Thanks to the article in The Times about the Walt Disney Co.'s plan to extend its monorail operations (“Transit Tomorrowland Style,” March 23) Orange County got a small preview of a hopeful future.
As a viable mass transit system, monorail trains make sense. Especially in the case of the Disneyland monorail system. First, they are elevated and do not contribute to traffic congestion, as do buses. Have you ever come to a screeching halt while driving because a stopped bus has completely blocked the flow of traffic in your lane?
Second, because an elevated monorail train system could be built almost anywhere, you have an accessible transit system that is not limited to a pre-existing rail network, such as is Amtrak. Because local Amtrak service only operates on the pre-established rail lines, it only serves the areas that other railroads serve or once served, which mainly consist of industrial complexes and the old Santa Fe passenger route to Los Angeles. Have you ever tried to pick up Amtrak from Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach or Costa Mesa?
Thirdly, monorails are a vision of the future. Rather than building another lane onto our already overtaxed freeways or adding another Amtrak train on the limited Los Angeles-to-San Diego rail corridor, picture a transit system that glides above the street traffic and not among it.
Imagine sleek, streamlined monorail trains whispering effortlessly along their elevated rail, unhindered and efficient. Imagine a Utopian Orange County where you can board a monorail train and go anywhere. And just imagine an Orange County not solely dependent on the automobile. Imagine an elevated monorail train whispering above the middle of the ever-congested 91 Freeway, with stations in Santa Ana and Orange and Riverside and Moreno Valley. If commuters had the choice, would they take the monorail? If they had a choice.
Back to reality. Have you ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Harbor Boulevard and heard the honking bleat of the Disneyland monorail above you? Chances are most of us have at one time or another. You probably glanced skyward, only to catch sight of it as it sped by like a shimmering vision of tomorrow . . . today!