A New Year for Inland Empire Transit Advocacy

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

Happy New Year to all of our readers!

I have a number of stories in the works ranging from high occupancy toll lanes to improving urban corridors, to growing jobs and maintaining quality and affordable housing options in dense employment areas.

First, here's a rundown of the HOT Lanes: I was in Los Angeles during the Christmas break and had an opportunity to check out the I-10 Metro ExpressLanes first-hand which included observing how both the Silver Streak and Metro Silver Line BRT express services fared in terms of connectivity. Plus, I also stopped into Corona to check out the 91 Express Lanes extension project construction progress and what goes on each day at the adjacent North Main Corona Transit Center during rush hour.

Plus, during one of my Corona rush hour field studies in the rain, Amtrak Southwest Chief Train #3 from Chicago proceeded on through while my camera was rolling. I've got some good information and plan to share it with you soon. If designed right, HOT lanes will certainly speed up freeway express, intercity and private charter bus services.

Photo: Omnitrans
Secondly, there was a recent poll that the Streetsblog Network published last month that asked readers to vote for the Best Urban Street Transformation of 2014. The poll asked for the best recent examples of multi-modal infrastructure improvements within city center cores that involved a transformation of a car-oriented downtown street into a complete, multi-modal urban life boulevard. Here were the finalists:
  • E Street, San Bernardino, CA
  • Western Avenue, Cambridge, MA
  • Washington Avenue, Minneapolis
  • Broadway, Seattle
  • Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh

1,774 readers participated in the poll. To my surprise. San Bernardino's E Street blew the competition away with a whopping 48% of the vote, nearly beating the runner-up by almost twice the vote. Cambridge placed second with 24%. Minneapolis got 16%. Seattle received 7% and Pittsburgh got 5%. Omnitrans' sbX Green line corridor thus received quite a bit of positive publicity.

Special thanks to Justin Nelson of the Riding in Riverside transit blog for spreading the word on this story locally and to all the supporters who campaigned for San Bernardino's landslide win including Marven Norman for the nomination and Matt Korner for the lively debate in the article's comments. I want to ensure this discussion gets seen. It's quite clear that the good people of San Bernardino want the city to be at its best state and are reaching out to make that happen. Count on a future post on this story.

Talk to you again later this week.