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— by Angela Cotey, senior associate editor
It's been about 20 years since Anaheim, Calif., officials first began talking about building an intermodal facility in the downtown area. They knew the city needed a hub where people could access various transportation services and reach destinations such as Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center, Honda Center, Angel Stadium and area hotels.
In 2006, when Orange County voters approved an extension of transportation sales tax Measure M — which included a category for gateway transportation centers — city officials were able to piece together a funding plan that would enable them to design and build the $185 million facility.
Construction began in 2012, and the city is on pace to open the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) in November. The facility will transform Anaheim's transportation system, providing faster, more convenient connections to various modes and major destinations throughout the area, city officials believe.
"We have this core density in our city, and we needed to be able to bring transportation options to it so we could tie together the various destinations," says Natalie Meeks, Anaheim's public works director.
ARTIC will replace a small, outdated train station that serves Metrolink and Amtrak. The new intermodal center is located between Angels Stadium and the Honda Center, providing access to the venues that house the city's two professional sports teams, the Angels and Ducks. ARTIC also is about three miles away from the Disney parks, convention center and hotels that serve them.
In addition to Metrolink and Amtrak access, the station will feature 13 bus bays surrounding the building that can connect to the Orange County Transportation Authority's bus system, as well as accommodate tour buses, charter buses and shuttles that travel to Anaheim resorts, says Meeks.
When the station was designed, city officials sought to make a statement. The arched, dome-like structure "definitely has a cool factor," says David Burrus, project executive for Clark Construction Group, which is building the facility.
ARTIC also was built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum standards — the only intermodal facility in the United States to meet the environmental standards, Burrus says. A number of sustainable features were incorporated into the facility, including a system that air conditions only the first 12 to 15 feet above the ground; the rest is natural air that is kept cool through special flooring and strategically placed jet diffusers, Burrus says.
Construction coordination was challenging at times. Workers built new half-mile-long platforms on each side of the tracks while trains were still active, requiring close coordination between Metrolink, Amtrak and construction officials.
"There were probably 20 or 30 different scopes of work that needed to be coordinated," says Burrus. "We have a full-time person that does nothing but coordinate with the railroads."
The effort will be worth it come November, project officials say.
"Orange County is very car-centric, so we needed to be able to show that transit is for everybody — not just people who don't own a car," says Meeks. "We wanted a high-quality facility that was inviting, aesthetic and really spoke to transit being a viable, convenient choice and a pleasurable experience."