Tag Archives: omnitrans sbx rapid transit

San Bernardino Transit Center unites sbX BRT and Metrolink extension

Metrolink Extension and New Transit Center will enhance the connections between Inland Empire transportation systems 

The Metrolink passenger rail extension and the Omnitrans sbX rapid transit service provide new public transit options to Inland Empire residents.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA  – Changing the way people travel throughout the Inland Empire is the goal of two projects that started construction on Tuesday, February 25, following a groundbreaking ceremony in downtown San Bernardino.

The first project is the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project (DTSBPRP), which will extend the Metrolink line from the historic Santa Fe Depot one mile east, where it will join with the second project,  the future San Bernardino Transit Center, to be constructed at Rialto Avenue and “E” Street in the city.

These two projects represent a partnership between the Federal Transit Administration, San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), Omnitrans, Metrolink, and the City of San Bernardino.   Speakers at the groundbreaking included Leslie Rogers, Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, California Transportation Commissioner Joe Tavaglione, SANBAG President Bill Jahn, County Supervisor James Ramos, Omnitrans Chairman Alan Wapner, and Patrick Morris, who is both Metrolink Chairman and City of San Bernardino Mayor.

View more photos from the groundbreaking ceremony on Flickr.

Mayor Patrick Morris welcomed the crowd by stating,  “This marks the culmination of many years of work to bring these transformative projects to construction.  These two projects are examples of how creating intermodal connections between commuter rail, bus rapid transit, and local and regional bus service can provide enhanced benefits to current transit uses and make these travel modes more attractive to future riders in the region.”

Officials at the groundbreaking of the San Bernardino Transit Center

Officials pose with a punch card at the groundbreaking of the San Bernardino Downtown Passenger Rail Project and the San Bernardino Transit Center

Some major changes will occur at the historic Santa Fe Depot, currently the end of the line for the Metrolink commuter train service.  “Modifications at the Depot will create a beautiful grand entrance on the south side of the Depot and a new rail boarding area on the north side of the building,” explained Mayor Morris.  “A tall pedestrian bridge over the tracks will provide safe access for passengers boarding the trains going in either direction. The DTSBPRP will feature the addition of double tracks from the Santa Fe Depot  to the new Transit Center, along with roadway improvements.”

The Transit Center will be a multi-modal transportation hub where  13 local Omnitrans bus routes, the new sbX Bus Rapid Transit service, Victor Valley Transit Authority (buses from the high desert), Mountain Area Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) bus service, and Metrolink trains will all meet when the projects are completed.  The public can transfer from one mode of transportation to another at this hub and go in various directions.  Commuter rail service will eventually be extended nine miles further to the east via the future Redlands Passenger Rail Project. That project is still going through environmental studies.

“This is a great project, which will offer greater convenience and connectivity for the community,” stated Omnitrans Chairman of the Board Alan Wapner.  The Transit Center project represents more than a decade of visioning partnership between Omnitrans and SANBAG.

Members of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce

Members of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce are all smiles at the groundbreaking event.

The Transit Center will include a 7,500 sq. ft. building, 22 bus bays, customer service and pass sales office, security, restrooms, seating,  and shelter.  These amenities have not been available to transit customers in the past at one location.

“Combined costs for the two projects total $128 million, with funds derived from federal  sources ($37 million), state sources ($26.9 million), and local sources ($64.7 million),” stated SANBAG President Bill Jahn.  “Of the local funds, $27 million came from Measure I, the ½ cent sales tax approved by San Bernardino County voters for transportation improvements.”

The Transit Center is expected to be completed in Early 2015, while the Metrolink extension and Santa Fe Depot modifications should be completed by Summer 2016.

To follow the progress on these projects, please refer to the websites of SANBAG or Omnitrans:  www.sanbag.ca.gov   or   www.omnitrans.org.

Jane Dreher, Public Information Officer
San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG)

Leslie Rogers of the FTA

Leslie Rogers of the Federal Transit Administration show his support for the groundbreaking ceremony of the future San Bernardino Transit Center.

Graham Named CEO/GM at Omnitrans

Former Marine, Scott Graham named Omnitrans CEO

Scott Graham, Omnitrans CEO/General Manager

(San Bernardino, CA) The Omnitrans Board of Directors appointed Scott Graham as CEO/General Manager effective February 5, 2014, eliminating “interim” designation from his title after eight months on the job.

Graham was appointed Interim CEO/General Manager in June 2013 following the resignation of then CEO/General Manager Milo Victoria. He joined Omnitrans in 2006 as Director of Operations, overseeing a department of over 400 employees responsible for delivering fixed route bus service to the San Bernardino Valley. He previously worked at the Orange County Transportation Authority for 12 years.

As Interim, Graham implemented cost saving measures including organizational changes, reduction of healthcare expenses and cost containment of professional services. He also focused on the deployment of the new “sbX” bus rapid transit service line.  “We are excited to be launching this new flagship service in late April, on time and under budget,” said Graham.

Prior to embarking on a career in public transportation, Graham spent 26 years in the US Marine Corps, serving in progressively responsible positions in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the United States.  He earned a Master of Transportation Management from San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from East Carolina University.

Omnitrans currently employs about 640 people directly and has 220 contracted employees. Annual ridership tops 16 million on 32 bus routes and paratransit services combined. The agency fleet includes 177 transit coaches and 105 vans and minibuses for demand response.

– Wendy Williams, Director of Marketing

Test your sbX safety savvy with this quiz

Dedicated center bus lanes and new traffic signs mean new rules of the road. Are you prepared? Test your safety savvy with this short  sbX safety quiz.

Need a little help? Our new safety video gives a quick look at some of the changes you need to be aware of.

Final sbX Paving & Striping In San Bernardino

The intersection at Marshall Blvd. and E Street was recently paved, providing a smooth drive for motorists and bicyclists.

During the past month, construction crews reached a major milestone by completing most of the paving and striping work that remained in the City of San Bernardino. This included areas along the northern part of the route such as Little Mountain Avenue, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard and between 10th Street and 4th Street. The final layer of pavement provides a smooth road for motorists and bicyclists. In addition, striping has been placed along E Street from Hospitality Lane to 10th Street – clearing defining the center-running lane areas where buses will run.

-Robert Chevez

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sbX Construction Activities Coming to A Close

Major roadway construction is now complete as streets have been paved and striped along the sbX corridor.

The New Year brings great excitement for the Omnitrans sbX team. Just under two years since the start of construction, major roadway construction is complete. Final work on the construction crew’s to-do list includes installation of station artwork, map cases and graphics of the new system, station seating, plus final landscaping and sign installation to make navigating the corridor easy. We’re so close to start of service that next month you will begin to see buses being tested on the road. With this new activity, it is especially important for motorists to pay close attention to the new rules of the road and to stay out of the dedicated bus lanes.

-Robert Chevez

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Civic Center Park & Ride Helps Business Patrons

Businesses like Kore Skate Shop, 199 N. E St. – which has limited parking in the rear accessible from 2nd Street – will benefit from the addition of a park-and-ride lot on the third floor of the Civic Center parking structure to offset the elimination of curbside parking on E Street.

Two hundred public parking spaces have been made available with the dedication of a park-and-ride lot on Level 3 of the Civic Center parking structure to offset the removal of spaces on E Street for the creation of a transit corridor.

Motorists can enter the structure from the east side of E Street between 2nd and Court streets; the north side of 2nd Street between E and D streets; and the west side of D Street between 2nd and 3rd streets.

A newly dedicated park-and-ride on Level 3 of the Civic Center parking structure will benefit patrons of Big 5 Sporting Goods, Minuteman Press and other E Street businesses.

The use of center-running lanes on E Street for the sbX bus rapid transit (BRT) service has eliminated left turns in and out of driveways between intersections.  Southbound vehicles entering the E Street entrance to the parking structure can make a u turn at 2nd Street or a left turn on 2nd and a left at the 2nd Street entrance.

Left turns in and out of driveways between intersections have been eliminated throughout the center portion of the BRT corridor, from E Street and 10th street north of downtown to Hospitality Lane and Waterman Avenue. To compensate for the loss of left turns, a total of 19 u-turn signals will be added to the corridor. Hospitality Lane between Waterman and Tippecanoe followed these traffic-flow patterns prior to the addition of center-running bus lanes.

–  David Rutherford

Major sbX testing to begin in January

In preparation for the start of service in April 2014, early testing has begun and will increase through the New Year. In January and February, the public will see the 60-foot articulated sbX XN60 buses being tested daily on the road – and keeping you safe is a top priority for Omnitrans.

The testing phase is needed so that operations management can simulate operating conditions and test communication systems such as the traffic signal prioritization system. With new rules of the road comes a great responsibility for Omnitrans and we encourage all motorists and pedestrians along the corridor to “Be a Safety Xpert” and “Xpect Changes.” This starts with learning our top three safety tips to follow during testing:

1. Pay attention. sbX buses will be on the road daily.
2. Don’t cross the double-yellow line. That is a dedicated bus-ONLY lane.
3. Watch for new signs and obey at all times.

Safety education does not stop at 1,2,3 – for more information about how to stay safe during the testing phase, please click on the detailed Safety Infographic below.

Check out our latest public education piece – an infographic to keep you safe during the testing phase!

– Kelly Koehler

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Eye-catching sbX station art installations

Art installations have begun at several of the sbX rapid transit stations. Here’s a look at a few of the striking pieces you’ll see along the E-Street corridor.

First free-standing public art installed on the E-Street corridor is a structural monument at the sbX station at North Mall Way, a tribute to the National Orange Show Events Center, by artist Kyung-Mi Shin.

Stainless-steel sculptural marker referencing proton therapy and orange blossoms awaits mounting at Anderson Street at Prospect Street. — at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Red and white stripes adorn a blue pole at sbX southern terminus station at Benton Street and Barton Road. Eventually stars will be added, along with dog tags streaming down the pole as a tribute to our veterans. — at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Artist Leticia Huerta designed the art for the Kendall Drive stations (theme: Natural Histories) — in San Bernardino, CA.

Rapid Transit to Help People with Disabilities

Levy Johnson, who uses a walker to get to the temporary transfer center in Downtown San Bernardino, rides in the wheelchair section of southbound Route 2 on his way to the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System for his daily weekday therapy to treat neuropathy, which causes numbness in his legs.

Levy Johnson finds it increasingly difficult to lift his walker on board Route 2 to his daily appointments at the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System to treat his neuropathy disorder. The San Bernardino resident is looking forward to the day when he can just wheel himself on board the new sbX service from the platform at E Street and Court Street.

“The ease of access will help,” Johnson said. “The walker feels heavier every time I lift it up the stairs.”

Johnson is one of many people with disabilities who will benefit from rapid transit service on Kendall Drive, E Street, Hospitality Lane and Anderson Street, which is scheduled to begin early next year. Platform-level boarding on express service is the alternative to lifting an accessory such as a walker, or using a ramp to board on a wheelchair, because the height of the platform is even with the floor of the vehicle.

Johnson boards Route 2 on weekdays at the temporary transit mall on 4th Street between F and G streets to attend physical therapy courses at the VA. The retired veteran has suffered from neuropaty ever since his days as a cook at Fort Ord, in 1967 and ’68. He said he experiences numbness in his legs, which has become progressively worse over time. Neuropathy is a nerve disease which can cause painful cramps, muscle loss and bone degeneration.

“I rely on Omnitrans to get around because I don’t have any other transportation,” he said. “It’s very dependable and now it’s going to become more convenient.”

–  David Rutherford

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Construction continues on sbX project with more roadway improvements to come

Scott Graham, Omnitrans Interim CEO/Manager

By Scott Graham, Omnitrans Interim CEO/Manager

For people driving through the future Omnitrans sbX E Street Corridor Bus Rapid Transit line in San Bernardino and Loma Linda, it is clear that construction continues to take place on a large scale.

Each day, about 100 workers can be seen in concentrated areas along the 15.7-mile route. From concrete to iron to electrical workers, there are numerous tasks being performed daily to keep the project moving forward for the start of service in April 2014. 

When complete, the sbX line will provide express service along one of the busiest bus corridors in the Omnitrans system, which serves about 4,000 daily riders. It will give the commuting public a time-efficient and cost-effective option to get to major work, education, medical, retail and restaurant centers.

But for many in the community, the big question is, “How much longer will construction take and what will the roadway look like in the end?” Most of the construction activities that are impacting E Street and Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino are estimated for completion in the fall of this year.

Newly planted trees on center median of E Street, between 2nd and Court Streets in San Bernardino

In the coming months, construction crews will work on reinforcing the center-running lane area from Court Street to 10th Street along E Street and on Hospitality Lane in select areas between Carnegie Drive and Tippecanoe Avenue. This is similar to work already completed on E Street from Rialto Avenue to Hospitality Lane.

However, there is one major difference. On the corridor where the street has been widened, crews will add a top layer of asphalt that will create a smooth driving surface from curb to curb. The uneven road conditions that the public has raised concerns about will be fixed.

Additionally, residents can be assured that roadway intersection work such as that at the Marshall Avenue and E Street park-and-ride location will also include a new and seamless layer of asphalt.  And at sbX side-boarding stations along Kendall Avenue and on E Street, new asphalt will be added to smooth the roadway.

All construction work will continue to be inspected by the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda. This will assure quality of work and conformity to highway and Federal Transit Administration standards.

Traffic controls have been removed on northbound Anderson Street south of Redlands Boulevard at Loma Linda Academy.

While there is much work in the coming months, there are areas in San Bernardino and Loma Linda that are nearing completion. In fact, the overall project is approximately 80 percent complete.

For example, the California State University, San Bernardino sbX station will be the first to have all elements installed. Recently, electrical components were energized and tested. In Loma Linda, work has focused on the sbX stations where a final layer of asphalt has already been placed at most stations providing a smooth drive through the area.

As we enter the final months of construction, we would like to remind the public that your input helps us address issues that are of concern.

Work nears completion at the sbX station at CSUSB

Recently, a local dentist off of Hospitality Lane expressed frustration about motorists not being able to make a left turn on a street because of a new median. Some motorists trying to get around this median created a safety issue as there was not a convenient place where a legal u-turn could be made.

After reviewing the situation, we discussed the issue with the city and came up with a solution. A legal u-turn was added on Hospitality Lane in the eastbound direction at Waterman Avenue. This change took place because of the phone call made by a concerned citizen.

So if you have a concern or question about the project, please call the project helpline. You might be surprised to learn that it is not an answering machine, but rather a cell phone manned by a project team member that will answer the phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week. And if for some reason we are unable to pick up the phone, we will return your call at our earliest opportunity. The helpline is (855) sbX-NEWS / 729-6397. 

Based on public feedback, provisions were made for a legal U-Turn at Hospitality and Waterman.

As with any major project, there are challenges and impacts during construction. We are committed to mitigating issues the best we can and to deliver the project on time and on budget. We value your concerns and are optimistic that the new sbX BRT service will provide positive benefits over time in the cities we serve.

Scott Graham was appointed Interim CEO/General Manager in June 2013. He originally joined Omnitrans in 2006 as Director of Operations, overseeing a department of more than 400 employees responsible for delivering fixed route bus service to the San Bernardino Valley each day.

Founded in 1976, Omnitrans is the public transit agency providing over 50,000 passenger trips each weekday across the San Bernardino Valley. Omnitrans is governed by a 20-member board representing the 15 cities served by Omnitrans and San Bernardino County. www.omnitrans.org

The sbX BRT Project is the first-of-its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire. 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. www.omnitrans-sbx.com