Bravo! has a bright future ahead of it. OCTA's already talking about adding 6 additional rapid bus lines and 3 or 4 bus rapid transit or light rail lines to northwestern Orange County. Both OCTA and Los Angeles's Metro want to improve transportation between Los Angeles County and Orange County.
It's curious to see how these plans turn out, because, from what I can gather, Los Angeles County places more of an emphasis on mass transit. Orange County, on the other hand, favors freeways and toll roads. Part of Los Angeles's transportation dilemma is that its freeways cannot be widened. It's such a problem that building double-decker freeways has actually been proposed --- heck, highway 110 already has the beginnings of a double-decker freeway with its elevated combined transitway-carpool lanes. (on the right: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsnet/1880449/ - Flickr photo of the 110 and the elevated transitway-carpool lanes, courtesy hexodus (creative commons-licensed))
The study, put together in mid-2007, lists these potential transit improvements, and are kinda sketched out in my expanded faux Bravo! map above (pulled from http://www.octa.net/ocla_study.aspx ) :
- New rapid bus (mixed-flow traffic) services on arterial roadways near and across the O.C./L.A. county line
- Implemented grade separated bus rapid transit (BRT) service in the Pacific Electric Right of Way from Santa Ana Metrolink station to Metro Green Line OR Implemented fully elevated transit service in the Pacific Electric Right-of-Way
- Improved bus shuttle services to Metrolink stations
- Increased Metrolink service frequency from Orange County to downtown Los Angeles
- Added rapid bus routes on arterial roadways
- Implemented BRT services in exclusive lanes or corridors
Note that all of these proposals are still up in the air. I contacted Marissa Espino, a senior community relations specialist at OCTA, and a full report with the results of this survey hasn't yet been delivered to OCTA's Board of Directors (it was supposed to be done in June 2008). I'll bet they're just putting the finishing touches on this sweet package!
More transit-oriented proposals to relieve the I-5
Even though improved transit connections between the two counties is still a proposal and may become vaporware, I suspect that improved transit will become a political reality not just because of the surge in mass transit's popularity, but because of two similar inter-county initiatives I've seen in the past few months:
1. LOS ANGELES METRO'S MEASURE R — Metro's push for a sales tax in Los Angeles will be a boon to Orange County transit riders, but their details are ambiguous. Still, it's a sign that Metro wants to push for more inter-county mobility. Metro wants to establish the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor, according to their website ( http://metro.net/measurer/rail_expansion.html ): "Measure R will provide for the development of an environmentally friendly grade-separated transit corridor that also will allow for pedestrian and bicycle uses. Phase I will go from the Los Angeles County line toward downtown Los Angeles. It will provide a viable alternative to the heavily congested I-5 Freeway. The complete project could ultimately extend from Orange County to the High Desert area." No specific alignment has been proposed yet.
2. SANTA ANA-GARDEN GROVE GO LOCAL PROGRAM — Santa Ana and Garden Grove both proposed to improve connectivity to The Depot at Santa Ana (their Metrolink and Amtrak station) with a fixed guideway streetcar going along the Pacific Electric right-of-way. In other words, local rail is back! (Map above from Santa Ana and Garden Grove Connect report.)