Transportation news in Orange County used to revolve mostly around what kind of car you were going to buy, and what could be done about the nightmare at The Orange Crush (now only slightly less crushy).
In a Facebook post a few days ago, Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones took the unofficial wraps off an intriguing idea for the long-abandoned Pacific Electric right-of-way, which runs diagonally like a scar through Orange County from Buena Park to Santa Ana.
Responding to a question about more bike paths and parks, he wrote this:
“It’s already in the works … We are planning to build out the old Pacific Electric right-of-way into a bicycle and pedestrian path with kiosk restaurants and retail along the way. We are also implementing our ‘Pedals and Feet’ master plan to better connect the city with active transportation routes.”
How cool is that? You can burn off the calories from the burger or taco you ate along the way by pedaling home.
The bike and pedestrian paths we’ve heard about, but the restaurants and retail are new to us. The city has received grants to take the section that runs from the downtown area northwest to Brookhurst Street and turn it into something lovely for cyclists and walkers. That’s only a portion of the total route, but if the mayor’s concept comes to fruition it would add a lot of parkland to the city and subtract a lot of wasted space.
A new West Side Story?
Folks in the West Grove area (that’s West Garden Grove) have been concerned for a while about what they feel is a drain of retail and eating opportunities in their area, which is primarily along Valley View Street.
There may be some good or at least interesting news coming. The Urban Land Institute held a workshop in July on what they’re calling the Valley View Corridor and we are told that the report – with recommendations, we presume – should be out in mid-October.
The Tribune, of course, will be reporting on that, and the full report will be posted online when it becomes available.
An historic note: a similar report on the Harbor Boulevard corridor a decade or more ago helped kick-start the development there which is still ongoing with four more hotels approved and on the drawing boards.
“Our” OC Streetcar could be just the start …
If you’re into trying to gaze into a crystal ball to see what the future holds – as we do – one interesting place to gaze is into the Long Range Transportation Plan put forth by the Orange County Transportation Authority.
Even allowing for the reality that a lot of what’s suggested is “blue sky” thinking that may never come to pass, it’s still thought-provoking to see what might be coming our way.
Some of the notions presented in the executive summary of the report include:
- adding a car pool lane along portions of Pacific Coast Highway.
- adding a regular lane along the Newport (55) Freeway between the Garden Grove (22) Freeway and the Santa Ana (5) Freeway.
- adding “high quality transit” along the Harbor Boulevard Corridor between Cal State Fullerton and downtown Santa Ana.
- adding “high-quality transit” between the Goldenwest Transportation Center (near Golden West College and the Bella Terra shopping center) and UC Irvine.
- adding “high-quality transit” along the Beach Corridor between the downtowns of Fullerton and Huntington Beach.
- adding “high-quality transit” along the “Main Corridor” between the Anaheim ARTIC transportation center and South Coast Plaza.
Now, there are no specifics about what “high-quality transit” would mean, but we doubt it refers to a few more buses. Putting all that together suggests to us that the OCTA might like to consider a county-wide streetcar or similar system if the OC Streetcar project connecting Santa Ana and Garden Grove (almost ready to start construction) is successful.
The summary is available on line at www.octa.net.
Usually Reliable Sources is posted on alternate Wednesdays.
Why not bring light rail back to the P&E line from Santa Ana through GG and beyond to LA?
That’s actually possible. LA is planning on building its light rail line all the way to Norwalk, where it could – in theory – connect to an OCTA line going north along the old P.E. right-of-way from Orange County. It would have to wait until people and politicians could assess the success (or not) of the OC Streetcar soon to begin construction.