Thursday, July 28, 2011

sbX Contracts Approved

Sneaky San Bernardino... while I was away, they approved the construction contracts for the new sbX bus rapid transit project. According to the PE, construction is slated to begin this year. Congratulations to Omnitrans for starting work on the inland area's first rapid transit project!

Oh, yeah. The contract bid was also nearly 20% below budget.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Gearheads are Coming Around

Car and Driver, one of the oldest and most-respected automobile magazines in the country, is on our side:

It is an axiom of traffic planners that increased speed due to capacity building is temporary; as traffic flows more smoothly, word gets out, and that attracts more traffic, eventually causing the same traffic-flow issues as before. The inevitable conclusion is that we cannot possibly build enough roads to satisfy demand, so we must consider alternative transportation systems.

This country has not had a comprehensive transportation strategy in decades, but now is an excellent time to consider one. And that means we need to take a hard look at what role highways should play and how they fit into the broader transportation network. Sprawling car-centric cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Dallas are rushing to build new mass-transit systems—they have to; the roads they have cannot satisfy demand. So they must harmonize with other modes of transportation to reduce the stress on existing roadways as much as possible.

Remember- public transit makes life better for everyone. Nobody likes being stuck in traffic. Everyone wants a little more time in their day. Everyone wants cleaner air, better water, and stronger communities-- even people who love their cars. Along with Wired, I previously argued that recreational driving is not the problem, and that even auto addicts ought to be able to reap the benefits of a more diverse transportation system. It seems that the auto addicts agree with me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

PV Line Approved!

Inland News Today reports that RCTC approved the final environmental impact report for the Perris Valley Line Metrolink extension. They expect federal approval "within weeks" and construction starting by the end of the year.

Of course, the PVL will do very little to shift mobility patterns out here in Riverside County. Commuter rail is really a tool to reduce inner-city traffic, and to provide for a smoother commute for suburb-CBD trips. Still, more transit is more transit, and I will look forward to riding the rails to the Orange Empire Railway Museum- the Perris depot has been designed to provide a cross-platform transfer to their excursion trains.