One of my primary policy objectives — a major expansion of iShuttle routes and a significant increase in Irvine commuter transportation choices — will soon be realized.
For the past year, Irvine City Staff has been working with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to create new iShuttle routes and obtain new vehicles.
I’m excited to announce that two new iShuttle routes have now been established and six new iShuttle vehicles have been procured!
Route testing is being conducted, schedules are being developed, and signage is ordered.
OCTA will market the new routes and oversee the drivers.
Route E will operate out of the Irvine Train Station, providing service to the east and west, including the Irvine Spectrum.
Route F will operate out of the Tustin Train Station and provide service in the west, including the Irvine Business Complex.
Ninety percent of the funding for the new routes and vehicles will be covered by Orange County Measure M2, Project V. City Transportation Management funding and City partners will also provide funds.
The new routes will bring the total number of iShuttle routes to six, a 50% increase.
The iShuttle expansion will make it more convenient for employees and visitors to move around Irvine’s two large business districts without a car and is expected to have a significant positive impact on Irvine’s commuter traffic congestion.
Service is expected to begin in late fall 2018 or early 2019.
Going forward, I’d like to see more iShuttle service added. For example, a route that would like people from UCI to the Spectrum would be good for both Irvine traffic reduction and for UCI students and Sprectum businesses.
[Take the surveys below at the end of this blog post.]
The voters in Irvine recently rejected Measure B.
The issue now is what, in rejecting Measure B, did the voters really decide.
Sign used by opponents of Measure B, warning that passage of Measure B would mean thousands more cars on every road in Irvine.
Some argue that the rejection of Measure B means that the voters said that the proposed veterans cemetery should be located at the ARDA site that was originally selected by the City Council in July 2014.
But the actual language of Measure B said nothing about the original ARDA site, except that the development previously zoned for the strawberry fields site would be moved there.
Looking at the specific language of Measure B, what the voters said No to was “allowing the previously planned development for the Bake Parkway Site to be relocated to the intersection of Pusan and Irvine Blvd and allowing the development of a veterans cemetery near the intersection of I-5 and Bake Parkway.”
Thus, by its express language, the no vote on Measure B rejects that zoning decision, but does not authorize the city to place a veterans cemetery on the ARDA site.
Map used by opponents of Measure B, warning that passage of Measure B would lead to massive development and 10,000 more car and truck trips every day.
In addition, the City Council’s approval of the ARDA site in 2014 was based on the belief that the City would provide the land for the veterans cemetery, but the costs of construction and subsequent maintenance of the cemetery would be wholly paid by state and federal government.
Crucially, the City Council’s approval of the ARDA site also came several years before we learned that construction of the veterans cemetery at the ARDA site would cost nearly $80 million, mostly due to the need for decontamination of the soil and the decontamination and removal of numerous existing structures, and that in addition to providing the land, the City would have to bear a significant portion of these construction costs.
In particular, Measure B said nothing at all about approving the spending of tens of millions of dollars that are now earmarked for creating the features of the Great Park that residents have said they want – such as museums, botanical gardens, a new Wild Rivers Water Park, and a permanent amphitheatre for live music – and, instead, using that money for a veterans cemetery.
My belief is that the rejection of Measure B means that the voters did not want a zoning change that, as the No on B campaign said, would have allowed “massive development projects” at the ARDA site, add “812,000 square feet of development,” and “bring 10,000 more cars and trucks to Irvine streets and neighborhoods every day.”
For me, the lesson of Measure B is that the voters did not want to risk the possibility that the land exchange would lead to more development and more traffic congestion, as well as the voters believing that it was too favorable a deal for the developer.
In other words, I see the rejection of Measure B as a vote against more development and traffic congestion, and not a vote in favor of spending tens of millions of dollars on a veterans cemetery rather than building other popular features of the Great Park
I would like to know what you believe the rejection of Measure B means, especially if you were among the majority in Irvine who voted against it.
Please take the surveys below:
The City Council must now decide whether, and how, to proceed with a veterans cemetery. What do you want the City Council to do:
Please share these surveys with your Irvine friends and neighbors. I would like as much resident input as possible.
The surveys are now closed.
While the surveys are not scientific, I believe their results are straight-forward and present an accurate view of why Measure B failed.
The survey results show that the main reason people voted No on Measure B was opposition to development and traffic, rather than a desire to return the veterans cemetery to its original site.
These results should not be unexpected since the No on Measure B campaign focused almost exclusively on the claim that Measure B would lead to more development and traffic (“B = Thousands MORE Cars on THIS Road!”).
Further underscoring the conclusion that Measure B failed because of perceptions about development and traffic rather than preference for the original site, the survey results show thatfew residents are in favor of spending the $40 – $80 million required to build the veterans cemetery on the original site.
The clear message sent by voters with the defeat of Measures B and D is that developers must not be allowed to continue runaway development without regard to our traffic, schools, and quality of life, and that Irvine residents must have a say in all future development decisions.
I supported Measure B because I believed it would provide veterans with the best chance for a dignified military cemetery; that it would save Irvine taxpayers millions of dollars; and that it would reduce traffic congestion by restricting future development at the strawberry fields.
The voters, however, did not want to risk even the possibility that it would lead to more development and more traffic congestion.
In fact, Irvine residents are rightly concerned that runaway development and traffic congestion will forever change the character of our beautiful city – without their input or consent. They are rightly distrustful of developers whose bottom line is their profit, not our quality of life. I am distrustful as well, and I share the voters’ skepticism about giant developers and their motives. Developers spent millions of dollars trying to defeat me in the last election, and no doubt will do so again.
As an Irvine City Councilmember, I have not voted for a single new entitlement or approved any new construction. The development that residents are now seeing all over town – from the Great Park neighborhoods to Quail Hill to Tomato Springs – was approved by prior City Councilmembers, and not by me. I have not approved any of it, and I was one of only two Irvine Councilmembers who voted against the Irvine Company’s proposed 1,960-unit apartment complex at the old Traveland USA site at the 5 Freeway and Sand Canyon. I opposed that plan because of its negative impact on traffic and schools, and I will not approve any future development without prior careful determination and consideration of its impact on our schools, traffic, and open space.
As an Irvine City Councilmember, I also voted against Measure D. I opposed Measure D because I believe that Irvine residents must have a strong voice in determining how our city grows.
Moving forward, I reaffirm my pledge to end runaway development. Irvine must return to its commitment to the wisdom of the Master Plan. The current piecemeal approach to development favored by developers and some members of the City Council must end. Irvine needs to return to the principles of careful planning and measured, smart growth that not very long ago made Irvine the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family. There must be no more developer giveaways.
Irvine needs an effective traffic reduction plan, and not just a congestion management plan. Irvine had long been recognized as a national leader in city planning and innovation. Unfortunately, Irvine has failed to properly plan for the tremendous increase in traffic caused by the city’s explosive recent growth. As a result, Irvine residents have been forced to contend with unprecedented traffic congestion and less safe streets and roads. Our City Council now needs to do more than try to manage the traffic congestion that is already out of control. We need to say clearly that the current level of traffic congestion is completely unacceptable and must be reduced.
Irvine needs more police officers. As Irvine has grown, the need for more police officers has become critical, not just for preventing crime, but also for enforcing our traffic laws, which are essential to keeping our children safe as they play and go to school in our neighborhoods. I will work to add more police officers to ensure that our residents are as safe in Irvine now and in the future as they were before Irvine began to grow.
Irvine needs more childcare. We know that our great schools, beautiful parks, and safe environment attract many families with young children. We also know that a critical part of any thriving community is safe, professional, reliable, and affordable preschool and childcare. Developers must be held accountable for including childcare as part of an overall city development plan, just as they are required to build schools. Irvine must become truly family friendly. No more waiting lists!
Let’s build the veterans cemetery. I have been fighting for a veterans cemetery at the former El Toro Marine Base since 2014 and will continue to do so. Our veterans deserve a veterans cemetery close to their families and loved ones. Now that Measure B has been defeated, we need to find a site that honors our veterans and is approved by Irvine residents. I am firmly committed to that task.
Let’s finish building the Great Park. For far too long, the residents of Irvine were given nothing but empty promises about building our Great Park on the grounds of the old El Toro Marine Base. As Vice Chair of the Great Park, I am proud that we have finally succeeded in creating a Great Park that residents can enjoy, with terrific sports fields, a magnificent new championship soccer stadium, and the best community ice-skating facility in the West already under construction — but there is still much more to do. Our residents have told us that they want a new Wild Rivers water park, and we need to ensure that happens. We also need to fulfill our promise to build a city-owned amphitheatre on the Great Park’s cultural terrace, so that a developer’s decision can not deprive us of live music again. I will also insist that we follow the recommendations of residents and build world-class botanical gardens, museums, and a lake to make Irvine the home of a truly Great Park. Getting that job done is one of my main priorities.
I love Irvine and will continue to work to ensure that Irvine remains among the safest and most beautiful cities in the nation. As your Irvine City Councilmember, I will fight to ensure that the public interest – in preventing over-development, over-crowed schools, and traffic congestion, and in preserving the character of our communities – comes before the private interests of developers, no matter how big and powerful those developers may be.
Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox appointed me to the City’s new Irvine Transportation Commission in May of 2017. One of the missions of the Transportation Commission is to the advise the Planning Commission and the City Council on the traffic impacts of new development applications.
Another task for the Commission is to work with City staff on ways to improve traffic flow in Irvine.
Ken Montgomery Chair, irvine Transportation Commission
One way to reduce single occupant vehicle trips in Irvine is to increase the amount of people who will use a bicycle for their short trips around town when it is practical.
Most of Irvine’s streets have bicycle lanes. Most of Irvine’s traffic signals have video detection cameras mounted on the mast arms. These cameras detect when there is a bicycle waiting at the red light. You don’t even have to push the bicycle push button anymore if you don’t want to. In Irvine you can legally ride on sidewalks, but you must yield to pedestrians. Thus, on the few streets where there are no bike lanes, you can ride on the sidewalks legally.
I ride all over Irvine everyday on my electric bike and I can get to every place in Irvine conveniently.
I know there are a few streets that have no bike lanes with narrow sidewalks like MacArthur near the airport, but for the most part I can ride a bike to any shopping center, professional office building, or recreational center or park in town.
The problem comes when you try to lock up your bike at one of these destinations!
Many private properties with big parking lots for cars have no bike racks. I frequently have to lock up to a handicap parking sign pole or a trash can with openings big enough for my cable bike lock. Sometimes a destination will have a bike rack somewhere out of view, where no one can see the bike thief with the bolt cutters. This lack of bicycle parking often defeats the purpose of riding a bike if you can’t secure it properly.
The City requires new developments to have bike racks, but these racks often disappear after a few years or are relocated to an out of the way location. I feel that if I ride a bike, I should be able to lock up close to the building’s entry, not 500’ away.
The City is making efforts to get businesses to voluntarily provide bike racks near their building entries, but with over 25,000 businesses in Irvine, progress will be slow. I encourage bike riders to let the business that you visit on your bike know that well placed bike racks is the “right thing to do” on many levels (customer service, environment, health).
The Transportation Commission meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month in the City Council Chambers at 5:30 pm. I strongly encourage Irvine residents to bring any traffic concerns, ideas or comments to the Commission meeting. You will be welcomed to speak at the beginning of the meeting. The full City traffic engineering staff attends these meetings and they will hear your ideas and can respond to your questions. Check here for Transportation Commission agendas. The public is welcome to speak on all agenda items as well as non agenda related comments.
If you can’t wait for the next meeting, feel free to email me your questions, comments and ideas about transportation and traffic in Irvine. I will forward your comments to the appropriate City staff member.
Let’s work together to improve Irvine’s traffic and make Irvine an even better place to ride our bikes!
Thank you for the privilege of serving the residents of Irvine.
I held a public Town Hall Meeting at the Irvine Championship Stadium in the Great Park on Saturday, October 21, where we discussed traffic, childcare, the Southern California Veterans Cemetery, affordable housing, and other issues of interest to Irvine residents.
I was joined by several of my city commissioners, as well as by members of the Irvine Police Department, who were also there to answer questions.
Several dozen Irvine residents spoke and asked questions, and I thank everyone who attended.
Here are some photos from the event:
I really enjoyed the open, public dialogue with Irvine residents, and I intend to make these Town Hall Meetings a regular part of my work as an Irvine City Councilmember.
Irvine, CA — Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox was recently interviewed by Claudia Shambaugh on KUCI’s award-winning program “Ask a Leader.”
The topics covered include the new composition of the Irvine City Council, Irvine’s recent progress on environmental issues, traffic, Melissa Fox’s goals for the Great Park, and the Orange County Veterans Cemetery.
To listen to the podcast of the interview, click here.
Melissa Fox’s section of the podcast starts at 29:30, right after “Amazing Grace.”
I am pleased to announce that I have selected Kenneth Montgomery as my appointee to Irvine’s new Traffic Commission.
Kenneth Montgomery is a retired Civil Engineer with more than 40 years of experience in managing public works and trafﬁc and transportation issues as Director of Public Works for 3 Southern California Cities: Norwalk, Redondo Beach, and Laguna Niguel. Ken retired from the City of Laguna Niguel in 2009 after 18 years as that City’s ﬁrst Director of Public Works/City Engineer. He has been closely following transportation issues in Irvine for decades.
I am delighted that Ken Montgomery will be contributing his expertise and insights to fixing Irvine’s traffic problems and building a transportation system that will serve Irvine in the 21st Century.
When I ran for election to the Irvine City Council, I promised to reduce Irvine’s traffic congestion both in the long and short term, while providing more transportation choices for Irvine’s residents and commuters, and to reduce travel time, reduce noise, improve safety, improve resident access to employment and entertainment centers, improve parking and reduce emissions. Ken Montgomery is also deeply committed to these goals – and he has the expertise, experience, and vision necessary to achieve them.
As Laguna Niguel’s Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Ken managed transportation and trafﬁc issues for this new and developing city, including hiring the trafﬁc engineering staff and managing their Transportation Commission. He has also worked with Caltrans for years on redesigning freeway interchanges to minimize impacts on city streets. Ken is an expert on traffic control devices such as stops signs, new trafﬁc signals, street striping changes and school zone trafﬁc management, and has designed and implemented dozens of major and minor street improvement projects to improve trafﬁc safety, capacity and trafﬁc ﬂow.
Ken is a strong advocate for increased transportation choices as a means of traffic reduction. He was instrumental in building train stations in each of the cities he has served. He was personally responsible for the Metrolink station that serves Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo, and has worked closely with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) on the bus lines and bus stops and shelters that serve Laguna Niguel.
He is also an avid bicyclist, who knows and champions the Irvine bike trail system. Like Councilmember Fox, he is an advocate for making bicycle commuting safer and more practical.
Ken holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He and his wife Judy have resided in Irvine for 37 years and have lived in the same Woodbridge home since 1980.
Ken is an active member of Irvine Rotary Club and serves on its board. He is also an Irvine CERT member, has served on the Arborlake Home Owners Association Board of Directors, and was a volunteer for the two Solar Decathlons held in Irvine’s Great Park.
“I’m excited to seriously tackle Irvine’s traffic and transportation issues, “Montgomery said. “I look forward to working with Councilmember Melissa Fox, my fellow traffic commissioners, city staff, and all our community stakeholders in getting Irvine moving again.”
The first meeting of the Irvine Traffic Commission is scheduled for Tues., May 16, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at the City Council chambers. Like all Irvine commission meetings, it is open to the public.