OC Streetcar Breaks Ground

Rendering of OC Streetcar. Credit: OCTA
By: Chad Kim

Orange County's first modern urban rail line broke ground on Nov 30 bringing future connections between Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, Downtown Santa Ana, to Garden Grove.



Ground breaking ceremony of OC Streetcar. Credit: OCTA
OC Streetcar is a 4.1 mile (each direction) line with a terminus at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center to the east providing connections to Metrolink Commuter Rail, Amtrak, and OC Bus. The western terminus will be at Harbor Bl and Westminster Av in Garden Grove providing connections to two Bravo! rapid lines, Lines 543 (Harbor Bl) and 560 (Westminster Av), and local Lines 43 and 60. The rail line will also serve Downtown Santa Ana with a westbound only direction on Santa Ana Bl (between Mortimer St and about Ross St) and a eastbound only direction on 4th St (between Ross St and Mortimer St). The entire line will have 13 streetcar stops with a future potential stop at what is currently the Willowick Golf Course. Each direction will have 10 streetcar stops as illustrated in the map below:

Map of OC Streetcar: 

Credit: OCTA
The OC Streetcar set for starting revenue operations in late 2021 with daily service will provide a frequency of every 10 to 15 minutes. Span of service (duration of service hours each day) has not been mentioned. 

The OC Streetcar will consist of six modern streetcar vehicles (with two spares) where each streetcar vehicle has 70 seats with an overall capacity of 180 passengers. 

Rendering of OC Streetcar Vehicle: 

Credit: OCTA
The OC Streetcar line will share space with car traffic between its eastern terminus to until Santa Ana Bl and Raitt St where it will then travel exclusively on the historic Pacific Electric Right-of-Way (PE ROW). The historic PE ROW once had the historic red car trolleys, the line constructed in 1905, which provided service from Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Santa Ana. By 1950, the historic service was cut back to the City of Bellflower and entirely discontinued in 1958. 

Red Car trolley on 4th St in Downtown Santa Ana. Source: OC Register
Development that are under construction or proposed has been prevalent along the OC Streetcar alignment:

The Line development. Credit: Lisandro Orozco via Flickr

OCTA conducted a corridor study on Harbor Bl between Santa Ana and Downtown Fullerton which looked at various alternative alignments and transit modes such as enhanced bus, bus rapid transit, streetcar, and rapid streetcar. This study provided a look at a possible high capacity transit line connecting with or extending the OC Streetcar northward. However, according to the Voice of OC, the concept was dropped due to the inability of reaching a consensus among the stakeholder cities. 

OCTA, after completing its Transit Master Plan in Feb 2018, identified Bristol St corridor as one of the high potential corridors suitable for high capacity transit and its potential to increase ridership. Accordingly, OCTA began the Bristol St corridor study between Santa Ana and South Coast Metro area which will study potential alignments and transit options. 


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