Irvine Boulevard: A Bit Of Chaos


Aria Raidi

Irvine Boulevard has been under construction for several months.

Joyee Chen, Contributing Writer

Since October 2016, all travelers to campus have had to pass through traffic jams on Irvine Blvd. Students and staff have expressed some stress from these lane widenings, designed for a growing population.

“It’s one of these things I term it as a growing pain…once you’re through it, I’m assuming it’s doing what it’s meant to do,” principal John Pehrson said.

The work is slated for 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Sunday and estimated for completion by April 2017, according to a City of Irvine road issues website. Additionally, traffic control is to be maintained until April with an “alternate route suggested.”

According to Pehrson, the alternate route depends on the exact neighborhood, but “[he knows] some people use Portola, and other people more southwest are using Alton.” However, many students and staff feel that the stretch close to campus is still congested.

Annie Qiao, a student and frequent bus user, claims the construction adds five minutes to an already 15-minute commute, but that the construction is a necessary evil. She said she thinks there is no effect on tardiness.

“Those people take the bus, and they always leave really early, so there’s plenty of time, well the Stonegate buses are,” Qiao said.

A 2013 presentation by IUSD on future high school sites predicted that Irvine Blvd. will receive 44,000 vehicles on its densest section. This is similar to traffic volumes near Irvine and Woodbridge high schools and outpaces the 10,000 cars near Northwood High School.

Pehrson commented that Irvine Blvd. was a “commuter boulevard” and “the main drag” from north to south.

Science teacher and athletics director Katherine Levensailor expressed harsher thoughts on the project, but conceded that it is necessary.

“I’m a little disappointed that it’s going to take so long to finish, but I understand that the community is growing, and it’s good for Portola, and I’ll deal with it for a few months in order to have, long term, a better situation,” Levensailor said. “I don’t love sitting in traffic, but I understand.”