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The Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved a balanced budget of more than $1.3 billion for the upcoming fiscal year during its Monday meeting.
Major initiatives for the budget include continuing Measure M improvements, including advancing the I-405 project, moving forward with the OC Streetcar, launching the OC Flex on-demand shuttle pilot, and enhancing bus service through the OC Bus 360° program.
OCTA in cooperation with The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is widening the San Diego Freeway (I-405) between State Route 73 (SR-73) and Interstate 605 (I-605).The project will improve 16 miles of I-405 between the SR-73 freeway in Costa Mesa and I-605 near the L.A. County line. The project includes adding one regular lane in each direction between Euclid Street and I-605 and making improvements to freeway entrances, exits and bridges. In addition, the project will add the 405 Express Lanes, incorporating the existing carpool lanes and a new lane in each direction between SR-73 and I-605. The 405 Express Lanes will give solo drivers the choice to speed up their commute for a toll and give options for carpoolers to use the lanes for free. When the express lanes open, two-person carpools will pay a toll only during peak hours and carpools of three or more will be free at all times.
The general purpose lane portion of the project is an OCGO, formally Measure M (Orange County's half-cent transportation sales tax), project and will be funded by a combination of local, state and federal funds, with the express lanes portion of the project financed and primarily paid for by those who choose to pay a toll and use the 405 Express Lanes.
Because of the high demand for the I-405 and the need to stay within the existing right of way, the project cannot provide enough additional lanes to eliminate congestion. The 405 Express Lanes, however, will provide a fast, stress-free travel option. Because the amount of traffic in the 405 Express lanes will be optimized by raising and lowering tolls in response to traffic demand, the 405 Express Lanes will be more predictable and move more vehicles per lane during peak periods than the regular, general purpose lanes. Solo drivers in the 405 Express Lanes will pay the full toll and carpools are anticipated to be offered discounts or free travel. The toll policy has not been finalized yet but it will be designed to provide customers with a safe, reliable, congestion-free commute. The 405 Express lanes will offer people a choice to travel faster when they absolutely need to.
In 2040, it's expected to take 29 minutes to travel during rush hour from SR-73 to I-605 in the general purpose lanes after improvements to the I-405 are complete. That commute can be reduced to 13 minutes if a driver chooses to take the 405 Express Lanes.
The new parking structure will blend into the historic architectural design of the area and incorporate modern features like solar panels and electric car charging ports to contribute to the building’s energy efficiency. Some key design elements include:
611 New Parking Spaces
This 5-story structure will have 2 subterranean levels and a total of 611 parking spaces. The increase of parking spaces will improve accessibility for Metrolink riders and motorists visiting Old Towne Orange.
Electric Car Charging Ports
Several dedicated parking spaces will feature electric car charging ports, allowing for eco-friendly vehicles to plug in and recharge.
The building and plaza areas will reflect the historic character and scale of Old Towne Orange to blend into the architectural design of the historic district. The design was developed with extensive input from the community.
Solar panels will be placed on the facility’s roof, thereby providing reduced energy costs for lighting, mechanical and ventilation systems.
Bike Racks and Lockers
This newly added feature will encourage active transportation by providing commuters peace of mind knowing there is a secure place to store their bicycles.
Environmental: December 2009 – May 2016
Design: November 2010 – April 2016
Construction: July 2017 – Early 2019
To complement Orange County’s Metrolink service, passengers need a way to get to their final destination after getting off a train. Through Transit Extensions to Metrolink, a Measure M program (now called OC Go) intended to broaden the reach of Orange County’s backbone rail system to key employment, population, and activity centers, the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove developed a fixed guideway project that would address this need.
After evaluating many alternatives and extensive outreach, a streetcar was chosen as the preferred alternative. Expected to begin operations in 2021, the OC Streetcar will link the bustling Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (SARTC), which provides regional rail, OCTA bus, and intercity and international bus services, to a new multimodal hub at Harbor Boulevard/Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove. Along the way, OC Streetcar will connect directly with 18 OCTA bus routes. OC Streetcar will serve the historic downtown Santa Ana and Civic Center which includes government offices, federal, state and local courthouses, unique restaurants and shops, an artists’ village, several schools and a variety of community enrichment organizations.
OC Streetcar will increase transportation options and provide greater access along its 4.15-mile route (in each direction) along Santa Ana Boulevard, 4th Street, and the Pacific Electric right-of-way to Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove.
Orange County’s population is expected to increase 13 percent by 2035, and that means more drivers on our roadways. To ease growing traffic demands, OCTA, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the County of Orange and all 34 cities are working together to coordinate traffic lights across the county.
Traffic signal synchronization allows a series of lights to turn green in advance of arriving traffic based on synchronized timers set to current traffic conditions and congestion levels.
OCTA improves traffic flow by coordinating traffic lights across city boundaries. Most signal timing projects result in a 5 to 15 percent improvement in travel time and speed, reducing travel times, stops and delays.