Today’s Headlines

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  • james

    It looks like the Santa Ana streetcar will be a Portland style design that will be more streetcar stuck in traffic than light rail or European tram and where this isn’t the case, its route would use the old Pacific electric ROW that could be used for the Metro’s Santa Ana light rail line. This would mean that someone travelling between LA and downtown Santa Ana or the Metrolink station would have to transfer from Metro light rail to a slow moving streetcar to get to their destination.

    I wonder if fear of transit riding poor people from LA isn’t part of the motivation for this line, to keep undesirables out, or at least force them to make a transfer. If both this streetcar and the Metro light rail line get built the connection will probably be a fuck you to pedestrians and as inconvenient as possible. I do recall reading that OC or Santa Ana officials wanted heavy commuter rail on the Santa Ana line instead of light rail, presumably to force a transfer to the gutter bound slow moving Portland style streetcar before entering downtown Santa Ana.

    That said, the primary motivation for thie project is probably the widespread and deeply flawed notion that downtown Portland and the Pearl District owe everything to the streetcar line, that arrived decades after things started changed for the better, yet gets all the credit. Of course, the possibility of publicly funder real estate appreciation is also a good motivation. It’s the only thins that will turn Republicans into transit supporters. It will probably feature those horribly noisy, screechy 3 seat wide Skoda based streetcars, originally designed for much narrower prague streets.

    It’s been awhile since anyone reported on this “west santa ana branch line” or whatever it is called but I do recall reading that Santa Ana or OCTA wanted to extend a freeway offramp near downtown Santa Ana that would prevent a Metro light rail line from reaching the train station. There was also a politically influential developer who wanted to build a golf course on part of the Pacific Electric ROW that would prevent the line from making it all the way to downtown Santa Ana. It would seem that a sensible single light rail design is doomed for a number of reasons. Why have one light rail line that will get you from downtown Santa Ana to downtown LA when you can have more freeway, a developer’s fantasy recreational streetcar, a golf course and something else from Metro we haven’t really thought about.

  • Chris Wienberg

    Metro rolled out the new TAP card website yesterday. It’s a little slow and buggy, but seems easier to navigate. I’m still waiting for them to implement one feature: autoload for stored value. I would love it if my credit card was automatically charged $20 once I fell below a certain balance.