Look at what a half-cent buys
The OC Go freeway program includes 30 project segments that will remedy traffic chokepoints and relieve congestion on Orange County freeways. To date, 12 freeway segments have been completed and three more are in construction during 2019.
I-405 Improvement Project
This nearly $2 billion project will improve 16 miles of the I‐405 in both directions between SR-73 and I-605 through the cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Westminster. The project will add one regular lane in each direction between Euclid Street and I-605 and make improvements to freeway entrances, exits and bridges. Also, 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.
During 2019, OCTA continued replacing and reconstructing street crossings with wider bridges along the project corridor. With 12 bridges under construction, the Slater Avenue bridge was the first to be completed and opened to traffic on August 30, 2019. The general purpose lane portion of the project is funded by OC Go with a combination of local, state and federal funds. The 405 Express Lanes are separately funded and will be paid for by those who choose to pay a toll and use them.
As of December 2019, the project was approximately 40 percent complete and is anticipated to be finished in 2023.
I-5 (SR-73 to El Toro Road) Widening Project
From SR-73 to El Toro Road, OCTA and Caltrans are working together to implement the I-5 Widening Project to address traffic volume, which is anticipated to increase 25 percent by 2045.
Located adjacent to the cities of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel, this nearly $600 million freeway improvement project will be built in three segments and includes numerous roadway, structural and operational improvements.
Construction of the middle segment (Oso Parkway and Alicia Parkway), which includes reconstruction of the La Paz Road interchange, began in 2019 and as of December 2019, was 13 percent complete. In addition, the construction contract was awarded for the southernmost segment (SR-73 to Oso Parkway) on December 20, 2019. Construction on the northern section (Alicia Parkway to El Toro Road) is expected to begin in 2020.
I-5 (SR-55 and SR-57) Project
In partnership with Caltrans, OCTA is adding a second high occupancy vehicle lane in both directions along I-5 between SR-55 and SR-57 to relieve traffic congestion, alleviate bottlenecks and improve traffic operations on this corridor within the cities of Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin. Major construction activities continued in 2019, including the demolition of the HOV direct ramp bridge at Main Street. As of December 2019, the project was approximately 45 percent complete and is anticipated to be complete in 2021.
Next 10 Delivery Plan: 2019 Update
This comprehensive and balanced plan was developed to ensure that the promises made in the OC Go Investment Plan can continue to be delivered in concert with changes in economic conditions and revenue projections. In 2019, the Next 10 Delivery Plan review incorporated OCTA’s strong revenue position, combined with efficient project delivery performance, to advance five additional OC Go freeway projects through construction. By 2028, nearly 90 percent of the total number of freeway projects (26 out of 30) will be finished. The remaining four will be completed by 2041.
Every trip begins with a local street or road. Keeping them in good shape is an important component of OC Go.
In 2019, OCTA distributed $54.4 million in OC Go Local Fair Share funds to cities and the County of Orange to preserve existing streets and roads and to provide other transportation improvements based on the priorities and infrastructure needs determined by local jurisdictions. In addition, OCTA approved nearly $1 million in funding through the Regional Capacity Program, which funds intersection improvements and other street improvement projects to help reduce congestion.
Driving through multiple cities stopping at red lights can be frustrating and time consuming. OC Go helps synchronize traffic lights across the county to improve the drive quality. To date, OCTA has synchronized more than 2,000 signalized intersections.
During 2019, OCTA implemented eight projects that synchronized 317 signals along 81.4 miles. The corridors include:
- Newport Boulevard (Costa Mesa, Newport Beach)
- Kraemer Boulevard/Glassell Street/Grand Avenue (Anaheim, Brea, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana)
- Harbor Boulevard (Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Santa Ana)
- Westminster Avenue/17th Street (County of Orange, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Tustin, Westminster)
- Alicia Parkway (Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo)
- Pacific Coast Highway (Newport Beach)
- Irvine Boulevard (Irvine, Lake Forest, Tustin)
- Olympiad Road – Felipe Road (Mission Viejo)
OCTA also approved $7.6 million in 2019 to fund five new synchronization projects:
- Harbor Boulevard (Fullerton, La Habra)
- MacArthur Boulevard (Irvine, Newport Beach)
- Red Hill Avenue (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Tustin)
- Lake Forest Drive (Irvine, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest)
- Aliso Creek Road (Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel)
This program optimizes signal timing throughout Orange County on 2,757 signalized intersections along 705 miles of roadway. It also funds the infrastructure that coordinates the traffic signal systems and the communications pathways needed for future data sharing and connections. Currently, there are 29 projects planned or in progress funded through the Regional Traffic Signal Synchronization Program.
As a result of this program, Orange County drivers experience less stop-and-go traffic. This allows them to save money on gas and reduce emissions and greenhouse gases. To date, the program has resulted in:
- 79 traffic signal synchronization corridor projects implemented
- $106 million in funding awarded by the OCTA Board of Directors
- 13% average travel time savings
- 29% reduction in stops
- 2 to 5 miles per hour average speed increase
Currently under construction, this public transit option is designed to move residents, employees, and visitors through the heart of the county and will be the first modern streetcar in California.
OC Streetcar’s 4.15-mile route will connect to existing rail and bus routes in Orange County and beyond, including the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center that serves Metrolink and Amtrak travelers throughout Southern California. In addition, the OC Streetcar is expected to support economic development and create jobs. Slightly more than half (59 %) of the funding comes from a mix of federal and state sources. The remainder comes from OC Go. Ridership projections estimate the OC Streetcar will carry more than 7,000 riders each day.
In 2019, major construction activities commenced as the Notice to Proceed for Construction was issued for activities to begin on the western half of the alignment, which included the Santa Ana River and Westminster Avenue bridges, the Maintenance and Storage Facility, storm drain relocations and sewer and water systems within city streets.
Three programs work together to provide efficient, cost-effective transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities.
The Senior Mobility Program fills the gap between local fixed-route buses and ACCESS service by providing transportation services to seniors in 31 cities in Orange County. OCTA and the participating cities contribute to the program. The Senior Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program supplements existing countywide senior non-emergency medical transportation services. The Fare Stabilization Program reduces fares for bus and ACCESS paratransit rides for seniors and persons with disabilities. In 2019, more than $11 million was provided for these programs under OC Go.
Each day, commuters and other travelers use convenient Metrolink trains to get to work or other destinations within Orange County or the adjoining counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
Orange County has 12 Metrolink stations served by three lines – Orange County (OC) Line, Inland Empire Orange County (IEOC) Line, and 91/Perris Valley (91/PV) Line. In October 2019, Orange County service expanded with two additional round trips extending to downtown Los Angeles. These trips provide for additional mid-day and evening service. Additional extensions to Los Angeles on the 91/PV Line also increased flexibility and mobility for Orange County riders with connections in Buena Park and Fullerton.
OC Go also provides funding for rail line and station improvements to accommodate increased service. Current activities include designing platform and track improvements at the Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station, replacing the 100-year-old San Juan Creek bridge and adding new track adjacent to the existing mainline track from Laguna Niguel to San Juan Capistrano for more efficient and reliable service.
Opened in 2019, the new five-story, 611-space Metrolink Parking Structure at the Orange Transportation Center in Old Towne Orange provides much-needed parking for transit users and also benefits shoppers and diners frequenting the area. In addition, the Fullerton Transportation Center elevator improvements were completed, adding two new elevators to provide reliable mobility options for riders.
The Environmental Cleanup Program (ECP) uses OC Go funds for local projects that clean transportation-related pollutants from Orange County’s waterways.
In 2019, a total of $2 million was allocated to ten local agencies for 11 projects to improve water quality. Since 2011, approximately $51.9 million has been awarded for 199 projects from all 34 cities and the county. Through these projects, it is estimated that each year an equivalent of almost 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with trash is captured and that 157 million gallons will have groundwater recharge potential. The ECP portion is forecasted to be $274.5 million during the 30-year period (2011 through 2041) of OC Go.
In exchange for expedited freeway projects, OCTA preserves and restores natural habitats.
A total of 1,300 acres has been permanently protected to enhance wildlife connectivity, safeguard sensitive species, and preserve substantial parcels of valuable habitat. Preserves are located in Brea, Laguna Beach, Silverado Canyon, and Trabuco Canyon. In addition, OC Go has funded 12 restoration projects that help remove invasive plants and restore approximately 350 acres of open space lands to their native habitat. The resource management plans that guide the management of valuable wildlife and habitat on all seven Preserves are available here. These documents are a result of years of assessment and collaboration with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and will be reviewed every five years and updated as necessary.
In areas where regional transit doesn’t meet local needs, community shuttles that complement bus and rail service help provide solutions.
Ridership is monitored to ensure that performance standards are met.
In 2019, staff evaluated the financial capacity and demand for a fourth call for community based transit circulator projects. In addition, OCTA worked with local agencies to develop guideline revisions based on lessons learned from previous calls. In October 2019, a fourth call for projects was issued for $9 million. Projects will be prioritized using the revised guidelines and presented for Board consideration in spring 2020. Currently, there are 20 active community circulator projects.
Free shuttles were offered in Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and Dana Point. Shuttles often connect with each other and to transit and Metrolink stops, making it easier to travel to great destinations without a car.