Anaheim Transit: Suck It Up

15 thoughts on “Anaheim Transit: Suck It Up”

  1. Hi
    in eastern Europe (Czech republic, Poland, Slovak) we have in all bigger town bus or tram transit (bigger city have metro) with periodic schedule 5-10 minute, in peak 2-3 min.
    Where is problem in developed and rich country ?

    1. 1) We use cars.

      2) We use cars because:
      * The best *local* transit in existence goes 6 MPH along very specific pre-determined single-line routes which means that going 3 miles from my apartment to Costco (or Microcenter, or Home Depot or Target or the one really nice specialty boot store that actually fits my feet…) takes an hour in each direction. (Seriously, Brooklyn is depressingly shite, which is a big part of the reason why I’m more pro-car than our host. They’re terrible, but the *only* way certain things work).
      * The best *regional* transit goes 35-50 MPH along very specific…
      * The best inter-regional transit goes 110 MPH with stops every 30-40 miles right in major downtowns.

      Which means that Manhattan to downtown Philly (90 miles or so) is 1.5 hours on transit, leaving every 30ish minutes and my apartment in Brooklyn to a family friend in the Philly suburbs is… 4-ish in a world where suburban Philly had transit. An hour to go 6 miles to Penn Station, 90 minutes to Philly, another hour to the suburbs, plus transfer times at every transfer… Vs. a 2 hour drive, 3 in even NYC rush hour,

      Reasonable medium-speed, high-capacity suburb-urban transit networks exist in America, as do certain legacy downtown->downtown inter-regional networks, but suburb to suburb transit networks (both intra and inter-regional) do not. And can’t given density issues and the resulting economics of transit.

      It’s possible that the growth of suburbia could have been avoided, but this would have required that oh… 1950-1975 would have gone very, very differently. My grandfather found out about the Detroit Rebellion when my 10-year-old father watched a looter get murdered in the street in front of his house, and they ended up moving 40 miles north to the Oakland County suburbs after losing their life’s savings when their house lost 80% of its value in 6 months. That is in no way a unique story.

      /Local transit: “You can walk from one station to the next station” (NY Subway, MUNI buses etc)
      Regional Transit: This stops in every small town with 2-10 miles between stations and large gaps that require local transit or cars (with parking lots at the stations) to serve. Both slow enough thanks to dwell time that they can’t beat freeways, but non-local enough to be useless in a neighborhood (BART, Caltrain, WMATA, NJ Transit, Metro-North…)
      Inter-regional transit: There is one, maybe 2 stops per metro area, generally right in the downtown, but it gets you from a Metro Area to another Metro Area (Amtrak NorthEast Corridor on the low end, Japanese Shinkansen on the very high)
      //I freely understand that you will have never heard of most of those transit networks, but the mostly American readership will have.

    2. In an older major city its fine, Philadelphia or NYC both have very well mapped out public transit using multiple transit methods (Bus service, Above and below ground trolleys, above and below ground light rail) that overlap and create a web allowing you to effectively get around the city core and regional rail helps lighten the commute load on people in the burbs or farther out edges of the city and also serves as a way for people who want to day-trip or weekend in the city to not have to worry about parking.

  2. Johnny, a worthy comparison might have been the area around the Fullerton train station, historically a much more important station than the Anaheim one. You might find some fault with the design of some of the apartments there, too, but it is not far from a walkable downtown, and furthermore one that avoided redevelopment.

  3. The high density developments along State College and Katella might be aimed at cars, but they do attract a lot of pedestrian traffic. I see lots of people walking around there, and I expect it will increase as they build more. I know somebody who moved there so he could get to work without driving (he bikes to Santa Ana, using the bike trail and some less-busy surface streets.)

    The placement of ARTIC is a scandal. Had it been placed where the old Amtrak station is, on the other side of the freeway, it would have been within easy walking distance of a lot of people and jobs in those developments. As it is, they would have to walk across the entire Angels parking lot and cross under the freeway. I don’t know exactly why they did something so stupid, but I assume it was because the Angels didn’t want to part with some of their parking lot for bus bays. Probably there was some desire for a showy building (and it does look nice) which needed additional space but there’s just no excuse for building something unusable (due to location) like that.

  4. I think the shadow transit systems are fascinating. Milwaukee has 55 formal city bus routes which operate pretty well during business hours but have pretty mediocre night and weekend coverage. As a result, there’s an emergent system of about 100 neighborhood taverns running janky spray-painted, decommissioned school buses & airport shuttles to events across the city every night. If you go to any neighborhood’s main bar cluster and ask around, you can get to any other spot in the city via downtown venues for a drink.

    2 interesting points from the shadow systems: 1) if transit is REALLY in a business’s best interests, they will eventually put their money where their mouths are and drive those customers and/or workers themselves (car rental places, etc). More often than not in the US, they don’t really need transit. 2) The way that an emergent system provides transit it TOTALLY different than the way agencies do it. Agencies ripped out streetcars and replaced them with busses overlooking the technological differences. The market provides janky 15 passenger buses and direct non-stop, maybe one stop routes. OR long haul coach. No one should take a 60-stop 7 mile bus ride on a standard city bus. That’s just a prolifically stupid design. Nothing emerges with quarter million dollar 60 passenger “kneeler” bus with stops every 100 yards.

  5. My apologies, but that hand written note on your car windshield is hilarious. As an aside, I live across a main street from our Expo Center and the State Fair is in full swing right now. I’m one block into the surrounding neighborhoods and the Fair itself really doesn’t bother me but people come and park on our street all during the week and a half of rides and hoopla.

    Interestingly enough, a young man came up to my porch a few days ago and, when I opened the door to see what he wanted, he asked me if it would be okay to park in front of my house! I was surprised (I don’t see anyone needing my okay to park on the street); I told him it was fine and he and his girlfriend went to the Fair. Obviously the people of Orange County feel a certain sense of entitled ownership of not only their property but the property around it!

  6. Ah, The Geography of Nowhere. Looks just like where I grew up in northern California. I live in Mexico City now, and a lot of it, almost all the late 20th century development, looks like this as well… built for cars. There are some exceptions, for example, historic Coyoacán, Condesa, Polanco, and few other neighborhoods in Mexico City and some other cities and of course many villages. But most of the photos you show here, they could have been taken in any one of a large number of cities in Mexico, and especially northern Mexico (Torreon, Monterrey…). In fact, this kind of looks like the some of the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende.

  7. Density without urbanism is the standard design paradigm that fundamentally shows local governments don’t get it. We have tons of that kind of thing here in Maryland and it is all going to be a colossal clusterfuck in a couple years.

    1. These developments aren’t built to appeal to pedestrians but they are actually walkable. You can walk to a regional hospital and a regional mall from there. The area does lack a grocery store but that could be remedied. They’re not going to be a clusterfuck. I don’t know about yours; I know many higher-density developments are much less suitable for pedestrians.

      1. Right. A lower-quality pedestrian environment that is nonetheless connected with goods and services nearby is a couple of notches better than utterly disconnected suburban sprawl. It can support “car-lite” if not car-less living.

        It’s an adaptation that comes to mind when Johnny is on that topic.

        1. I worked in the neighborhood, directly across from the stadium. Perhaps two workers out of 300 or so used the train. To access it, they did indeed have to walk across the stadium parking lot to ARTIC. Not that difficult, but few did it. Including me.

          It’s the “last mile” issue in Orange County that hinders transit.

          I walked all the time. To the bank(s) and restaurants (fast casual and fine dining-ish) within a 5-20 minute walk. And to ARTIC, at times. This was during the “homeless encampment on the river bed” era.

          People thought I was a bit daft, I think. But it’s doable. The big issue is that there’s no retail to speak of… yet. Having lived in Historic Core DTLA as it redeveloped in the late ’90s and mid ’00s, I experienced how important the first grocery store, hipster bar, and top restaurant are to the urban experience. Since this was written and most commented, the large Golden Road brewery has emerged as a center of life in the neighborhood.

          Check it out, and see a glimpse of a possible future for this area. Young, diverse, tech, blue collar and tattooed.

          Still, most drive and park. But they walk to the baseball games, at least.

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