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The Cross Valley Connector has been open almost a decade now. Politicians like to thump their chests and bark about how they’re for roads to ease the ever-growing congestion. I remember years ago a New Jersey think tank put out an unusual study noting that every time someone built a new road, it only made over-population and congestion worse. The simple thing is, if you build a road, it makes it easier for even more people to fill the vacuum.

A while back, Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich), who served on the powerful House Transportation Committee, came up with the idea of putting a turnstile on many of the nation’s highways and by-ways. Joe thought it would be a most snappy way to pay for the largesse of government. Joe got booted in the next election.

Still. As we careen toward becoming a semi-socialist nation, it’s not a bad way to swing money from the pockets of the citizens to the retirement funds of government workers. As far as Santa Clarita goes, it wouldn’t be the first time we had a toll road.

The controversial General Edward Fitzgerald Beale’s nomination for United States Surveyor General was blocked by one Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe quipped that he didn’t want Eddie in the post because “…he (Beale) tends to become master of all he surveys.” Which is another interesting story. As far as roads, Beale made a nice bit of change for really not doing anything except for being the head suit on the widening of what would become Beale’s Cut in 1863.

You can still see this partially hidden state landmark at the south/eastern end of Sierra Highway, about 50 yards or so past the summit on the San Fernando Valley side.

Besides getting a nice piece of change (a $5,000 stipend for him with a $1,000 budget to build the road; Beale used Army troops so he didn’t have to pay them). After that, Beale turned the main L.A.-side entrance to our valley into a toll road. For 21 years, Eddie got a piece of just about anything domesticated (or not) going through the gate. Here’s a copy of the toll gate charges from nearly 150 years ago:

horse and rider: a quarter

horse and wagon: 50 cents

stage coaches: $1.50

larger wagons: $2.

larger animals per head: a dime

sheep: 3 cents each.

Wouldn’t that be something if we brought toll roads back to the formerly riparian SCV? Cue the cheesy 1950’s TV sitcom flashback music and add a puff of smoke as we dissolve into the 21st century road usage charts:

USING INTERSTATE 5, SOUTHBOUND AT VALENCIA BLVD. — 3 bucks.

USING STATE ROUTE 126, EASTBOUND, FROM THE LITTLE FRUIT STAND ON THE RIGHT — $2.74 between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., less other times.

USING VIA JENNYTALIA — where it gets intersected by the swarthy McBean, 75 cents.

RAILROAD AVENUE, FROM LYONS TO 5th STREET, BOTH WAYS — 20 pesos.

MARKET STREET — $1, but only for those motorists using the road to go uphill, from either direction.

TOWNE CENTER DRIVE — Free. (They could use the business traffic and besides; that’s where Newhall Land’s Marlee Lauffer drives to pick up her dry cleaning.) (Thought we forgot about you, Marlee. We haven’t.)

BOUQUET/SOLEDAD/VALENCIA JUNCTION — $2 for motorists in the 3rd and 5th right-hand lanes going southbound on Bouquet and an additional $6 a few hundred yards when Bouquet turns into San Fernando Road. $4.29 for motorists driving east on Soledad with an additional $3 if they are caught gawking at the porn shop in Honby. $5 for motorists traveling east but free passage if said motorists stop off at McDonald’s first to get tollkeeper a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, large fries and Coke.

SOLEMINT JUNCTION, ALL DIRECTIONS — There are no tolls planned for this section of Canyon Country, but vehicles will be inspected for illegal drugs and foster children smuggling in the trunks of all cars older than 1986.

HIGHWAY 14 TO PALMDALE — No fee imposed, but motorists must stop at toll booth and fill in brief questionnaire, and the 2,700-page U.S. Census forms, complete with three essay questions, as to just why in the heck anyone in their right mind would want to drive up to Palmdale anyway.

THE CROSS VALLEY CONNECTOR — Free if you work for a government agency; $79.95 if you’re in the private sector.

THE SCENIC OLD RIDGE ROUTE — $175.49 (It’s always more expensive on the road less traveled.)

 

 (SCV author John Boston also writes The Time Ranger & SCV History for your SCV Beacon. He’s has earned more than 100 major awards for writing, including being named, several times,