In the Pipeline: 405 impacts another set of wheels [updated]

September 04, 2012|By Chris Epting

Costa Mesa Mayor Eric Bever wrote a strong editorial in the Daily Pilot last week calling out the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for its "audacious scheme" that would "use billions of Measure M2 freeway congestion-improvement tax dollars to construct toll lanes on the San Diego (405) Freeway between Seal Beach and Costa Mesa."

Bever concluded with, "OCTA's 405 Alternative 3 and 3-A toll road schemes are highway robbery with the taxpayers as victims, and it's time to put the notion of charging tolls on our FREEways to rest. Speak up now for Alternative 2, or forever pay the price."

(Alternative 2 is an expansion plan with no extra tolls.)

I'd like to add another comment not covered in the editorial. All of OCTA's original proposals for the expansion called for them to employ their powers of "eminent domain," that eerily benign-sounding phrase with the harsh definition "government seizure of property without the owner's consent — but with monetary compensation."


To make room for the expansion, OCTA would have had to seize and decimate four businesses near Magnolia Street and the 405; a miniature golf center, a hotel, a sporting goods store and the place that has triggered a heartfelt avalanche of local support: the Fountain Valley Skating Center.

A previous version of this column claimed that the Orange County Transportation Authority is considering a plan that would potentially cause the decimation of the Fountain Valley Skating Center. OCTA amended that proposal in August.

I heard from both friends and strangers this week, all intensely riled at the prospect of the roller-skating facility being destroyed by the OCTA toll lane scheme. A grass-roots effort sprung up on Facebook, where locals began posting not just their frustrations, but their memories, too, bundles of memories that are still being made every day. I was aware of the rink. But not as aware of the role it plays here.

Birthday parties, first dates, class trips, reunions, nights out with friends — this center is an emotional touchstone. And more.

Through the roller disco era of the late 1970s to the present, the rink has also been an invaluable place for fundraising, generating tens of thousands of dollars each year for many local schools.

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