Freeway traffic hassles students

Tully McKinley and Jessica Taylor

Saddleback College students are witnessing overcrowded freeways all over Orange County.

Non-stop traffic occurs daily, beginning as early as 6 a.m.”I don’t even take the [Interstate] 5 to school anymore,” said Daniel Gray, 20, graphic design major. “It’s faster to take side streets to school, even thought the route I take is almost 3 miles longer than the freeway.”

Gray isn’t the only person affected by the traffic. Professors on campus are forced to deal with numerous tardy students due to heavy traffic on the freeways, not to mention the parking and traffic situation in and around Saddleback.

Another way to avoid the vehicle build up is by utilizing the resources available on the internet. A quick search on any of several California traffic reporting websites will let you know the present conditions on the road.

“I use the CalTRANS website,” said Andrew Olson, 20, english. “That doesn’t necessarily mean it is beneficial or up to date.”The California Highway Patrol’s website houses an up-to-date list of all recent major and minor traffic accidents, as does the official Sig Alert website. Yahoo! Maps or Mapquest will also help students to get alternate directions to and from school while avoiding the traffic.

Bryan Donsbach, 20, computer science, still takes the freeway to school, but has found his own method of dealing with the traffic situation.

“I take afternoon classes so I come before the traffic gets too bad,” Donsbach said. “By the time classes get out, traffic’s cleared up enough that it doesn’t take too long to get home.”The biggest problem with freeway traffic is that there is no real solution to the problem.

According to the U.S. census bureau, the California state population has increased 7.6 percent since 2000. In real numbers, that is about 2.6 million more people in our already heavily populated state.

Orange County alone has more than 3 million residents as of 2006. Of those 3 million people, an estimated 2.25 million are old enough to drive.

“There’s too many people here,” Olson said. “It’s not like there’s anything we can do about it, it’s not like the people all choose to go out driving at the same time. It’s understandable, because this really is just a nice place to live.”

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