By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
The Riverside Transit Agency has proposed to combine two very productive bus lines in Lake Elsinore into one: They are Routes 7 and 8, two of the agency's busiest contract-operated bus routes that serve many transit-dependent citizens living in the vast region.
The new route would form a complete bidirectional loop around the the lake with a proposed frequency of 45 minutes each way. The combined Route 7 and 8 loop would eliminate the need to transfer between the two lines. The circulator route would operate direct service in both directions using Grand Avenue, Riverside and Lakeshore drives, Heald Avenue and Mission Trail. It would be streamlined which calls for some segments to be no longer served. They are the Wildomar Assisted Living Facility, Canyon Estates, and the Casino and Boulder Vista Drive segments.
Regarding the proposed discontinued segments, the route would still travel in close proximity of the majority of the affected areas. For the most part, I don't see any serious mobility threats. However, I do agree that the connecting streets do need to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I've noticed that newer developments are including such amenities, but the infrastructure needs to be more complete throughout the entire region. Since the area includes Lake Elsinore, portions of Wildomar, and unincorporated county land, RTA should work with the three governing bodies with its Design Guidelines to ensure continued seamless access to the bus stops.
I'm also taking a critical look at the connectivity between the central Wildomar area and the Inland Valley Medical Center. As you may have noticed, the direct connection is gone. Riders would have to backtrack to the Lake Elsinore Wal-Mart and transfer to the 23. Taking a look at RTA's previous study of the bus routes in 2007, I'm leaning toward advocating for the proposed extended routing of Route 23 to serve Palomar Street and Mission Trail instead of the I-15 freeway between the Wal-Mart hub and the hospital so that the direct connection can be maintained in a productive manner. Otherwise, extensive backtracking would be required to get from the southern portions of Route 7/8 to activity centers a short distance away along Clinton Keith Road.
Anyhow, let me know what you think. Talk to you again on Wednesday.