Riverside County Transit Briefing: UCR Metrolink, Perris Valley Line, etc.

by: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

It's been a busy month for me personally on the work front. I know it's been a while since I've posted commentary on transportation related matters as I've been on the run, but I'm not complaining. With the market economy the way it is right now, I'm thankful for the jobs I'm taking.

Anyway, I predict there's going to be some major stories unfolding during the fall as the governing boards return from their August recess.  Here's a run down:

Riverside County Regional Transportation Summit

Concept: I-15 Express Lanes through Wildomar with transit infrastructure and free non-transponder carpooling for RTA Route 206, charters, casino buses, future public express lines, and 2+ HOV's.
Note: Concept only. Not endorsed by RCTC or any public entity.
The Riverside County Transportation Commission has been holding county-wide public comment forums on regional mobility. The input would be used to guide and improve transportation planning. The last forum scheduled is September 23 in Hemet. The Transit Coalition will submit a report to RCTC and I'll have it available for viewing through this blog. Many of you have posted some valid points on issues and I'll be sure such concerns are included.

UC Riverside Metrolink Station
Another big happening occurring now is the recent campaign to bring a Metrolink Perris Valley Line station stop to U.C. Riverside. The Transit Coalition does support it and it will be a part of our submitted comments, but it's going to take much more than simply knocking on RCTC's door and petitioning them to build a station.

Keep in mind there's a legal settlement stemming from an environmental lawsuit that obstructs any form of UCR station proposals by RCTC. But that's no excuse to do nothing as the blockage is over trivial matters. There probably needs to be some overdue reform of CEQA and other laws at the state level that would give RCTC better negotiating room to overturn this part of the settlement without us having to fork more tax money over to the opposing party and their lawyers. Can anybody answer this question straightly and back it up with facts: How on Earth would a Metrolink train station stop at UC Riverside be an environmental pollutant?

Metrolink Perris Valley Line

Speaking of the Perris Valley Line, construction continues to move forward. Weekday 91 Line trips extended from Riverside are proposed to serve the new rail infrastructure. There is a push to get a segment in between its southern terminal into San Bernardino given trip demands between San Bernardino and Moreno Valley are high. That could be possible under a corridor-based system where selected trips (ie. every other departure) from Los Angeles Union Station would turn around at the San Bernardino downtown transit center and continue south to Perris and eventually into Temecula once the latter extension is funded and built. Plus, if the Riverside Line also used the PVL branch, that would greatly speed up the end-to-end trip times between Perris and Los Angeles since this route is more direct than via the 91 Line. The Transit Coalition is also exploring the possibility of Riverside Line and/or 91 Line trips continuing southwest from LAUS toward LAX via LA Metro Harbor Subdivision corridor.

Social and Family Rebuilding in Troubled Neighborhoods

Violent gang crime and drug abuse continues to be an epidemic all over Southern California. Just turn on the local news on television or read the newspaper and let it speak for itself. Toward the end of July, I posted an executable solution to this madness. I did have an idea of transforming dead or slow shopping malls into robust youth districts where troubled youth can turn to for social acceptance and job networking in lieu the criminal street culture. Strong law enforcement would directly deter violence and illegal drug sales in these areas. I'll have some more ideas posted soon on this very troubling topic.

Most of the other transit happenings are more local but certainly not trivial. I'm keeping an eye on the progress of getting peak-hour, limited stop RapidLink bus service for Riverside, what needs to happen to improve connectivity between Corona and hubs in Orange County, Chino, Ontario, and Lake Elsinore, and the progress of the World Logistics Center in Moreno Valley.

I'll be sure to cover them in a future post and I do appreciate you following us.