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OCTA to Outline Plans, Seek Input in 2 Cities

March 04, 1997|BONNIE HAYES and LESLEY WRIGHT

The Orange County Transportation Authority will hold special meetings in Santa Ana and Orange today to present plans and seek feedback from residents regarding future transportation issues.

The Santa Ana meeting is the fourth in a series of five and is particularly significant because it's being held in the city, which will be heavily affected by nearly all of the OCTA's proposed improvements over the next two decades, spokesman John Standiford said.

"Santa Ana is the [county's] largest and most diverse city," Standiford said. "It's also at the heart of a 28-mile-long corridor that we've identified as the focus of future improvements."

Sixty percent of all Orange County trips occur within, to, or from the corridor, which stretches from Fullerton to Irvine and is about 6 miles wide. In addition, more than half of the county's jobs and 34% of all residents live within that area.

Recent OCTA community meetings have allowed residents to review the seven transportation alternatives under consideration by the agency as part of Measure M, a $3-billion, 20-year improvement plan passed by voters in 1990.

The plan includes $340 million to build a new rail transit system, but requires residents and OCTA officials to decide how and where that system should be developed. Two proposals would send the rail from the Riverside Freeway south to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, where a future international airport has been proposed.

"We're going to have more than 700,000 more people living in Orange County by 2015," Standiford said. "The decisions we make now are critical."

Other OCTA proposals include dramatically expanding bus services, adding carpool lanes to some freeways and building joint transit stations for the future rail system and MetroLink, which would boast more seats and better bus service to its existing stations.

Residents are invited to attend the Santa Ana open house from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the Santa Ana Public Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza. Tickets will be validated in the adjacent parking structure. Information: (714) 647-5250.

In Orange, the meeting will begin at 4 p.m. in the Weimer Room of City Hall, next to council chambers, at 300 E. Chapman Ave. Information: (714) 744-5500.

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