Tag Archives: bus san bernardino

Q & A with a Planner

Planning project manager Anna Rahtz recently received the Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter award. Anna managed the Omnitrans Transit Design Guidelines project, which has earned the Focused Issue Planning Award from the American Planning Association – Inland Empire Section. We recently caught up with her to ask her a few questions about the guidelines, upcoming projects and her personal use of public transit.

Can you talk a little bit about what was involved with the transit design guidelines?

“The Omnitrans Transit Design Guidelines was the brainchild of our planning director, Rohan Kuruppu, and I worked on it as the project manager. It is basically a combination of our Bus Stop Design Guidelines document as well as a ‘lessons learned’ guide based on our experience with the sbX corridor in San Bernardino and Loma Linda. We always get lots of questions when the cities are trying to plan their future corridors or put in bus stops. They want to know how much space is needed, how long is the bus stop, how wide is the sidewalk, what are the ADA requirements. We also get lots of questions about the bus rapid transit (BRT) stations–how much space does it take up and how do you fit it into the street cross section?

Our consultants, Parsons Gruen, and MIG, took everything they had learned from working on the sbX project and compiled it into a toolkit. Now when designers, consultants, developers, city staff or others have questions about how to make these things work, they can refer to this toolkit for answers. City staff has already made a lot of use of it because cities like Highland, Ontario, and Fontana are doing their own BRT studies now. They’ve been able to integrate it into what they’re planning instead of reinventing the wheel.

Right now the Omnitrans Transit Design Guidelines is a PDF document, but we’re working on setting it up as an online interactive tool as well.”

What do you like best about being a planning project manager?

“I actually think I enjoy the smaller projects the most because they are more tangible and can be completed in a faster time frame. Recently I worked with several cities and our planning interns Allison and Alvaro to complete a grant application for SANBAG funds to improve pedestrian access to bus stops, including replacing and constructing new sidewalks.  Improving pedestrian infrastructure is extremely important.

Anna Rahtz and Omnitrans Planning Director Rohan Kuruppu

Can you tell us a little about any major upcoming projects?

“One of the main projects we will be kicking off in the next couple of months is the route 61 corridor through Pomona, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana.

The current 61 is our highest ridership corridor with more than 6,000 boardings a day. We’re looking at ways to speed it up because it currently takes about an hour and a half to go from one end of the corridor to the other. There are 92 stops in the 20 miles.

Our consultants Parsons are doing an alternatives analysis so we can determine the best way to tackle the issue. One of the biggest criteria for federal funding is cost effectiveness. So we look at what the cost would be of various measures we could use, such as transit signal priority, dedicated bus lanes, or just reducing the number of stops. The corridor could also be developed in phases–maybe by incorporating a limited stop express bus and later transitioning to bus rapid transit. We look at the cost of all these things and how it would impact both ridership and the movement of traffic along the corridor.”

Why not just put another bus in service on the corridor?

“Frequency helps a lot, but we also have to focus on decreasing the amount of time it takes for the bus to get through the corridor because, as traffic congestion worsens, our buses slow down. Alternatives like dedicated bus lanes and traffic signal priority help the buses move much more quickly.”

I know you regularly use public transit yourself. Do you feel it’s important for you to do that? Is it a personal or professional choice?

“Both. I’ve always taken transit whenever I could ever since I was in grad school.  As a student, I was dependent on the bus. I don’t really like driving a whole lot to begin with, and driving is getting more and more expensive.  So I think it’s really important to have options. I prefer riding my bicycle, taking the bus, or both, whenever possible. I find that bus riders are like a community, and the people are generally pretty courteous to each other.

As a transit planner, I do think you have to be a rider in order to understand how a rider experiences the system. I find I am constantly taking my observations as a rider and applying them to my planning projects. That’s why all of us in the planning department ride all the routes in the system regularly.

Do you use NexTrip when you’re traveling?

“Yes. It’s actually been working out for me very well. I can use it to see when the next bus is arriving at the stop so I know how long I have to wait for a transfer. Then I can decide whether it’s faster to catch the bus there or if I should bike over to an alternative stop instead. It’s a huge help to be able to access live bus information from your phone. ”

 

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely reposted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Station Work Begins on Hospitality

New sod, trees and other types of plants have been put in on the south side of Hospitality Lane.

Construction progress on Hospitality Lane has become quite apparent during the past month as concrete driveways and sidewalks have re-opened and new landscaping has been planted along the south side of the street. In fact, on the west end of Hospitality Lane, traffic control has been lifted near E Street and the public can now see the new width of the street.

Additionally, new concrete bus pads have been poured at Omnitrans Route 2 stops along the south side of Hospitality Lane and slot asphalt paving is expected to begin at the end of April. The slot paving will allow traffic lanes to moved outward as construction crews begin to work on the center-running lane stations at Hunts Lane and Carnegie Drive.

During the next few weeks, the planter walls at the Tippecanoe Avenue station on Hospitality Lane will be formed and poured.

On the east end of Hospitality Lane, crews have achieved key milestones in building the center-running lane station at Tippecanoe Avenue. The concrete structure slab has been poured and planter walls will be formed and poured during the next few weeks.

-Robert Chevez
rchevez@westboundcommunications.com

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Visit Omnitrans sbX on Facebook
http://facebook.com/omnitrans.sbx

 

sbX Construction Alert for October 15-19

The sbX weekly construction update lists the places, dates, times and details of construction activity currently taking place in San Bernardino in preparation for the sbX bus rapid transit project.

Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue Park-and-Ride-Facility

  • Parameters: South of Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue intersection
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Installation of lighting poles
  • LANE CLOSURE: No traffic control in effect

CSUSB

  • Parameters: New bus station location on campus
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Landscaping activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: No traffic control in effect.

Marshall Blvd. Park-and-Ride Facility

  • Parameters: Northeast & northwest corners of E Street and Marshall Blvd.
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Curb, bus pad and gutter work, electrical activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect

E Street

  • Parameters: Select locations between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb, gutter and sidewalk work continues, including sidewalk removal between Church and 2nd Streets, traffic signal activities, electrical activities, landscaping activities.
  • Please note: On Monday, October 8, parking along the west side of E Street between 6th and 2nd Streets was eliminated to accommodate construction activities.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect along E Street between 10th Street and Rialto Avenue.

 Hospitality Lane

  • Parameters: Select locations between E Street and Tippecanoe Avenue
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Intermittent Day Work
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues,  electrical activities, street light activities, landscaping activities.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect along Hospitality Lane between E Street and Tippecanoe Avenue.

 Various Bus Station Locations

  • Parameters: Little Mountain Drive, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard, Highland Avenue, Baseline Street
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Platform structure activities such as erecting structure steel and rebar placement. storm drain activities.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect at some locations.
To establish a safe work environment for crews and the public, the construction crew has implemented traffic control measures that allow for at least one lane in each direction to be open during construction. Maintaining access to businesses is a high priority as part of this project. As such, signage is placed throughout the corridor to inform the public that they are open for business.


About sbX

The sbX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project is the first-of-its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire. It is the beginning of an intermodal public transit system in the San Bernardino Valley that will help reduce vehicle congestion while providing the public an environmentally friendly alternative that is sophisticated, cost effective, and time efficient.

The 15.7-mile corridor spans between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. It will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Visit the Omnitrans sbX Facebook page!
http://facebook.com/omnitrans.sbx

Public transit trial gains a new rider for Omnitrans

Being a one-car family when you have to juggle appointments, schools and job can be challenging, but ridesharing can definitely make things a bit easier. Silas Molina, an Eligibility Worker for the County of San Bernardino, lives in Mentone with his wife Anne and their four children. For the past 2 1/2 years he’s been carpooling to the office in the morning with a co-worker, and his family has been picking him up in the afternoon.

When his co-worker went out on vacation a couple of weeks ago, Silas was forced to look for an alternative means of transportation. “It was impossible for my wife to drop me off in the mornings because she had to get the kids to school. My only other option was to take the bus. So I started riding Omnitrans.”

The experience was nothing like what he had expected. “I was intimidated at first,” he admitted. “I expected tons of people and long travel times. But it worked out really well. It takes me exactly one hour to get to work every day, and the bus has always been on time. The trip is pleasant, and I can read, listen to music or even work on my computer.”

In fact, his experience has been so good that Silas has made the decision to continue to use Omnitrans for the ride home once his co-worker returns.

“My wife and I calculated the expense and realized that it cost us $6 a day just for her to pick me up from work,” Silas explained. “And it’s also more convenient for her to be able to stay home with the kids in the afternoon. The bus has been a positive experience for me, and the one-hour ride isn’t bad. I’ll generally listen to NPR or take a short nap. It’s a good way to decompress from work before going home to be with my family. And you can’t beat the savings!”

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

A peek at the first of the new sbX articulated buses

We’ve just set up an album of photos featuring the first of 14 coaches being assembled at the New Flyer America plant in Crookston, MN.

The sbX articulated bus will be 60 feet long and 8 1/2 feet wide (same width as current Omnitrans buses). The trailer will be connected by a turntable and bellows, similar to that of an accordion, providing the ability to make tight turns.

Scheduled for passenger service in early 2014, sbX will offer faster, more-frequent service with fewer stops (one mile, on average), resulting higher average speeds than fixed route service.

Click here to view more photos from the sbX photo album on Flickr.

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

sbX Construction Update for August 13th-17th

The sbX weekly construction update lists the places, dates, times and details of construction activity currently taking place in San Bernardino in preparation for the sbX bus rapid transit project.

Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue Park-and-Ride-Facility

  • Parameters: South of Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue intersection
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Work on park-and-ride restroom continues, Work on sidewalk ramps
  • LANE CLOSURE: NA

CSUSB

  • Parameters: New bus station location on campus
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Roadway work continues, work on bus passenger platform continues
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect.

E Street

  • Parameters: Select locations between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues including sidewalk removals, landscaping activities (includes work in center median), electrical activities, street light activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: Parking and lane nearest the curb along the east side of E Street between 10th Street and 6th Street has been eliminated. Traffic control in effect on east and west side of E Street throughout the corridor.

 Hospitality Lane

  • Parameters: Select locations between E Street and Tippecanoe Avenue
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Intermittent Day Work
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues including sidewalk removals, landscaping activities (includes tree removal and clearing work in center median between Tippecanoe Avenue and Carnegie Drive West), irrigation activities, electrical activities, street light activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: North side of Hospitality Lane nearest the curb is closed.

 Various Bus Station Locations

  • Parameters: Little Mountain Drive, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard, Highland Avenue, Baseline Street
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Platform structure activities such as slab work, forming walls and erecting structure steel continues
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect at some locations.
To establish a safe work environment for crews and the public, the construction crew has implemented traffic control measures that allow for at least one lane in each direction to be open during construction. Maintaining access to businesses is a high priority as part of this project. As such, signage is placed throughout the corridor to inform the public that they are open for business.


About sbX

The sbX BRT Project is the first-of-its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire. It is the beginning of an intermodal public transit system in the San Bernardino Valley that will help reduce vehicle congestion while providing the public an environmentally friendly alternative that is sophisticated, cost effective, and time efficient.

The 15.7-mile corridor spans between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. It will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Visit the Omnitrans sbX Facebook page!
http://facebook.com/omnitrans.sbx

Couple pays it forward to bus drivers

Most of the time we hear from people if something has gone wrong. Husband and wife, Herman and Patricia Alderidge, make a point of telling us when things are going right.

Every week or so this, couple comes into the Omnitrans office with a list of coach operators who have gone above and beyond. “Omnitrans means everything to us,” said Herman, whose diabetes has left him confined to a wheelchair. “For three and a half years I never went anywhere–never left the house. I became depressed and it was very hard on both of us. We’ve been together since we were 15-years-old and for the first time I couldn’t go with her when she went out.”

Patricia finally convinced Herman to try traveling on the bus with her. At first he was nervous. It was hard being out in public again and feeling like he was at the mercy of his surroundings. But time with his wife was a huge incentive. Now he’s completely comfortable on the bus and likes getting out, meeting people and traveling to different destinations. The freedom and independence it gives him makes him feel like his old self again. And he and his wife can once more enjoy being out as couple, something they both treasure.

“The drivers have been so good to us,” said Patricia. “One of them recently recommended a car show that he thought we would like. We went that weekend and had a lot of fun together. He’s actually one of the names on our commendation list today.”

The couple has grown so fond of certain drivers that they go out of their way to catch their buses. A trip home that should only take 2 transfers turns into 4 so that they can see their favorite coach operators. They are very aware of how difficult the job can be and notice when the drivers have a smile and a kind word or go above and beyond with their passengers.

“They have to put up with a lot from people,” said Patricia. “And we want to make sure that they are recognized for the good they do.” She makes sure to write each coach operator’s name and good deed into the little notepad she keeps on her to make sure she remembers to commend them.

What about those drivers who might be feeling a bit grumpy one day? “Everybody has a bad day once in a while,” said Herman. “I keep a bag of lollipops on me. If I can’t get them to smile, that always does the trick!”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans CEO Milo Victoria thanks Patricia and
Herman Alderidge for their support of coach operators.