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Seeks funds for San Clemente summer trolley

• Last year, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point launched free summer trolleys funded by OCTA grants.

• Dana Point's trolley connects with Laguna Beach's longstanding free trolley.

• San Juan Capistrano is seeking an OCTA grant for a new route this summer that would connect to Dana Point's trolley and, thereby, to Laguna's.

• San Clemente council members, who agreed Tuesday to seek OCTA funds for a core trolley route in San Clemente, did not give any indication if or when they might support extending it north to connect with Dana Point's.

• Such a connection would bring visitors into San Clemente and let San Clemente residents ride free to Dana Point, San Juan and Laguna Beach.

City Councilwoman Lori Donchak, who serves on the OCTA board, said 18 cities are competing for trolley grants as OCTA is rearranging bus routes to boost ridership and is planning service cuts in some low-ridership areas. A proposal to eliminate resident-serving San Clemente Routes 191 and 193 will be up for an OCTA board vote Monday at 9 a.m. at OCTA headquarters in Orange.

Brenda Miller, a San Clemente mobility advocate, told the council it doesn’t matter what mix of riders boards the trolleys. “This kind of trolley, I think, benefits residents even if residents don’t use it,” Miller said. She said the last thing residents want is for all the people using San Clemente’s outlet mall to get in their cars and drive to North Beach, downtown or the pier.

“They’re going to want to come to the ocean,” Miller said. “With a trolley like this, they don’t have to get in their car, clog up our parking lots, clog up our roadways, and the people who arrive by Metrolink have an opportunity to take a trolley and see the rest of San Clemente instead of being trapped there at the pier or in North Beach.”

Hamm said the Outlets, which opened in November, is “taking a dive,” not meeting projections, and the trolley should serve residents, not focus on business destinations. He suggested a route inland to Talega and Forster Ranch. City Councilwoman Kathy Ward wanted a route to the south end of town via El Camino Real so residents there can access the trolley.

Train Service Stopped, Pedestrian Beach Access Limited This Weekend

Train Service Stopped, Pedestrian Beach Access Limited This Weekend
Find out where walking to the beach may be difficult.

Getting across the tracks to the beaches in San Clemente may be harder this weekend. Patch file photo.
Getting across the tracks to the beaches in San Clemente may be harder this weekend. Patch file photo.
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Train service is cancelled this weekend in San Clemente and beach trail access will be limited so that workers can continue to make safety enhancements at the pedestrian railroad crossings along the Coastal Trail.

To meet state and federal safety standards and ensure residents and visitors are safe while crossing the railroad tracks , the city is teaming up with the Orange County Transportation Authority to improve the crossings to include wider paved areas, new fencing, additional crossing gate arms, improved signs and installation of electrical conduit, according to a city press release.

Again this weekend, because of the construction, there will be limited trail access and no train service in San Clemente.

Specific locations for construction work this Saturday are as follows:

El Portal – civil work (concrete, etc.) – crossing will be closed as needed
T Street – civil work (concrete, etc.) – crossing will be closed as needed
Corto – full track work – crossing will be closed 1 a.m. Saturday morning to 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The Linda Lane tunnel will be used as a detour and there will be detour signs for both directions along the trail.
Calafia – full track work – crossing will be closed 1 a.m. Saturday morning to 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The Montalvo undercrossing will be used as a detour and there will be detour signs for both directions along the trail.
Work will occur during the daytime and at night during the week at various locations over varying time frames from now until Dec. 31, 2013 with no full closures of the crossings unless coordinated prior to start dates, according to the release.