Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CA-HSR Makes Bad Decision

The Authority has narrowed down the alignment through Riverside, and that pretty much means downtown is not an option. The Watkins Drive station (originally proposed by the Authority and shot down by neighbourhood groups) was withdrawn as well, but another station that I hadn't heard of- the Martin Luther King Blvd. station (at MLK/Chicago) got shot down. The two stations under consideration for the Riverside area are Corona (at Cajalco Road near the Dos Lagos shopping centre) and March Field (at I-215 and Alessandro Blvd.). The main factor to decide between the two will be whether the I-15 or I-215 alignments are chosen.

The thing is that other station options in the San Gabriel Valley were rejected for poor intermodal connections or unsuitability for TOD. The only reasons listed against the MLK option? "City and UC Riverside support March Field." The defense for March? You guessed it- "City of Riverside and UC Riverside expressed a preference for this site." Oh, and it's got easy access from the freeway- 'cuz don'tcha know that's what matters out here?

Even the Temecula-Murrieta station is being chosen based on intermodal accessibility- to the point that, at some times of day (commute hours), it'd be easier for me to get to the proposed Murrieta station car-free than the Riverside station. (A quick bike ride/walk/2 stops on the 16 to lot 30, then the 208 straight to HSR vs. 16 downtown to connect to 22 to connect to 20, all local and the latter two only hourly.) Probably easiest for Riverside transit riders will be the San Bernardino station, located at their new downtown transit center, with easy connections on Metrolink and Omni 215.

CAHSRA, City of Riverside, UCR... all I have to say is fuck you very, very much.

(EDIT: Sorry, in my rage I forgot to tell you that the Transit Coalition has the alignment analysis for your perusal.)


Anonymous said...

This is bullshit. There has to be something that can be done. Perhaps a letter-writing campaign?

Chewie said...

Do you think that March Field place has any TOD potential? I'm not really familiar with the area. It may be a crappy site in terms of what's there now, but if you put down a parking structure and a neighborhood there the game could change in the long run.

I feel like the CAHSRA is trying to do this on the cheap. Not a good idea, if people actually want this train to be used.

Maybe you could go to the City and say (if this place is chosen): "you picked a bad site so at least tell me you're going to upzone some of the land around it".

Anonymous said...

Just a point of clarity...the Metrolink Perris Valley line would connect at March, as would future commercial air travel out of March. There is also talk of a Riverside BRT line connecting as well. Combine that with the ability to develop the land around the station and I understand the rationale. Not that you can be rational about these matters...

JN said...

@Chewie- There is development potential there, at least in the form of empty land, but ToD will take a long, long time. To the north and south are low-density warehouses and office parks, to the east is an Air Force base, and to the west for just under 7 miles is low-density suburban tract homes, most of which are literally walled off from the street. You could build something mixed-use on the site, but that one project would be hard-pressed to support the kind of frequent, all day transit that would make living in a ToD worth it.

@Anon 13:16-
Metrolink is not Metro Rail or BART. It is not an all-day daily transit service. At present, the PVL is scheduled for 6 trains a day, 5 days a week, all during commute hours and in peak direction. That means that the PVL will help get Riversiders to HSR on precisely three trains a day, all during the evening rush. Since the PVL is an extension of the 91 Line, further trips will require more terminal capacity in Los Angeles, which will take quite some time to build.
RTA has two BRT lines under consideration at the moment, the 1 Limited and 16 Limited. (These are old names, they may have changed by now.) As indicated by their names, they roughly follow routes 1 and 16. The 16 is the closer of the two, at 2 miles from the HSR site. Currently, the site is directly served by the 20 (hourly, short span, doesn't connect downtown), and is within a half-mile of the 22 (hourly) and 27 (hourly). None of these routes would make a good BRT, primarily for the reasons I cited in my response to Chewie above. A transit line is not sustained by one endpoint, but by consistent patronage all along the line.
Future commercial air service out of March is speculative at best. Remember the riot in local politics over DHL flights there? Passenger jets aren't quiet either. Even if there was commercial service, the HSR site is 2 miles away from the terminal area of the airport as the crow flies, and even further by road. "Connect" is a misrepresentation.

We could develop land downtown- in fact, developers ARE developing land right next to the 91 on University right now. You can see the crane from UCR. Land doesn't have to be empty to be developed.

I think these are all rational analyses. If you disagree... why do you read my blog?

Anonymous said...

I read your blog because I like a laugh every now and then.