No, we are not talking about polar ice caps here, but the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, touted as “A Gateway to the Future.” This LEED Platinum Center will be an unprecedented nexus for transit of all kinds in Southern California, accommodating local residents, business travelers, commuters and vacationers. The Center will be a hub connecting the area’s major business and tourism districts, reducing carbon emissions and traffic on local freeways. Completion is expected in late 2014.
Anaheim is located in Orange County, Calif., the fifth most densely populated county in the nation, with 34 cities housing more than three million people. Once recognized for its production of citrus crops, avocados and oil, Orange County is better known today as a major destination for tourism, with the Disneyland Resorts and over 40 miles of stunning coastline among its offerings.
Always open to advancement, Orange County previously hosted another ground-breaking transportation improvement with the completion of the Pacific Electric Railway in 1904, a trolley connecting Los Angeles with Santa Ana and Newport Beach. That trolley system brought many Hollywood celebrities into the cities of Orange County for secluded getaways.
Today, ARTIC is being constructed in the Platinum Triangle, a district in Anaheim that includes the Grove of Anaheim, the Honda Center and Angel Stadium, where the current Amtrak station is located, and is adjacent to the Anaheim Resort, an area encompassing the two Disney parks, the Anaheim Convention Center and a hotel complex. Recently, the Anaheim Resort infrastructure was upgraded to create a total resort experience, with pedestrian walkways surrounded by beautiful landscaping and new signage throughout the area.
The Anaheim Convention Center is a LEED facility with over 1.6 million square feet of exhibit space. It is the largest convention center on the West Coast. A new expansion of the convention center will begin later this year and is scheduled for completion in 2016. It will include:
- 200,000 square feet of flexible space on two levels that can be used as exhibit, ballroom or meeting space
- 100,000 square feet on the top level will be column-free
- Dedicated loading docks and 1,400 parking spots
- A climate-controlled pedestrian bridge connecting to the second floor of the existing facility
- 25-foot finished ceilings and carpet on both levels
ARTIC will replace the existing Anaheim Amtrak station and will connect Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink trains as well as OCTA bus service. These services are already in high use in the area, and statistics demonstrate that ridership increased by 20 percent from 2011 to 2012. The site will also be the future terminus for the Anaheim Rapid Connection (ARC) and the much anticipated California High-Speed Rail commuter service to Northern California.
Planners hope that the ARTIC infrastructure will also improve bus and shuttle service options in the area, thereby reducing auto travel. The numerous entertainment venues in the area draw as many as 250,000 additional people per day, who may be better served by ARTIC transportation options.
In addition to providing efficient and carbon-reducing transportation services, the Center will be a beautiful new landmark in the area, featuring public art, pedestrian walkways, supporting retail, electric vehicle charging stations and bicycle access to the Santa Ana River Trail.
ARTIC is a fine example of the increasing commitment on the part of civic leaders and urban planners to create spaces where people may come together in large numbers and still demonstrate respect for the environment.
In the spirit of supporting eco-friendly transportation, consider adopting a non-profit organization that provides bicycles to people who need them. Here are a few options: worldbicyclerelief.org; recycleabicycle.org; bikeswithoutborders.org.