|Proposed: Temecula Parkway Ultimate Interchange with Park & Ride.|
Long Range Concept: Dual 2+ Carpool/HOT Express Lanes along I-15, direct access ramp, transit station, high speed rail corridor, and gateway into Ecological Reserve.
Long traffic queues and congestion along the southbound I-15 at the Winchester Road and Temecula Parkway offramps have long been a common sighting for locals. These areas are infamously known for forced-flow conditions with stopped cars spilling onto the freeway during rush hours, the majority of the day, and most weekends. They have also been the site of numerous fender-benders including a serious accident involving a Riverside Transit Agency bus a few years ago. The situation is grave since we now have a fatal accident at hand.
Last week, a Murrieta motorist died when his pick-up truck collided with a big rig that was slowing down as it approached a long traffic queue at the Winchester Road offramp from southbound Interstate 15. According to the CHP, preliminary evidence showed that the big rig truck was travelling south in the far right freeway lane when the pick-up truck that was travelling behind it slammed into its trailer, killing the driver. Our condolences go to the family and friends of the motorist.
This offramp does have an auxiliary lane and warning signs do alert drivers to watch for stopped vehicles in lanes, but such traffic can go from full speed to a halt in a matter of mere seconds. The situation can catch alert motorists off guard. One reason of this chaos is that some motorists foolishly cut in the middle of the long queue which seriously exacerbates the forced-flow conditions of the exit lane and the far right general purpose lane.
A local interchange project will help take care of this problem, but with a fatality at hand, the governments need expedite it. Phase I of the French Valley Parkway interchange project which will provide a second offramp from the southbound side of the freeway is expected to be finished early this year. Government officials hope to have the Phase II designs done by mid 2015 and ground broken by the end of 2015. We hope the public sector can coordinate, get Phase I done by the end of the month and expedite Phase II so that construction bidding and groundbreaking can start this year because the safety issues at stake are grave. The same goes for a separate interchange project for the Temecula Parkway bottleneck.
Back to the Temecula Parkway offramp. Like Phase II of French Valley Parkway, officials hope to break ground early next year. Later down the road, we hope to see some multi-modal transit infrastructure developed for the corridor on top of the interchange capacity expansions. However with grave safety issues at stake including the recent fatality, there should be no excuses to get these interchange projects paid for, placed out for bid, and construction started this year with long term planning to incorporate transit infrastructure into them in the future. Get on it!