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Dear Matt:

As I sit here in my car creeping out of Ocean Beach and making my way across the bridge, past Sea World, toward the I-5 on-ramp, I have 15 or 20 minutes to ask myself the same question I contemplate every day at 7:45 a.m. Why did the designers of arguably the greatest freeway system in the known world decide not to build a connector between I-8 east and I-5 north, and between 5 south and 8 west? Was this a grievous oversight or some carefully crafted plot to forsake the denizens of Ocean Beach? Or, as I prefer to look at it as I slug through bumper-to-bumper traffic, spilling hot coffee on my crotch, are they just trying to piss me off?

-- JPH, O.B.

My guess? The freeway was built in the late 60s, so Caltrans figured nobody in OB's purple haze would notice. Besides, in those days, OBcians never went anywhere but the beach, the Black, and People's Food, and all those were walkable. But you want the real answer? As you lurch across the river, burning through one more clutch, roll down your window and shake your fist at Sea World. According to Caltrans, when I-5 was designed, the City of San Diego yearned for a Sea World exit, an easy route to scoop in the tourists. Given the legal and engineering particulars of road building at the time, the city had to choose between the freeway connectors you crave and that profitable chute to Shamu; they couldn't have both. Now, if you were a city, which would you pick? Would you speed tourists to watch captive marine mammals that pay big bucks in rent, or to OB to watch stoned hippies selling carrot juice out of their vans? Besides, who could have imagined that 30 years later, everyone in OB would suddenly get a job? No going back to fix things now, I'm afraid.

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