Menifee Mom: All Local Motorists Feel the Same Frustration

By Karen Thomas

In the eight years I've lived here, I've seen a lot of changes come to our city. Most of them have been welcome. Being able to shop local and avoid the drive to Temecula is definitely nice. Seeing some beauty added to our landscape is also a plus. What isn't nice, though, is the traffic that comes with growth. At the moment, a drive south on the 215 to shop can actually be easier!

It is amazing the sense of dread I feel when I find out that one of my kids has soccer practice "on the other side of the freeway." Though it might only be a couple miles away, the trip can take 15-20 minutes or more. My kids aren't the only impatient ones when we go from thinking we'll be early to being late!

For all those who cross the freeway in the afternoon, you know what I mean. I'm sure I'm not the only one to second guess that trip to Target or some other destination because of the traffic.

Thankfully, our city has projects underway to improve the situation. Up until last week, it has been mostly painless. Sure, things are torn up and definitely inconvenient for those who live nearby or rely on sidewalks on that street, but generally it hasn't been too bad.

This week, though, when traffic went down to one lane on Newport Road, it got really crazy! I am sure that when the overpass work begins, we'll all be grumbling even louder.

When I get really irritated, I try to remember how much better it will be when it is all done. Remember the 45-minute drive we used to have coming home from Temecula?

I have horrible memories of hungry crying kids in the back of my car when we used to drive home from gymnastics in Temecula. No matter how hard I tried, our classes always got out during rush hour. That drive was one reason I did not argue when my kids decided they were done with gymnastics.

However, now that the freeway has expanded to three lanes, it is back to taking 15 minutes or less. I remember the first time I drove on the expanded freeway during the afternoon. The first thing I said when I walked through my front door was, "I didn't have to hit the brakes or stop even once while on the freeway!" It was amazing!

Because the major overpass projects aren't expected to be done until 2016 and 2017, it looks like we'll be clinging to memories like this for a while.

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every Thursday. Comments are welcome.


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