The Irvine Ranch® Master Plan anticipates its growth, as well as its build-out.
It also accommodates for and phases in systems over time to account for traffic volumes, utility requirements and educational needs.
Building on existing freeway systems and networks of arterial streets, a hierarchy of roads was developed as a part of the Master Plan in the early 1960s. This system was envisioned to enhance each community’s quality of life by assuring mobility while minimizing traffic through villages.
Hundreds of miles of bike paths and trails allow residents to travel throughout The Ranch to neighborhoods, villages and cities. And an extensive water reclamation system serves the City of Irvine and portions of surrounding cities.
By doing the definitive work early on, such as developing comprehensive water and sewer systems, thoughtful and deliberate planning of circulation and communication, and anticipating educational needs, future generations will benefit from the vision that went into the Master Plan.
WATER & SEWER
In a semi-arid region such as The Irvine Ranch, using water wisely is critical. For the Irvine Company, that has long meant pioneering innovative ways of reusing water at every opportunity possible. Working closely through the years with Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD), reclaimed water has become ubiquitous throughout The Ranch.
A milestone in efforts to conserve and reclaim water arrived in 1967 when IRWD, with support from the Irvine Company, opened the Michelson Water Reclamation Plant. The water district is fond of saying that “water shouldn’t be used just once.” Through an ongoing collaboration that focuses on innovations such as an extensive dual-pipe delivery system (one for potable water and one for reclaimed water), the communities on The Irvine Ranch are a national model of wise water use.
The process of the circulation system for The Irvine Ranch began in the 1960s with the planning of the City of Irvine. The proposed system was a hierarchy of roads, which was uncommon. But planners were confident that such a system would be a critical element in the success of The Ranch’s unique Master Plan. It would enhance each village’s quality of life, assure mobility and minimize traffic through villages. It also would be expandable to accommodate future growth.
Most communities are served by a traditional grid system, where major arterial roads are close together. In many cases these traditional systems divide, rather than unite, neighborhoods.
The Irvine Ranch® Master Plan envisioned neighborhoods and villages being served by a hierarchy of roads. This system uses four road types, each one progressively larger and designed for a specific function that results in better mobility throughout The Ranch. They are:
- Local roads are designed for low-volume traffic at low speeds. Typically, they have two lanes and run through many neighborhoods.
- Community collector roads link neighborhoods to allow drivers to make short trips within a village to school or the grocery store without using major roads. Examples include East/West Yale Loop, Turtle Rock Drive and the Northwood Loop.
- Parkways handle trips around town that require traveling outside villages. These include Alton Parkway, Barranca Parkway and Harvard Avenue.
- Thruways, also known as major arterials, are six lanes and carry the largest volumes of traffic at higher speeds to provide Irvine commuters access to the regional transportation system and provide more efficient longer trips across the city. Examples are Irvine Center Drive and Jamboree Road.