Thursday, January 16, 2014

Addressing sbX public comments

Source: Omnitrans
A few days after The Press Enterprise published its Sunday headline of "Fast Buses | Big Hopes" on the sbX, the newspaper was flooded with reader comments. We'll take a look at a few and address their remarks:

Ricardo Montes de Oca, co-owner of R&V Bikes and Parts, and Philly Steak and Subs writes, "I really hope San Bernardino put all that money in for something good. ... I hope it works out." We hope so too. Just to refresh everyone's memory, the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda combined contributed 4.2% of the funds for the sbX infrastructure based on this fact sheet. Almost 74% came from the federal government, 15.7% from the state, and 6.2% from the county. Omnitrans is the agency that led this infrastructure project, not the cities.

Bud Ammons, owner of Ammons Diamond & Coin Gallery on E Street in San Bernardino stated, "Everybody’s lost business all up and down the street. ... They had parking out here for more than 100 years. This is the craziest thing I ever heard of." Whenever construction takes place at or near any establishment, fewer patrons will show up. That's a reality. Could have communications and negotiations between the affected businesses, the land owners and the government been better to offset business closures and displacement? Likely. Officials need to take whatever flaws occurred during negotiations as lessons for future projects.

Online user GabrielRFelton claimed, "So is Omni taking out the bus service on that route, so now everyone has to walk a half mile to the next shop. That sounds like progress." Last time we checked, the folks needing access to the local stops will continue to use Route 2.

Commentor Rusty_Hilli argues that the "area does not really need rapid transit. the same could have been done without new elongated buses. omnitrans needs limited stop/express service and commuter buses. having transitways/rapid transit makes no sense since almost everyone who lives in this region commutes to la/orange/san diego county." As we pointed out yesterday, sbX will provide a speedy alternative to slow local bus riders for the E-Street corrridor for riders commuting between the bookend destinations and major hubs in between. BRT is feasible and desirable and the technology has already been proven to be successful in other dense areas such as LA. However, the post was correct that better connections for out-of-area commuters is needed. The Metrolink extension into the downtown core with seamless sbX transfers will certainly address this.

Finally, a user that goes by "opaque/ebfc1cf8-5324-11e3-a4a0-000bcdcb2996" stated, "Most of the evening Cal State classes last until 10 pm. What good will this service be if it stops running at 8 pm? "Hey, kids! Take SBx to class, but have a nice walk home afterwards?" Here's a solution to that problem if a student or staff lives between downtown and CSUSB. Take Route 2. Bus departs the college at 10:35PM.

Omnitrans has heard much belly-aching over the shorter BRT operations hours and will be considering extending the sbX span beyond 8 pm should ridership warrant it. In the meantime, the local Route 2 remains an option for those needing later evening service.

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