Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting Metrolink and More Express Buses into Lake Elsinore and Temecula



What is all planned and envisioned to improve Southwest Riverside County mass transit? Our Long Range Future Vision of Inland Empire Mass Transit advocates for fast and frequent multi-modal transit moblity options for the I-15 and I-215 Freeway corridors in between the greater Los Angeles area and San Diego through the Southwest Riverside County region supported by a robust market economy, less crime, and sound fiscal spending. The long-range vision plans for high speed intercity rail lines for both the I-15 and I-215 corridors in which local regional services like Metrolink can be a part of.

We are long past time to be able to transverse from places like Lake Elsinore and Temecula via mass transit quickly. Here is a run-down of what is being proposed and what we are advocating:

Short-Range:

  • Develop the Twin Cities Transit Center located at or near the border of Temecula and Murrieta and ensure that it is compatible to handle the future rail service.
  • Restructure and streamline the circuitous local bus routes in Temecula and Murrieta into a more-direct, hub-and-spoke routing system with the Twin Cities Transit Center serving as the main hub supported by minor transfer hubs in Old Town Temecula and the Southwest Justice Center area. Several government studies back this notion up.
  • As part of the route streamlining, run a direct local bus route from Pechanga to Lake Elsinore with major stops at Old Town Temecula, the Jefferson Avenue corridor, Twin Cities Transit Center, Murrieta Civic Center/Downtown, the Inland Valley Medical Center hub, central Wildomar, the Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium area and the Lake Elsinore Outlet Center. Major smart growth development proposals are planned for this Historic Highway 395 corridor.
  • Streamline Route 61 in north Murrieta and extend north to the Perris Station Transit Center.
  • Close the Lake Elsinore-to-Corona off-peak transit gap with an all-day regional connector operating every hour between downtown Lake Elsinore and the Corona Transit Center. The connector could be an extension or interlined with Route 3.
  • Announce a mid-range master plan to bring high occupancy vehicle express lanes and bus transit infrastructure to the I-15 Freeway in between Escondido and the high desert and ensure future rail/highway projects are compatible for the upgrades. Start acquiring the funds. Hold the state accountable for ensuring infrastructure costs are not inflated.
  • Study potential locations for direct access ramps in between the planned high occupancy lanes and adjacent transit centers. 
  • Finish and open both phases of the French Valley interchange project.
  • Build the Temecula Parkway interchange project and make sure it is compatible for longer-range infrastructure projects for the freeway.
  • Construct and open the Temecula Parkway Park & Ride. Get its inflated costs down to the market rate. 
  • Incline the private sector to expand intercity bus service competition for improved services into Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas for the I-15 corridor with stops at or near public transit centers.

Mid-Range:
Conceptual I-15 HOV Express Lanes direct access ramp in Temecula
  • Advance and acquire the funding to extend the Perris Valley Line south to the Twin Cities Transit Center with a branch into the Hemet Valley which should be coordinated with statewide high speed rail plans.
  • Develop a central multi-modal transit center in Lake Elsinore in the downtown or Diamond Stadium area.
  • Start advancing plans for the I-15 Rail Corridor between San Diego and Ontario with direct connections to Los Angeles via existing or planned high speed rail lines. Like the PVL, the plans should be coordinated with statewide HSR.
  • Add a second north/south local bus route for the I-215 corridor in between the Twin Cities Transit Center and the Perris Station Transit Center as the medical sector grows in the region.
  • Add an all-day regional connector from the Twin Cities Transit Center to NCTD buses down south.
  • Work with the Reservation Transportation Authority for a direct connector from the Twin Cities Transit Center to the casino resorts in north San Diego County via the Pechanga Resort with potential owl service on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • With the economic growth in the region, speed up the plan to get carpool lanes on the I-215 freeway south of Moreno Valley with potential direct access ramps at transit centers and connecting HOV infrastructure. 
  • Get the I-15 Express Lanes/bus infrastructure fully funded, paid for, debt-free, and constructed in between Escondido and Corona. Adopt San Diego County's usage policies of free non-transponder 2+ carpooling for the system.

Long-Term:
  • Get the private sector on board to fund and complete the intercity rail network.
  • Implement rapid express bus service using the express lane and direct access ramp infrastructure as the region continues to grow. Operate one line in between the Twin Cities Transit Center into San Diego County. Operate a second line from Downtown Lake Elsinore into Orange County.
  • As smart growth development matures along the Jefferson Avenue and Highway 395 corridors, upgrade the bus route serving the corridor with limited stop rapid runs with possible dedicated lanes through dense areas.
Did we miss anything that sounds desirable? Are we making any mistakes? Post them in the comments and we'll debate so we can better form sound and fact-based propositions to improve the region's mass transit options and quality of life.

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