The Transit Coalition’s A Better Inland Empire has updated its long term Future Vision of Inland Empire Mass Transit based on data from updated feasibility studies, long range transportation plans, short range agency proposals, the media, growth patterns, and public feedback. On top of what we advocate here in Los Angeles, here’s a rundown of the long term vision of transit for the Inland Empire:
- New urban bus rapid transit lines throughout the Inland Empire for dense corridors including Magnolia Avenue and University Avenues in Riverside, Perris and Alessandro Boulevards in Moreno Valley and Perris, and numerous corridors in San Bernardino County. BRT would emulate the Metro Orange Line with dedicated lanes through the high density development areas and Metro Rapid elsewhere with high service frequency and early morning to late night service span.
- Transit gaps closed in between regions from early morning to late night, 7 days per week.
- Metrolink MAX: Increased, frequent, and corridor-based Metrolink service combined with the possible return of Class One high-speed intercity rail service, including late nights and weekends, for potential combined 30 minute frequency between trains with additional peak-hour runs.
- High Speed Rail done right: Separated rail grade crossings with electrified passenger rail service to get regional and intercity passenger trains up to high-speed standards.
- Local infrastructure and incentives for private intercity bus lines to stop their buses at public transit stations and policies that strengthen competition for improved marketplace service and lower fares.
- 5-10 minute timed transfers between major routes at transfer hubs and stations. Enhanced bus and rail scheduling at transfer hubs to minimize waiting time.
- High occupancy carpool and express toll lanes that support free non-transponder 2+ or 3+ carpooling with rapid express bus transit infrastructure and stations placed within a few blocks from the freeway with park & ride amenities. Local usage policies that designate corridors for high occupancy vehicle and transit travel to maximize the number of people traveling through per hour.
- Noise and weather protection for bus and rail transit stations along or near freeways.
- Additional park-and-ride locations and expansion of overflowing parking lots.
- Policies that will entice commercial airlines to better use the Ontario Airport with competitive fares.
- Improved rider safety, security, and teams of volunteer transit ambassadors at major hubs and onboard transit vehicles.
It should be noted that the Inland Empire will also remain the nexus of freight movement in Southern California and the rest of the nation for the foreseeable future. However, the ongoing widening of the Panama Canal could affect the growth in the regional logistics industry, and any disruption could hit the Inland Empire in ways that have yet to be calculated. While the widened canal would allow ships to circumvent the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles entirely, estimates as to just how much cargo would go elsewhere vary wildly. Much of the damage could be mitigated if West Coast ports improve their facilities so that they can harbor the next generation of large cargo vessels.
The GRID SuperDock could dramatically increase container throughput and mitigate the challenges from the Canal widening.