Anaheim Council Asks OCTA to Keep Streetcar Option Open

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Anaheim City Council members are asking the Orange County Transportation Authority to keep the city’s proposed streetcar as a priority despite a lack of local, state or federal funding for the project.

In a typical vote when it comes to the streetcar issue, the three-member council majority voted Tuesday in favor of officially requesting that the Transportation Authority (OCTA) look at options to connect a proposed route in Anaheim to Santa Ana’s OC Streetcar project, while Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman James Vanderbilt voted no.

The measure also asks OCTA to examine ways to connect the Anaheim Regional Intermodal Transportation Center (ARCTIC) to the city’s Harbor Boulevard corridor.

It is yet another example of the council majority continuing to push a streetcar project that has little support beyond Disney and the resort district business community. There is widespread skepticism that the proposed 3.2-mile route would ever generate enough ridership to cover its $300-million price tag.

OCTA voted earlier this year to table the proposal indefinitely, citing a lack of funding and the need to support projects that provide regional connectivity, rather than those that service one city.

Councilwoman Kris Murray, the council’s most steadfast supporter of the project, said during Tuesday’s meeting that given the progress of the OC Streetcar route connecting Santa Ana and Garden Grove, Anaheim officials should push the agency to incorporate the city’s needs into its study.

“As the city turns over the planning of the future streetcar program that is already planned in Santa Ana and Garden Grove….I think it’s important for us to  communicate our desires,” said Murray.

Tait, meanwhile, reiterated his long-standing belief that the streetcar would draw few new riders and duplicate the work of the existing bus system.

“I believe the streetcar is a  terrible waste of money…I believe the council should send a clear message that we cancelled the streetcar once and for all,” Tait said.

Contact Thy Vo at or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo. 

  • Cynthia Ward

    “It is yet another example of the council majority continuing to push a streetcar project that has little support beyond Disney and the resort district business community.”

    Actually, it is yet another example of the council majority continuing to push a streetcar project that has little BENEFIT FOR ANYONE beyond Disney and the resort district business community. So let THEM pay for it. As a District 5 candidate was reminded during a recent GOP endorsement meeting, even Federal transportation taxes come from the pockets of TAXPAYERS. In this case they come from gas taxes, which are regressive and hit the working poor at a higher rate than the wealthy as they drive older, less fuel efficient vehicles, and drive for longer commutes to their outlying homes where they can afford to live. So we literally take money from the poor to pay for projects to benefit the rich. We could call it a Robin Hood trolley and run it backwards.

    There is no justification for the project. There are no riders from ARTIC to the Resort. The ATN ART busses recent study (done with help from ATN consultants Pringle and Associates) can tell you that. And yet, the ATN ART busses get free bus bays for their use to not pick up non existent riders. Although truth be told it is not like we are using the bus bays for anything else. And the contract for the ATN offices at ARTIC has blank spaces where amounts for rent should be. So add that potential loss to the free parking and few tenants. Any attempt to dump this albatross onto the General Fund MUST be met with pitchforks and torches.

    So we have a train station without riders, to accommodate a “need” for a streetcar nobody will ride from ARTIC. And while some of our wide-eyed dreamer-leaders like to believe that someday the High Speed Rail will come (sung to the tune of Someday My Prince Will Come, come on, let’s hear it) the HSR is getting no more Fed funding, and the minute they try to touch the State bond funds tied to the Prop1A promises now violated, a Judge stands ready to rap them on the Sacramento-based knuckles. So THAT is not going to drive ridership. Oh and now the HSR is a “blended system” from Union Station to Anaheim. Means you get off the bullet train for Metrolink for that last leg. Not a motive for increased ridership.

    But most glaringly, is that we KNOW Disney knows where their patron trips originate, because they have smiling cast members collecting that info every time we enter the gates. And NOT ONE shred of study has shown that Resort trips originate along the LOSSAN corridor to indicate those patrons might be convinced to use Metrolink or HSR to come to Anaheim. And if we are not using rail lines as the access point, then we just lost the ability to use Measure M2 funds, which have been the basis for this study. Because the premise of this little hoax on the taxpayer was a “last mile” connection for rail riders to their end points. So just stop it. Seriously, Kris. just stop. We are spending Measure M2 funds that don’t apply, to design something that will be funded (at least in part) by Federal transportation funds that pick the pockets of the working poor at the gas pump. And who will end up funding the rest of the system? Oh you KNOW the tourism industry is not going to pay their own way. They may find a way to disguise the mess like the Convention Center bonds, to pretend the payment is something other than what it is and thus can come from the General Fund, but the tourism industry has been shoving their snouts into the civic trough since the 1990s and isn’t going to stop while they have a majority on Council.

    The Resort businesses are simply transferring to taxpayers the cost of shuttle service THEY are required to provide under the Specific Plan. We get it. Anaheim is poor, we are not stupid. Pay your own bills, boys. I have some sidewalks being fixed with freaking BLACKTOP in my neighborhood, the asphalt is then painted light grey to “blend” with the surrounding cement. So let’s all stop pretending this is a well-run, world class city with money to spare for extras like underwriting the Olympic Volleyball team so Kris Murray can get her picture taken with them for the campaign mailer for her County Supe run.

    Just. Stop.

  • astar2b

    Kris Murray will make a great Mayor next election…!

  • RyanCantor

    Can we please just give Kris Murray a toilet?

    I mean geez, stuffing $100 bills down the sewer would be cheaper than letting this person vote. At least if she were flushing tax dollars, she’d have to wait for the tank to fill up.

    Anaheim would probably get more in return, too.

  • John Claxton

    The want to keep it moving forward so theirs friends, campaign donors and special interests can continue to bill vasts amount of $$$ for doing absolutely nothing! Pringle still needs to get paid!

    • David Zenger

      Yes, the creature needs his regular infusion of klepto-cash.

  • BeeBee.BeeLeaves

    Instead of an expensive, rider insecure trolley folly, why not be truly innovative and remove the ability for cars to use the slow lane on Katella from Stadium to Resort?

    This means only Slo-Mo-Transpo on those slow lanes. Cars off limits! Only bikes, trikes, Gem vehicles, golf carts that are creatively customized with Disney and Angels look, bike taxis, a rental fleet of Babboe cargo bikes … it can go on. Simple. No cars on the Katella slow lane between Disneyland and Angel land.

    This will allow tourists and locals to really enjoy Katella and its developing businesses instead of aimlessly, haphazardly whizzing past everything. It will be healthy vacation or convention relief excercise. It will make the area so much more fun and desireable. It will also be great for climate change change-our-behaviour goals.

    Someone in this County has to have the baseballs to do this. And I nominate you, Anaheim. On Katella. Just do it.

  • David Zenger

    “The measure also asks OCTA to examine ways to connect the Anaheim Regional Intermodal Transportation Center (ARCTIC) to the city’s Harbor Boulevard corridor.”

    Because nothing bespeaks failure like throwing good money after bad. The Kleptocracy® is still trying desperately to make the ARTIC fiasco look like something else. Well, let’s review:

    1) Two of the ballyhooed commercial lease spaces at ARTIC that were executed over TWO YEARS AGO reamin vacant.

    2) Parking is still free – ten months after the date set for starting to generate parking revenue (two lies wrapped into one!).

    3) Bus ridership to and from is ARTIC is virtually non-existent.

    4) ARTIC operates at a $4-5MM loss every year. That number is only going to get bigger.

    5) ARTIC serves virtually the same commuting clientele the old Anaheim station did before – at a capital cost of $200,000,000.

    But Kring says ARTIC was not built for today but for some glorious future.