Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grids? Bad idea

Tonight, the City Council formally designated the empty lot across Vine from the Metrolink station as a site for the future multi-modal transit center. This is, unfortunately, after they had to divert $2 million of federal money to the existing downtown terminal due to deadlines. I'm not happy to see a bunch of money poured in to renovating the terminal, because it is still inconveniently far from the Metrolink station, but I suppose a renovated terminal is better than losing $2 million in transit dollars.

Anyway, this designation is a welcome step forward, but I was very concerned to hear that the Council mentioned something about RTA moving towards a grid system during the meeting. I've posted previously on how a grid system works, and how RTA shouldn't be run as a grid due to the geography and funding constraints. Now, unless the Council and RTA are coming up with a way to basically triple the agency's budget (oh please oh please oh please), I hope this grid system talk just goes away.

Furthermore, I am frightened by the fact that Councilman Melendrez, who sits on the RTA board, and City Manager Scott Barber, have no idea what a grid system is.


Anonymous said...

To be honest, the 2 million will barely cover the expense to add bus bays, and improved amenities. I don't expect things to improve much at this point in time.

Also, don't the current RTA routes, at least in Riverside try to emulate a grid, such as routes 1, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15. Or is this due to the city's design. Likewise, Moreno Valley routes emulate a grid, though less so than the Riverside routes.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, there will currently be no money going to the Downtown Terminal for any improvements.

JN said...

Anon #1- No, RTA runs a hub-and-spoke system. A grid system would see routes along most major streets, and transfers would happen at each corner where you wanted to turn, eg. if you wanted to go from Downtown to the airport you'd take a route down Magnolia to Arlington, then transfer to a route running on Arlington. The current system (in both Riverside and MoVal) is oriented towards major transfer points-- the Downtown Terminal and Tyler Mall in Riverside, the Moreno Valley Mall in Moreno Valley. Notice that there aren't many east-west elements in either city, and that all the routes radiate out from central points.

The reason Riverside looks kind of grid-ish is because of two things. One, the city is designed with a reasonably strong arterial grid, so that's where stuff is. Two, there are two hubs in Riverside, so a lot of the transit network spends its time traveling between the two, making the radial pattern less obvious.

Anon 2-- You're right. It looks like the City has told RTA to relocate its major transit center out to BFE. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I'm going to raise unholy hell about it.