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Posts from the "OCTA" Category

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Bike Nation Lives…in Fullerton

Bike Nation kiosks are going up in Fullerton. Photo via Bike Nation

Reports of Bike Nation’s demise are at least somewhat premature.

The Bike share company began station installations in Fullerton last Friday and over the weekend.  The newly installed stations are at Fullerton’s City Hall, Transportation Center and the (South of Commonwealth) SOCO Parking Garage.  Additional installations will be completed this week.

This first round of installation is funded by a grant from the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA). The $1.5 million OCTA contract will install a total of 165 bikes and 15 stations at a variety of locations within the City. In addition, Bike Nation committed to co-invest in the program by adding up to 35 stations and 350 bikes to the Fullerton system, resulting in a potential bike share reach for Fullerton of 50 stations and 515 bikes.

As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 135,161. Read more…

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OCTA Metrolink Service Expansion Program Status

Starting in the 1990s OCTA worked on a light rail project that was to be known as CenterLine. Despite valiant advocacy by Orange County rail activists the project was buffeted by parochial NIMBYism resulting in multiple truncations of the proposed route. Finally, in 2005 the agency threw in the towel and cancelled the project. As a substitute to provide air quality improvements that the light rail was supposed to produce (and for which air confirmity was being relied on) OCTA undertook an expansion of intracounty Metrolink service, funded with the monies in Measure M that had been intended for CenterLine.

This was a very ambitious capital project to increase the coast rail corridor’s capacity that also involved the purchase of new railcars. But by the time the work was done conditions had altered as the economic downturn resulted in a 40 percent drop in anticipated sales tax revenue; operating costs has also risen as noted in a staff report on the program presented at the Nov. 26, 2012 OCTA Board meeting.

The OCTA Board in April 2011 approved a scaled down plan for six additional weekday trips between Fullerton and the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo (LN/MV) Metrolink stations. They also introduced the OCLink pass good on Metrolink trains or OCTA buses within Orange County. One clever piece of marketing was scheduling service to serve home games of the Anaheim sports teams — the hockey Ducks and baseball Angels. Then in July 2012 an added peak period Inland Empire-Orange County roundtrip supplied the means to augment the late morning and mid-day intracounty service.

Unfortunately the resulting ridership has been rather dismal — 28 passengers per train! Although trains serving Angels games did significantly better — 246 passengers per train. A survey has found riders desire more frequent service, especially to adjacent Los Angeles and San Diego counties plus better transit connections at Orange County Metrolink stations.

Besides retaining special events service the staff report notes: Read more…

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Orange County Transpo Authority Vies to Be Regional Rail Manager

A Surfliner plies the coast on the LOSSAN corridor. Photo by Nick Chill Photography.

Now that the Governor has signed the bills to allow local stakeholders to take over management of the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin Amtrak intercity rail routes the next steps are the formation of the joint power authority boards and in the case of the Surfliner the selection of a managing agency from among the members of LOSSAN (aka the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor).

Metro has already declared it will be applying to be the managing agency. Now OCTA has an item on its agenda today (#8) from staff seeking from their Board the “Authority to Submit a Proposal to Assume the Role of Managing Agency for the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor.”

In making the case for it to be selected OCTA states:

OCTA could be well positioned to assume the role of the LOSSAN managing agency, given its ownership stake in 42 miles of 351-mile LOSSAN Rail Corridor, between Fullerton and San Clemente, as well as its extensive experience in funding and managing rail capital projects on the LOSSAN Rail Corridor. OCTA had played an integral role in advancing and building consensus around the new LOSSAN governance initiative. In addition, OCTA brings a breadth of management experience in a number of different transportation enterprises, including bus transit, freeway projects, local street and road improvements, motorist services, the 91 Express Lanes toll road, and oversight of Metrolink commuter rail operations in Orange County.

Since 2009, OCTA has filled a similar role as the provider of administrative services to the Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG), which reimburses OCTA for the shared services provided in support of OCCOG. Based on its experience with OCCOG, OCTA staff will work to develop a staffing plan and cost proposal to provide administrative services for LOSSAN, as the LOSSAN managing agency.

Nicely OCTA has an attachment to the staff report with details on LOSSAN’s process for selecting a managing agency including a draft timeline.

Should be interesting whether any other agencies step forward and decide to throw their hat in the ring.

BTW, the only media coverage I have found of this process is a recent brief article on the San Joaquin bill that appeared in The Riverbank News brought to my attention by local rail/transit enthusiast Ken Ruben. Other than that all there has been is the pick-up of my coverage of Metro’s plans to apply to be managing agency by The Source. And rest assured we will continue coverage of this process as it proceeds.

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Transit Coalition Hosts Will Kempton at Tonight’s Meeting

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Tonight at 6:30, the Transit Coalition will host former Caltrans Director and current OCTA CEO Will Kempton at their annual meeting.  The meeting is open to the public and takes place at Phillipe the Original, 1001 Alameda Street, in the Downtown.  If memory serves, there are pretty specific directions about how to find the meeting once you arrive, so if this is your first time, print the directions found here.

Specifically, Kempton is expected to talk about Metrolink expansion, LOSSAN Corridor activities and the Anaheim-LA High Speed Rail project.  He will also answer questions as time permits.  I would imagine that after weeks of talking about OCTA service cuts, Kempton is probably happy to talk about expansion, at least for a couple of hours.

Of course, there will be other issues discussed by the Coaltion such as the proposed Metrolink cuts announced yesterday (much more on that later this morning), and a review of the Gold Line Eastside Extension.