By Rachel Dovey.
It’s only been three months since an intermodal station opened in downtown Anaheim, and already the local press seems ready to write it off.
ARTIC (the much-needed acronym for Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center) is “an iconic, LEEDPlatinum Design Hub that brings together the services ofOCTA, Metrolink, Amtrak, Anaheim Resort Transportation, Megabus, Greyhound, taxis, bikes, and other public/private transportation providers,” according to its website.
But in local headlines? It “Fails to Live up to Expectations,”according to the Orange County Register, “Has Glitter But Not Ridership Gold” according to Voice of OC, and is a “$188 Million Station to Nowhere” according to OC Weekly.
This isn’t your usual right-of-center grumbling about Agenda 21; the outlets’ politics range from libertarian to alt-weekly. Some of their critiques are regional — taking on Anaheim’s Disney-fied identity and even the long shadow of high-speed rail. (ARTICwas originally planned as the mega-train’s Orange County terminus, but the statedropped Anaheim from Phase One maps in 2012). But some follow a national trend, targeting ridership forecasts that have turned out to be less than accurate.
“When Anaheim officials were selling the public on ARTIC … they said nearly 3,000 train boardings would take place starting with opening day in 2014,” Adam Elmahrek of Voice of OC wrote in February. According to Orange County Transportation Authority data from December, he added, daily boardings during the station’s first month averaged less than 800. Meanwhile, planners allegedly overestimated ridership as far back as 2009.