An Open Letter to State of California Caltrans and CHP

My name is John Sears. Myself and Little Girl the Mule were stopped while walking on I-5 by CHP and told to go back to Harbor Boulevard in Oceanside and leave I-5. We said there is no alternative route from Oceanside to the Old Pacific Coast Highway Trail that starts at I-5/Las Pulgas Road. Camp Pendleton is closed to pedestrians so I-5 by default is the only available route. CHP officer arrested me and impounded Little Girl.

We were told by CHP as well as Caltrans that California Vehicle Code 21960(a) does not allow pedestrians on this part of I-5. The Mules have responded that 21960(a) can only be enforced when an alternate route, such as a frontage road, is present. For the CHP/Caltrans to use 21960(a) to justify the removal and arrest of the Mules from I-5 was illegal and unconstitutional.

While we were being arrested, bicyclists were riding by us on I-5. Caltrans told us that bicyclists are not allowed to ride on the shoulder of I-5 either. Yet the CHP did not stop and arrests the cyclists.

Per California Vehicle Code 21949(a) effective January 1, 2001, it is the policy of the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller, be provided to the residents of the state, and all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways. On the day we were arrested on I-5, CHP failed its responsibility under state law and its stated mission to serve and provide safe and convenient passage.

Since our arrest, we reached out by phone and email to Caltrans, CHP and Camp Pendleton to request an escort or be provided a safe and convenient alternate route. We had numerous conversations and those that we spoke to repeated the same message that pedestrians are not allowed on I-5 or in Camp Pendleton. They did not provide any alternative solution to travel north from Oceanside to San Clemente.

The above being said and understood, the Mules are notifying CHP and Caltrans that upon request, a motorized CHP or Caltrans escort must be made available for the Mules and any horsemen/horsewomen needing to traverse I-5 between Las Pulgas Road and Harbor Boulevard. Because there is no alternative street or highway between Oceanside and Las Pulgas Road, I-5 access defaults to that of a street and highway for pedestrians and equestrians. This will be a temporary solution until a more obvious permanent solution of a parallel path where pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists can move safely along I-5 in this section where there is no alternative route.

For Caltrans and CHP representing the State of California to fail to provide the necessary escort or to provide an alternate safer and convenient route will be considered to be gross negligence and an abrogation of their stated mission and responsibility serving the people of California. This failure will initiate a class action lawsuit.

The Mules will be expecting a response to the issues of the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM addressed in this letter.

The Mules

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.