IRVINE – For years, the Jeffrey Road Park and Ride lot off Interstate 5 has been so packed that some drivers who can’t find a space have been illegally parking alongside the islands.
But starting Tuesday, Aug. 22, Caltrans commuters will have three times as many parking spots to choose from. Instead of only being able to turn right and fighting for 225 spaces, they will also be able to turn left to find 450 new ones.
It’s the culmination of a six-month, $1 million project funded by Caltrans, which owns the land that a contractor transformed from a dirt field to an asphalt lot with striping, electrical work and bicycle lockers.
“As the area has just grown in population, and demand for folks to be able to use park and ride options has grown so dramatically, there was definitely a need to expand the amount of parking available there,” Lindsey Hart, a spokesman for Caltrans District 12, which encompasses Orange County, said on Monday.
The expansion of the Jeffrey Road lot, at 5595 1/2 Walnut Ave. near Jeffrey Road, is the first park and ride development Caltrans has undertaken in about 15 years, Hart said. With 675 spaces, it is the second largest park and ride lot in the county, after a 791-space lot near the intersection of I-5 and the 91 freeway in Fullerton.
Drivers can park at the Jeffrey Road lot for free for up to 72 hours. It is particularly popular among people who commute to Los Angeles through carpools and vanpools, Hart said.
“Instead of staring at brake lights, they can be reading or doing email or binging on Netflix,” she said. “Either way, it’s a much better use of their time.”
The Jeffrey Road lot is in close proximity to a bus stop…