Trestles Threatened. Again.

Orange County Transportation Authority holds secret vote to approve toll road extension

| posted on April 23, 2013

Lowers, a fragile wave worth the fight in Southern California. Photo: Ellis

The 241 Toll Road extension just won’t die.

It’s been four and a half years since state and federal authorities shelved the Orange County Transportation Corridor Authority’s (TCA) plans for a toll road that would connect Route 241 with Interstate-5 in southern Orange County. But last week the TCA held a behind-closed-doors secret vote and, free from any public comments, approved construction of a 5-mile section of the controversial road. If built, the freeway would cover much of San Onofre State Beach in asphalt, and would choke off sand flow from nearby San Mateo creek that stabilizes the cobblestone reef at Lowers.

After the project was rejected by state and federal governments in 2008, TCA chairman and 241 extension supporter Jerry Amante told the Los Angeles Times: “we don’t intend to just throw our hands in the air and say, ‘Oh well.’” It seems that the TCA has made good on its threat.

By approving just the first 5-mile section of the road, from Oso Parkway southward, the TCA appears to be trying to circumvent its previous rejection. Building the project in piecemeal may be TCA’s attempt to side-step the environmental impact concerns voiced by, among other groups, the Surfrider Foundation and the National Resources Defense Council. It’s far easier to mitigate the effects of a five-mile section of road than the originally proposed 16-mile stretch of highway.

The National Resources Defense Council’s Joel Reynolds points out that this “segmenting” approach is illegal according to state and federal precedent, because once the first section of road is built, later decisions by government officials about extending the toll road would invariably be influenced by the already-existing five-mile extension of the 241 toll road.

By voting in secrecy, the TCA has contradicted its earlier assertions that the group would always allow for public participation in any future decisions about the toll road project. The TCA’s own Environmental Director was recorded on video in 2012 explaining that “we are not required legislatively to have that [public discussion] process, but because of the controversy that this project has had, we’re going beyond the requirement and we’re having a public review period.”

Apparently that courtesy has been revoked.

Get involved with the Surfrider Foundation.

  • ben


  • Adam

    Time to start protesting again.

  • Truc

    Love coming to SoCal for the summers and surf Trestles! Sad to see this happen again. SAVE TRESTLES from the East Coast!

  • Barry Haun

    Let’s pave all the supporters’ back yards!

  • Jimmy the Saint

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  • http://none Peter Easterling

    Anyone still wonder what the Occupy movement is about? The 1% doesn’t have t play by our rules. Goodbye Trestles, goodbye Kawela Bay on the North Shore, goodbye Kakaako makai on Oahu’s south shore. Big money and lies win again.

  • david van rensburg

    don’t give up californian surfers,don’t lose trestles or your beaches

  • edgar

    save trestles for ever. we will never stop!

  • Sandy

    We cannot give up or give in!!!! SAVE TRESTLES!!!!

  • dan

    peter easterling is right.

  • Cookies

    Many people in Orange County, including the majority of the surf community in Orange County are fools and hypocrites. Not all, O.C. still has a few rebels and soul brothers and sisters, but yes most of the people are really out to lunch. Just step back a bit and assess the situation. Orange County is the most Republican conservative county in California. Not “don’t tread on me” backwoods folks from Montana, but gated community, private everything, profit over everything Republicans. The reason the majority of major surf corporations are located in Orange County is because the cheap corporate tax rates and lack of regulation. Lack of regulation on corporations and lack of regulation on the environmental impacts these entities create to support their bottom line. Everyone who is involved with the surf industrial complex (including every pro-surf dude bro with a mega company sticker on their board) benefits from this lack or regulation and the conditions that have been created to support this corporate surf money machine. To sell their product they, (the surf industrial complex) require a huge population of people to sell their product to. Many of the people who buy their stuff, populate Southern California. With out this large population to sell to they would just not make as much money. This massive population requires a large infrastructure to support their life style. This infrastructure IS the freeway system and the massive amount of land that has been ruined. Tons of LLC’s are set up to bulldoze over open space to build (really bad taste) Mc Mansions all over the remaining open space. These people that inhabit these places buy surf product. They need freeways for their SUV’s. I have never heard the surf community down there scream about any other of the projects that impact the environment of the area as loud as they have with this one. If people really wanted to stop projects like this toll road extension they would, through their vote, or simply through lack of participation with that system, put the hurt on the corporate culture of Orange County which would in-turn create the conditions for the lack of the continuation of infrastructure expansion that is needed to support a large and growing population. The thing is is that so many people benefit from this corporate culture in Orange County, they ARE the corporate culture of Orange County, that it is so intertwined with their life style, that it’s not going to stop. The people will keep coming because the infrastructure is there to support their numbers and their numbers support the surf industrial complex. The infrastructure is created to support a large population. The population supports the corporate profits. You only have your selves to blame. Wake up.

    • bobo yahoo


  • Scott

    This story is nice, but how about a link/email address for people to use to voice their concerns to the TCA, their reps, etc.?

  • blank

    so when was the last time the creek flowed enough to affect the break

  • Anonymous

    They wanna try Ill fuck up their machines fuck that road and the tourists itll bring, whatever it takes

    • bobo yahoo

      i like these points

  • M. Roth

    Hey cookies too many words. At least there going to let people surf the ranch, I didn’t see many people complaining about that synerio or the road they would have to put in. @anonymous A good way to destroy a machine is putting sugar in the gas tank.

  • stab

    I love this idea. Now I don’t have to live in San Clemente to surf trestles easily. Love it!

  • bufu

    Save Trestles it’s one of the best waves in the world. Don’t let greed and lies win again or it will never stop. Interesting points Cookie

  • Matt

    Stab, are you serious? if this is approved there wont be a trestles to surf you donkey

  • Colton

    Its only a matter of time. If you surf junkies did anything but surf you would know this. I cant wait for the completion of all 16 miles. I can drive straight through save lots of time make more money to feed my family and provide them with a better life. If you fools wanna get in the way of this your gonna lose. Its about money. Frankly you surfers just don’t make enough in sponsorships and wax and wetsuit, surfboard purchases to contribute anything. Except you like to use what is now in eminent domain… Cant wait! BTW the toll road wont be on the beach itself and we know how to build bridges now sooo….. Whats the problem?

    • colton blows

      Make more money? Dont make us laugh. Your income has nothing to do with the drive you complete and utter moron

  • John Virata

    Sorry to burst your cookies, but the vast majority of product sold by the so-called surf industrial complex isn’t sold in Orange County, but rather it is sold in Travis County and Dugard County and Middle America County. Orange County is but one market for these clothes, and to burst your cookies even more, people who are buying into the so called surf lifestyle are buying Hollister and those other companies that were created on Madison Avenue and not Pacific Coast Highway or Newport Blvd. or 56th St. While the surf companies hawking their made in China goods do sell their wares here, OC is a much smaller market than what they sell in Shanghai and Mumbai and Kuwait City and Kansas City. You must surely have a feeble mind to believe that the surf industrial complex is making the majority of its profits from Orange County. And to tie these profits to the toll roads is the biggest yarn I’ve heard regarding these roads. Now back to reality, the TCA is deep in debt, and the only way it can sustain itself is to foist this ill conceived extension upon a gullible Orange County public, a road made with taxpayer dollars that will cost us even more in tolls to drive upon.

  • Garrett

    disgraceful the tactics and obvious greedy placation to the rich in SoOC

  • ben dover

    if they try it, we’ll trash their machines, and burn their equipment….they’ll have to rum me over or bend me over…

  • Dan

    Desperate times will lead to desperate measures. If you see a contractor out there, on the beach trail parking lot where ever — give em a lesson in localism.

    Seriously. Time to make an example out of the next suit to scope the “job site”. 1% dicks will never out number us, if they wanna pull gorilla politics, its high time to start cracking their skulls open on the pavement, give em a story to tell their friends about.

    I’ve fkn had it with their bs and don’t care anymore!!

  • Smithers

    Hit em with the Surfonomics!

  • Tom

    We have enough roads in Orange County, we don’t need more. Time to save what little dirt we have left.

  • Jw

    Finally a break through!!! Enough of the b.s. scare tactics. I surf Trestles regularly. I have for 20 years. Not only would the road be a huge benefit for San Clemente residents, but it doesn’t even come close to the beaches or trails.

    Enough of the lies already!! Read the actual proposal instead of listening to your local surf shop buddy or educator.

    This is a need for these residents. Emergencies happen. Traffic is overwhelming.
    Lets do this the right way ! How exciting

  • Orion Gardner

    time to dust off this old video from the last time…

  • Cookies

    John V…
    Yes, what you say is true, the market for surf product is a global one and is solely not supported by the population of Orange County it’s self. It failed to tie this point in and you made the correction, thanks. My point was simply that the major surf brands that do business in Orange County benefit from a large populous to draw upon for profit. In southern California or Nebraska. This is true. A large populous requires a large infrastructure to support them. Orange County has a large population due to the fact that many companies are headquartered there because of the benefits to business, surf themed companies, and many others. Housing companies want more houses to make more money, more people are required to buy houses. Company’ s need employees, more people are in Orange County because of work opportunities. The surf brands them selfs may not be the sole contributor to the large population in the area, but the corporate culture of O.C. does have an impact on the amount of growth and the surf brands benefit from this growth and lack of regulation. Why else would they be there! Orange County, best place to do business in California! The surf brands take direct advantage of this “business friendly environment” do to their thing. The majority of the surf community in Orange County is very tied into the surf industry (which takes advantage of the favorable conditions to do business), so they basically benefit from the “friendly business environment” in Orange County. All I’m saying is that the majority of people should take a deeper look into why this happens. O.C. is all paved over, people who live there seem to not mind it until it effects something they want (Trestles). If they don’t want it they don’t care. I wonder if the area was void of a surf break if it even would have been “saved” the first time. All that being said… save Trestles!!!

  • dang3rtown

    Feel free to send your comments to the director the the TCA in charge of this project, Lisa A. Bartlett, City of Dana Point Mayor Pro Tem (also a major real estate developer, surprise surprise) at her Facebook page. People, someone in our own backyard is doing this to us. We have the votes to get rid of her. Write her a letter here on her facebook page
    and tell her how you’ll vote if she tries to ram this thing through.

  • John Virata

    Dear Cookies: Yes Save Trestles. . . and Church. . . and Sano.

  • Pingback: Save Trestles: "Special Meeting" Approves Toll Road Over San Onofre State Beach - The Surf Channel

  • Steve

    There are lots of bridges that dont affect river flows. Its just the snobby OC surfers whining about having to hear the traffic while they surf.

  • Jenna

    This is terrible. If they pave San Onofre I will cry. It’s a SoCal gem!!

  • Ferris Moses

    There’s always 2 sides to every debate – I get that. Facts supporting the road & against it. But, is more construction & destruction of the environment the answer? Just sayin…

  • RP

    Another crap piece of journalism from Surfer Mag. How about some links on how to get involved for the people that are too lazy to search for it themselves.

    Here is a link with some better information:

    One of the ways of saving Trestles is for it to be a National Register of Historic Places. He is some information on that.

    If you want to contact a government agency, contact these guys:
    This is the next line of defense in getting this project rejected.

    And for those of you who are for the 241 Toll Road, you should move.

  • Jimmy the saint

    Surfonomics – what happens when the economic argument doesn’t stack up, and we want to safe a wave!, what about the shit waves, what about all the fat waves!

  • bob

    So basically what they are saying is that this is not a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but their committee overrules any attempt by the people to usurp their own greedy meanderings into mother natures bountiful resource. They should all be fired these sneaky little bastards.

  • elko

    Open up the Lowers lot so we can park closer while you’re at it please.

  • D Morse

    April 25, 2013 1:21 pm

    You’re a dick dude. RP stand for Realbig Poon?

    More articles like this help surfing as a community stay a well informed community. Assholes like RP can ride their SUPs into a storm.

  • scottyoh

    and it has been for years. “Save Terstles”? For what? Sup dorks and surf companies? Wake up!!!! Surf forecasters call swells 10 days in advance. The reality is you show up on a good day and the parking lot is packed by 4:30am. Setwaves go to dorks w/ canoe paddles and the best swells are TAKEN by surf companies takiing adverstisement photos (cloaked in the guise of Surf Contests…). Then you ALL go out and BUY THEIR products and pay for the priveledge of advertisifing for the same companies that kick you out of the place ANYTIME THERE’S OVERHEAD WAVES…All is lost.

    Let it burn…

  • bobo donkey

    whats so great about surf boarding what is a trestles