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Streetcar Workshop Afternoon Panels

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2008, at 03:39PM
Jolene Hayes Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Jolene Hayes of the City of Irvine talks about plans for a streetcar line connecting the Irvine Metrolink station and the Great Park.

After a hearty lunch, the Los Angeles Streetcar Workshop kicked things back into gear this afternoon. Two panels were slated for the afternoon.

Streetcar 202 looked at the nuts and bolts of options for running streetcar lines. Local Case Studies showed that Downtown isn't the only place in Southern California looking at streetcar operation.

Streetcar 202

John Schumann, Jim Graebner and T. R. Hickey gave a bit of history and then got into the nuts and bolts of system design options from where you place the track to what kind of overhead wires you run.

Particularly interesting was a slide, shown below, that helps illustrate the different role of different transportation modes. People often ask questions like, "If streetcar's cheaper, why build light rail?" The two serve different functions, as do heavy rail and commuter rail.

Local Case Studies

Toni Bates, Parsons

Project looking to connect Garden Grove to Santa Ana Metrolink station. OCTA was the initial driver, looking to extend Metrolink reach. Secondary goal of changing land uses and spurring redevelopment.

Buses on existing route serve very low ridership -- haven't been any sort of a catalyst. Light rail was considered by OCTA, but plans were dropped. The cities wanted something in the middle -- permanent but cheaper.

Studies have been done and that work is moving forward.

Q: Two projects, or one project?

Keep them together and maximize value. Even if there are phases, present it as one project.

Q: How to fund?

Funding was discussed throughout the day. No simple answers, but lots of need for creativity.

Fred Dock, City of Pasadena

Very early stage of planning to connect neighborhoods in the Central area. Activity areas are on Colorado and Lake, but the two streets aren't well suited for streetcar use and are also entirely built out (little development potential). Considering options around the two streets, either straddling them or just running on one side.

Q: How do you make a streetcar compatible with the Rose Parade?

If you have crossings you'd just need to take down that section for the parade. The overhead wires are what killed the idea of trolley buses (electric buses) in Pasadena in the past.

Jolene Hayes, City of Irvine

Transportation planning in connection with the Great Park. Metrolink - Irvine Spectrum - Great Park. Just started EIR process. Completed Alternatives Analysis. Existing activity centers to be connected.

Expect to have service by 2012.

Bob Henry, Port of Los Angeles

Gave a background of the Red Car line in San Pedro and the plans for future expansion. The system uses cars made to look like the old Pacific Electric models. First line was very small, but expansion plans are agressive.

Q: Down in a peninsula, how do you connect to the larger system?

Streetcars are for pedestrians, and pedestrians are carless, so connections are key.


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