Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's Debate: First looks at RTA's Proposed 10-Year Transit Network Plan

Get Involved: RTA is seeking public comments for its proposed 10 Year Transit Plan.
Graphic: Riverside Transit Agency

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
riversidetransit@gmail.com


The Riverside Transit Agency is in the process of putting together a 10-Year short-to-mid range transit plan as part of its Comprehensive Operational Analysis study which is about 90% finished. It is expected to be completed this fall; The Transit Coalition uses the study's findings to help formulate the Long-Range Future Vision of Inland Empire Mass Transit. A key purpose of the COA is to have transit plans and route changes at the ready to guide RTA service over the course of the next decade. RTA's last COA was conducted in 2007 which had several sound service recommendations; however, some of the proposed changes back then never materialized simply because of the 2008-2009 recession. The 2007 report is posted on Transit Coalition's website as well as a map outlining the suggested regional routes back then. For the current COA, RTA has reported that some of the changes over the 10 year span may take effect as early as January 2015.

The transit plan has many system-wide routing changes proposed and we plan to take a look at each one. While it's very preliminary, most of the routing changes are good, especially the long-overdue proposals to streamline the routes in Southwest Riverside County, improve service span on busy routes, and establish more frequent and clock-face headways.We praise RTA for its transparency and widespread public comment outlets on these important service change proposals.

The Transit Coalition will need to go through the proposed changes route-by-route, get a discussion going, and get comments over to RTA and posted to this blog.

Downtown Riverside Transit Center Update

Photo: Riverside Transit Agency
To start things off, when I scanned through the booklet for the first time, I found the bus routing proposals in the downtown area to be very interesting. A downtown transit center at the Metrolink station located near Vine Street appears to be the desired multi-modal transit hub in lieu of renovating the existing downtown terminal; however the hub would be served by the following bus routes: 15, 22, 208, 210 and 216, and Omnitrans Route 215 and SunLine Route 220. Also, both the Megabus to Las Vegas and Amtrak through-way motorcoaches currently stop at the train station. The Transit Coalition has long supported that a multi-modal transit hub be developed at the Riverside Downtown Metrolink station but is currently taking a critical look at the proposed bus routing design for the rest of the downtown routes that will not stop at the hub. Also, RTA plans to upgrade numerous stops in the area which is very desirable given the high ridership demands. Stay tuned for more information on this.

Getting back to the summary of the transit plans, RTA will have public open house meetings all over the county during the course of the next several weeks starting on Monday. The official public hearing will be later in November. By that time, the COA study should be fully completed.

Comments for the 10-Year Transit Plan are due to RTA staff by October 7. We'll keep you up-to-date as we move closer. Don't forget that the Coalition's Long Range Future Vision of Mass Transit is a continuous work-in-progress. I just want to remind our readers that we always welcome productive and robust debate. "Public Hearings" never close here. I wish to thank all of you who have submitted comments to us. Please continue to reply and post constructive remarks to our articles. I will feature some of your views every Friday on the Transportation Tips post and will have a straight response to each.

Our reader comment rules are simple: No spam or unsolicited links. No irrelevant filibustering. No personal attacks or trolling. I also want to make it clear for replies that we will not lodge any personal attacks on dissenting points of views brought up in any of our discussion circles on this blog and the social networking sites. In fact, I welcome dissenting points of view into the discussion. Yes, the reply will be a fact-based and straight response that we believe would be best for the people backed up by examples and/or hard facts. I don't believe in spinning or dancing around an important point. There will be disagreements on solutions to problems. But I must restate that without such disagreement and constructive debate, there will be no incentive for all of us, me included, to search deeper for better and more fair transit mobility solutions. That's why I take dissenting points of view into consideration.

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