Monday, February 26, 2007
Sand-to-Disneyland line may gain ground
Idea for transporting people from Huntington Beach to the theme park could get a boost from OCTA grant.
By JENNIFER MUIR
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
An idea to build a transit line stretching from Disneyland to Huntington Beach could gain some momentum today.
Officials from five cities in north and west Orange County are hoping to score up to $250,000 in grant money from the Orange County Transportation Authority to study the possibility of a transit service connecting the tourist destinations, possibly along an existing railroad corridor.
"It's a difficult, long commute going from Huntington Beach to Anaheim, weaving through the cities," said David Webb, Surf City's deputy public works director. "The need for this is really strong. There's obviously a strong commuter connection, and the route connects two major tourism destinations."
But news of the idea has inflamed residents living near the railroad corridor in Huntington Beach. About 25 people plan to attend an OCTA board meeting today to protest, resident Shari Noriega said.
"It's extremely frustrating because we have vested interest in our city and … we're not being given any information about this," said Noriega, who is worried about the project's effect on property values.
The proposal is among those submitted by 18 cities vying for a share of grant money from OCTA's Go Local program. Each of Orange County's 34 cities was eligible for $100,000 grants, offered to encourage cities to think of ways to link to Metrolink lines.
The best plans will qualify for cash to fund further study. In all, $30 million is set aside.
"The goal of this program is to get people to think outside the box," OCTA spokeswoman Andrea West said. "The cities are the experts, so we're looking for them to tell us what they think would be the best."
Huntington Beach will head the project to evaluate possible transit lines stretching from the sand to Disneyland through Garden Grove, Stanton, Westminster and Anaheim.
The study will include evaluating the possibility of a transit line along 18 miles of Union Pacific Railroad tracks from the Metrolink station in Anaheim to the intersection of Ellis Avenue and Gothard Street in Huntington Beach. It will evaluate ways to move people to the beach and into the Disneyland Resort area and also will review other possible transportation routes.
The type of transportation – such as light rail, monorail or bus – also has not been determined. The study could take up to a year and a half to complete, Webb said.