Traversing any freeway in Southern California takes planning and patience. Leaving early to be somewhere at a certain time is a must and being patient while you sit in traffic is another must.

Though not as bad as Los Angeles, traffic in the Antelope Valley can also test one’s patience, especially when traversing the surface streets to get from Point A to Point B. It’s no easy task and if you expect to get somewhere quickly — especially around the Rancho Vista Boulevard area, think again.

But relief could be in sight if Connect SoCal is successful. It’s a regional draft plan that was released this month by the Southern California Association of Governments and is part of the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.

“SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 19 million residents,” according to a report in the Monday edition of the Antelope Valley Press.

The plan focuses on “transportation and how it related to land use, with a goal of reaching state greenhouse gas targets as a region,” according to the report. Of equal importance, is the focus being placed on rethinking transportation, housing, economic development and the like, while still adhering to the local general plans.

“For example, the plan looks at ways to clustering development around transportation, helping to make the need for individual drives shorter and less frequent and taking advantage of other means of transportation,” the report said.

The population forecast that was used to develop the draft’s plan shows Palmdale’s number of residents increasing from approximately 158,000 in 2016 to 207,000 over the next 25 years. It also shows the region growing from 18 to 22 million residents.

A key factor for Palmdale, is looking at how cities and counties are working on increasing the availability of jobs locally, to reduce the number of commuters and the need for long-distance transportation.

The draft plan also includes an extensive list of transportation projects to help the goals be reached. That lists includes about 24 for Palmdale and the rest of the Antelope Valley Freeway between Rancho Vista Boulevard and Palmdale Boulevard. In fact, some of those improvements are already underway, with improvements being done on the off-ramps between these two points.

Another key project for Palmdale is the High Desert Corridor, a transportation route that would link the Antelope Valley with Victor Valley, creating another East-West corridor to move people and goods.

“The corridor plan, which has evolved over many years, has included a highway, high-speed rail, bikeway and green energy components,” the report said.

If it all comes together the way everyone is hoping, this is great news for residents of the Antelope Valley. Creating jobs in the Valley so folks don’t have to commute “down below,” would be fantastic, but just being able to avoid traffic back-up and collisions that result from that, would be even better.

We are already seeing some improvements between Palmdale Boulevard and Rancho Vista Boulevard and look forward to more improvements being done to our freeways in the near future.

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