Is this what passes for news nowadays?

Today, the Voice of OC reports that Disneyland has had input into the development of the Anaheim Rapid Connection system. Wow, what a shock. Public agencies (the smart ones, at least) always consult with and seek input from the public — which includes businesses — when developing transportation projects.  Yet, the Voice of OC and squeaky wheels like Cynthia Ward attempt to create the perception that doing so is suspect — at least when it comes to Disney.

Suppose the City of Anaheim and OCTA developed a transit system for the Anaheim Resort without any input from Disney, the largest single business in the resort? Suppose they broke ground and began construction without ever meeting with Disney and asking “Hey, you guys have 58 years of experience and loads of data on traffic patterns and resort visitor attitudes and habits. What do you think about having ARC stop at Disney Way.” Would anyone consider that intelligent planning?

[Maybe Cynthia Ward, whose published attitude is that the city can and should build some bare-bones system and Resort visitors should just suck it up and ride.]

Transportation projects are improved by seeking the input of impacted business and residents. Although the Anaheim Resort area is more than just Disneyland, it exists because of Disneyland. Millions of people come there every year, spending enormous sums of money and creating and sustaining thousands of jobs, because of Disneyland.

The usual Anaheim suspects have been demanding that Disney pay for the system. I expect that sort of talk from leftists like Jose Moreno, who have never met a corporation whose wealth they didn’t want to re-distribute. Indeed, Moreno and his cohorts want the city to impose a head tax on entry into Disneyland, Angel Stadium, the Honda Center (and likely growing list of attractions) fund their program for increased city spending.

Disney-phobia’s Warping Effect On Reason and Logic
But it is strange to hear self-identified conservatives echoing a leftist policy theme. Conservatives routinely — and rightly — blame much of the high-cost of housing on exactions and fees imposed on builders to “mitigate” the impact of more live bodies moving into an area. Want to build homes on your property? Then you’ll have to donate land for parks, pay to build streets, etc.; after all that infrastructure benefits the developer’s customers.

South Coast Plaza is a powerful traffic magnet, pulling huge numbers of motorists into its parking lots. By the logic advanced by Cynthia Ward, Jose Moreno and others, South Coast Plaza should be forced to directly fund a portion of the expansion of the 405 freeway. Indeed, this logic would demand the imposition of special exactions on all businesses located along the 405 corridor. After all, they “profit” from this massive improvement project.

“But that would be wrong since the 405 expansion is paid for by Measure M2, the half-cent sales tax which those businesses and their customers pay,” some might respond. Disney and all other resort businesses also pay the M2 tax — as well as sales and property taxes, a portion of which flow into Anaheim city coffers. Not to mention a special tax a number of Resort Area businesses have imposed upon themselves to fund ARC’s operation.

The City of Irvine will, at some point, complete the Great Park. Should the city have to pay extra to fund freeway improvements to offset increased traffic caused by all those people driving in to enjoy the wonders of the Great Park?

if we follow the logic of this thinking, henceforth all transportation projects should be accompanied by a special tax to be imposed on all businesses within a certain radius of the project, since those businesses are “profiting from the improvements.

So, the Alro Way Stop Makes the Most Sense…But Its Bad Because Disney Suggested It?
The VOC article casts in sinister tones Disney’s advice that a station on Alro Way rather than Disney Way makes more sense. Given that the single biggest ARC user group will be visitors to Disneyland, it doesn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out that the stop closest to the main gate is the best choice.  The City of Anaheim doesn’t — as the VOC article implicitly claims — to “commission a specific ridership comparison for the two different routes” in figure out that more people will rider a system that drops them off directly across the street from Disney’s main gate.

Let’s suppose an alternate future in which the ARC system is completed with a stop at Disney Way rather than Alro Way. It’s not hard to imagine articles in the Voice of OC or other media lambasting such poor planning and lambasting the city for not placing the stop across from Disney main gate, disregarding common sense and the advice of Disney.

it’s unfortunate that this article is it so blatantly tries to engender in the reader the sneaking suspicion that something is wrong, that the process for developing ARC has been illegitimate and unusual, that information is being suppressed and the development of ARC is being manipulated against the public interest.

In point of fact, it is a routine characteristic of good transportation planning to seek the input of impacted businesses. Eminent domain takings do take place;  critics might recall the Founding Fathers (who were hardly stingy in their devotion to liberty and limited government) provide for eminent domain in the Constitution.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether ARC should be a streetcar or enhanced bus service system; about whether the streetcar systems higher projected ridership warrants paying the increase cost. However, informed public discussion is not served by articles in the media and the blogosphere that are (in my opinion) characterized by prejudice against a single company and a paranoid belief that the whole endeavor is being orchestrated by a shadowy, self-interested cabal.