While coming down Antonio towards Ortega the following scenes took my breath away. Welcome to progress! Those “little trucks” in the distance all lined up are actually huge earth-movers, and they are moving a lot of it!
What you are looking at is phase1 of The Ranch Plan being built on land owned by the Rancho Mission Viejo Company, and the start of construction of what will be 14,000 additional homes in the area. This particular area will be known as Sendero*, a mix of 940 homes, 200 apartments, and a 10-acre retail plaza that’s all scheduled to open next summer (2013).
Will a bike lane go through it?
Please note there is a new traffic light right at the “sweet spot” on the downhill that will serve as an entrance to this new community.
The Ranch Plan will consist of:
- Nine separate areas of development, called “villages,” stretching from the border of Camp Pendleton Marine Base to the 241 Toll Road.
- 23,000 acres of land, 17,000 acres undeveloped and dedicated to species protection, cattle-grazing and citrus farming.
- 14,000 homes meant for a variety of residents, including senior communities.
On the other side of Ortega, a 10 acre development proposal by Shea Homes is being wrangled through the system. With the requested doubling of homes at the Great Park, the proposed development in Santiago Canyon, Rancho Capistrano, the new developments in Lake Forest and San Clemente, enjoy the “back county” rides while you can.
Even though the Ortega highway has been “widened” (except for bikes), one wonders if it’s enough to support the anticipated traffic load, and if not, how soon will the toll road happily take all these paying customers to the beach? Since the toll road is creeping south to end (for now) at Cow Camp Road at Ortega, pressure to complete and connect the toll road to the 5 will build as new residents make their voices heard. La Pata will also get attention (and probably pavement) to fill the open space gap between San Clemente and San Juan.
We suggest improving and extending the San Juan Creek Bike Trail to La Pata to provide a means for all the new residents to ride their bikes to the beach, and when La Pata is completed (with buffered bike lanes?), a direct means to travel to and from San Clemente. With these last build outs, and knowing that 40% of urban travel is 2 miles or less, and 90% of those trips are by car, it just makes sense to incorporate cycling facilities and infrastructure as these new communities are literally built out “from the ground up”.
*sendero: 1) a trodden path, (2) evidence pointing to a possible solution