Friday, January 17, 2014

A look at the Long Range sbX Master Plan

Regional transportation planners have envisioned several corridors for future sbX BRT, the first of which of course being the E Street transit line that runs through the heart of San Bernardino and Loma Linda. Officials plan to expand the rapid transit network into other areas of San Bernardino County if the starting segment is found to be successful.

As mentioned earlier this week, the high density destinations along the starting route combined with a future seamless connection to/from Metrolink in downtown at the future San Bernardino Transit Center will provide sbX with a strong pool of potential riders. As officials seek choice riders to use the BRT line, the transit center project certainly will entice more commuters to leave their cars at a park & ride and take transit. With the extension of Metrolink into downtown San Bernardino where out-of-area train riders can seamlessly transfer to sbX at the E Street & Rialto Station, more choice riders will use the bus instead of driving.We have reason to believe that sbX will be a success.

Officials have long range plans to bring BRT further west which includes routes that span into the distance suburbs. It's quite clear that busy corridors such as Foothill Boulevard would be prime candidates for short to mid range planning. There's plenty of activity along these roads to warrant limited stop BRT service. Enticing smart marketplace infill growth through these segments will also be key to acquire local funding. However, some of the north/south future branches appear to span deep into suburban and even undeveloped areas based on the long range map, especially through Rialto and Eastvale. It's certainly premature to launch a clone of the E Street BRT system through these regions now, but including these corridors into longer range plans will better help the governments manage future economic growth.

Last Friday, we've advocated for officials to incorporate the future Grand/Edison sbX transit corridor into long range plans to improve transit connections between Eastvale and points west starting with a traditional local bus route that runs hourly. Please keep in mind that at present, these outer corridors are in no way feasible for full-fledged BRT just yet, but are suitable for improved traditional local service. The start-up lines should be marketed as standard local bus routes under the current demographics.

Should the market economy be inclined to develop pedestrian-friendly destinations and job hubs along these commercial corridors, especially within already developed areas, officials can use the sbX master plan to begin acquiring the funding to implement more frequent local runs, limited stop rapid runs, sbX infrastructure and branding, and ticket vending machines at major transfer hubs. Officials need to entice the market to invest in generating job sites along these corridors through proper land use planning and business friendly policies all without inducing urban sprawl, traffic congestion or disrupting what's left of the existing agricultural market. If entrepreneurs are sold into placing robust economic job hubs in places like the Eastvale Gateway area or transform central Corona into a true downtown destination, high speed multi-modal transportation options to get around the Inland Empire would become a reality.

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