|Photo: © Riding in Riverside CC-BY-SA|
The Transit Coalition has long been advocating for better Metrolink and bus service through the central City of Riverside. Both the Riverside Transit Agency and the city government have big plans to bring rapid transit along the city's dense corridors. A light rail car to be delivered to San Diego made a stop in downtown Riverside. The Siemens S70 train was parked on University Avenue offering a real-time preview of what rapid rail transit might look like along the streets of Riverside. Based on a Riding in Riverside blog post, city officials hope that one day, Riverside will mimic Portland complete with multi-modal transit mobility and transit oriented development. The project at hand is Riverside Reconnects, a streetcar proposal advocated by the City of Riverside.
|Proposed Streetcar Study Area|
Photo: © Riding in Riverside CC-BY-SA
We want the very best public transit systems for Riverside with quick and speedy alternatives to get across town. But at the same point, we don't want politician's pet projects nor government waste to obstruct other vital transportation projects. Riverside Reconnects can work if it's done right. Here are some facts.
Coordinating Riverside Reconnects with RTA's RapidLink BRT Proposal
|Source: Riverside Transit Agency|
There is no question that both the Magnolia and University Avenue corridors are need of better rapid transit options and a quick and speedy alternative to slower local bus service for longer trips. Could the city benefit with the streetcar system? How about light rail? Or maybe BRT that mimics LA's Metro Orange Line through dense areas?
Both agencies need to work to actually get first-rate transit lines built for Riverside and both need to agree on which technology would work best in regards to moving people and keeping costs in check, whether it be rails or BRT. The city also needs to ensure Riverside Reconnects doesn't bypass Metrolink. In terms of connecting the city's existing and proposed mass transit system to Southern California's regional rail system, the sound idea of establishing the downtown transit hub at the Metrolink station with a pedestrian overpass across the 91 Freeway into the core has been on the drawing board for almost a decade. As pictured here, job development incentives can transform the train station into a robust transit and marketplace employment hub with the transit center, a Riverside Reconnects station stop, and the bridge integrated into the development. The infrastructure would be fully paid for. No taxpayer debt. No waiting for decades for public money. Getting private capital and marketplace jobs into Downtown Riverside will be key to getting a funded, robust transit system for Riverside's streets.