Monday, September 23, 2013

Temecula Valley's I-15 Freeway upgrades, rapid transit and the Ultimate Interchange

Proposed: New interchange design at the I-15 Freeway
and Temecula Parkway.

Concept: Direct access ramp linking conceptual dual 2+ carpool lanes with a FasTrak toll option for solo drivers in the area of the I-15 Freeway and Temecula Parkway. The DAR links the express lanes with a conceptual transit station to the west and an officially proposed park & ride to the east.
Drivers and transit riders who regularly pass through Temecula along the southbound side of the I-15 freeway are well aware of long off ramp traffic queues which often spill over onto the freeway at the city's three exits: Winchester Road, Rancho California Road, and Temecula Parkway.

The Temecula Parkway exit is by far the most hazardous as the off ramp lacks an auxiliary lane which causes the long lines to back up into the far right general purpose lane. Sometimes the backup spans a whole mile. With a curve along the freeway just a half mile north of the offramp, the hazard is serious. Traffic in the far right lane cruising along at 70 mph will often, without warning, see the lane come to a dead halt, leaving drivers little time to react. The area has been the site of numerous traffic collisions. The hazard has also created a minor traffic bottleneck.

The City of Temecula has moved one step closer toward breaking ground on restructuring this congested and hazardous freeway interchange located on the southern end of town, a project long overdue. According to the city, construction would require the relocation of utility, water and sewer lines through an existing Arco gas station. The city therefore negotiated a purchase of the property for $5 million. The city also reported that this construction is dubbed "ultimate" with the expectation that this will be the final interchange upgrade and the new configuration is expected to be able to handle growing traffic volumes until 2030. The project also includes re-striping Temecula Parkway to four lanes in each direction between the freeway and Pechanga Parkway.

Concept: An extension of Bedford Court from Temecula Parkway serves as a direct access ramp to potential high occupancy toll lanes along the I-15 through Temecula. Numerous casino buses and future public express buses would utilize it. A transit station on the opposite side of the freeway would cater to connecting RTA buses and potential local high speed rail toward Los Angeles to the north and San Diego to the south. A gateway into the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve would also support the transit station and serve as a tourist stop.
We believe this area, let alone the freeway itself, will be seeing more projects to come. Therefore, upgrades are far from over. Pictured here, the Coalition is exploring the possibility of an additional interchange add-on at Temecula Parkway that would cater to high occupancy vehicle traffic, carpools, vanpools, future express buses, casino buses headed to the Pechanga Resort, and solo motorists willing to tax themselves into a carpool lane.

Concept: Dual 2+ Carpool lanes with a FasTrak toll option for solo drivers with the existing 4 general purpose lanes along the I-15 Freeway through Temecula.
With major high density development proposals planned along the western side of the freeway through Temecula, the freeway could very well use a set of dual high occupancy 2+ carpool lanes in each direction with express bus infrastructure which would seamlessly connect San Diego County's I-15 Express Lanes system to the south with the the proposed Riverside County Transportation Commission I-15 high occupancy tolled express lane network to the north. The conceptual Temecula-to-Elsinore HOV 2+ segment would also include direct access ramps to future transit stations near the Promenade Mall area, the Golden Triangle area or other selected spot for the RTA Twin Cities Transit Center, downtown Wildomar, and downtown Lake Elsinore. The lanes would also permit solo drivers to buy their way in by paying a toll with their FasTrak transponder. As we have been campaigning and as demonstrated by San Diego's system, all 2+ HOV's would travel free without a need to preregister for a transponder.

As much as officials want to designate the Temecula Parkway interchange upgrade as "ultimate," it certainly will not be the area's final infrastructure upgrade to come, especially with the projected growth in Temecula's west side.


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