OCTA Seeks Help Planning For Transportation Future

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OCTA Seeks Help Planning For Transportation Future

Draft Long Range Transportation Plan looks at mobility for the next 20 years in Orange County with public meeting planned for May 7

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority is seeking public input to help plan for the county’s transportation needs for the next 20 years.

A draft copy of the Long Range Transportation Plan, called Outlook 2035, was presented to the OCTA board at a recent meeting and is now up for public review and comment on the website at: www.octa.net/lrtpdraftplan.

A review period will follow with an open house to solicit more input on the plan scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on May 7 at OCTA Headquarters, 550 S. Main Street in Orange.

“This is a document that will direct how we improve mobility for Orange County for the next two decades, looking at a wide range of transportation modes – from freeways to bicycles,” said OCTA Chairman Shawn Nelson, also the county’s Fourth District Supervisor. “We need the public’s input to ensure that we’re developing the best ways to keep residents, workers and visitors moving,”

Every four years, the OCTA completes a Long Range Transportation Plan that examines the county’s expected transportation needs, accounting for changes in demographics, the economy and available funding.

The plan also explores potential trends in the way people travel through the county as the population changes and looks at a multiple transportation modes, including buses, trains, freeways, city streets, bikeways and more.

During the next 20 years, Orange County’s population is expected to grow by about 400,000 people, adding to the demand on the local transportation system.

The plan addresses key issues such as the fact that transportation demands are outpacing capacity, that existing infrastructure needs improvements and that funding is unpredictable.

The Measure M program, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation, is the centerpiece of long-range planning. The Long Range Transportation Plan includes Measure M projects and looks beyond at additional needs throughout the county.

In comparison to transportation systems that existed as of 2010, the plan calls for the addition of:

  • New bus and streetcar service on key, high-demand streets
  • Enhanced bus routes to maintain on‐time performance
  • 20 weekday Metrolink trains
  • 650 miles of bikeways
  • 820 lane miles on the Master Plan of Arterial Highways
  • 200 freeway/carpool lane miles
  • 242 tollway lane miles
  • 450 vanpools and station vans

The draft plan includes many suggestions based on initial input from the public, including:

  • Optimize – Make better use of what we have by synchronizing traffic signals, widening major intersections, improving transit connections and improving conditions in carpool lanes.
  • Maintain – Preserve existing streets and roads, and fix potholes.
  • Educate – Inform the public about public transportation and non-motorized transportation options, and develop bicycle and pedestrian safety programs.
  • Innovate – Develop faster mass transit solutions and include innovative solutions, such as real-time passenger information and electronic ticketing to encourage transit use.
  • Collaborate – Communicate within and across county borders to develop regional solutions and connections.

After the public review period, which lasts through June 20, necessary revisions will be made to the draft plan. It is then expected to go before the OCTA board for approval in September. The Long Range Transportation Plan will then be submitted to the Southern California Association of Governments, where it will serve as Orange County’s input into the Regional Transportation Plan.

For more information, visit octa.net/lrtpdraftplan.

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