, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Thanks Clint. The city council has other issues to deal with. We had friends and have many freinds that were in involved with the parade a few months back. Why in the world would they allow the city bar to open before lunch and to have people already drunk IN PUBLIC wondering around plus having police getting involved. I saw this personally. Yep! Our city council is more of a detriment to the community than anyone or anything else. Clint even if the RR crossing finally gets taken care of it will be a matter of time before they either start a new project without think it through or complete the one they started. They should choose one project, do it right the first time without wasting time and money (J Serra) then move onto the next one.
rob h September 12, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Nothing wrong with members of the city council to go out there to take turns directing traffic
Clint Worthington September 12, 2012 at 08:30 PM
rob h, I have to say that is the best idea yet ! Now, you can given me an idea. Stand out at the Del Obispo crossing reminding drivers that it was Council Member Allevato who voted for this traffic signal.
rob h September 12, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Make up the signs and THEY will come
V. Duvall September 18, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Corinna, I thought I was the only one suffering from people running red lights at every intersection. I was beginning to think I was imagining it. It's true, I have almost been T-Boned at several intersections also. The city has only 2 Motor Deputies and believe you me, NONE of the other deputies in the cars want to or are willing to enforce traffic violators. They think it's the job of the motors so they don't do it. The City Manager needs to tell the Chief that she wants to have ALL deputies working the streets of San Juan Capistrano do maximum traffic enforcement while out there if they are not on a call. Do this for a while and people will stop blocking the intersections and making illegal u-turns etc. Give out some tickets and see how fast it gets better.
V. Duvall September 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Clint, Sam is getting my vote. We need someone with a brain on the Council. Some of those running are missing theirs.
Clint Worthington September 18, 2012 at 10:25 PM
The Republic Central Committee had a different view than yours last night. They did not endorse Sam Allevato after he asked for a vote! Not even with Diane Harkey standing next to him supporting him ! SOCRA did not endorse Sam Allevato either !
melissa kaffen September 25, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Sam forfeit the endorsement when he quintupled water rates. Once upon a time... he actually signed at GOP Pledge to not raise taxes or fees if elected. The Party held him accountable even though Ms. Harkey et al. didn't.


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