Tag Archives: sbx rapid transit

Talking geography & dinosaurs aboard sbX

An sbX ride-along interview with Andrew and Mark Strickert

Andrew Strickert on Omnitrans sbX BRT, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

I met 4-year old Andrew on his first sbX BRT trip. “It’s really fast!” he grinned.

I offered him a gift from my prize bag if he would let me interview him. He eyed the bag thoughtfully. “Do you have any dinosaurs in there?” he asked hopefully.

I shook my head. “Nope. Sorry, fresh out of dinosaurs. I have a cap, a tote bag or a cell phone pouch.”

“A hat then,” he decided. He pulled it on his head, peering up from under the brim. “I like dinosaurs a lot.”

Andrew and Mark Strickert on sbX BRT

I snapped a few photos and talked a bit with Andrew’s dad, Mark Strickert, a student at Valley College. Thanks to the Go Smart program, Mark gets unlimited free bus rides with his student ID. Although he has a car, he prefers to park it at the Loma Linda Park & Ride and take the bus to school. It saves him money and time.

“It’s also much easier than trying to find parking on campus,” he points out.

Mark told me he used to work for Orange County Transportation Authority doing stops and zones but had decided to head back to school to study geography. His goal is to eventually do urban planning for cities or transit.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of geography, maps, and transit ever since I was a little boy,” he confessed. “I rode the bus by myself for the first time when I was seven. Of course it was a different time and place then. Chicago in the 60s was a lot different from what it is now. But I was always interested in cities and how to get around.”

Andrew Strickert on sbX BRT, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

He smiled over at his son.  “Andrew’s pretty good at getting around too. He knows when we’re close to home and can tell where he is from places that he recognizes.”

“Do you help your dad out if he gets lost?” I asked Andrew.

The 4-year-old shook his head giggling. “He never gets lost!”

His dad laughed.

Andrew was so excited that it was hard for him to sit still.   He moved from one seat to another between stops to check out the ride.

“So what kind of dinosaur do you like best?” I asked him curiously

“The one that stands up” he answered promptly.

“A T-Rex? He’s a little scary. You must be very brave. I think I prefer the kind of dinosaurs that eat veggies.”

Andrew nodded and turned around to look out the big window for a moment, swinging his legs back and forth.

“I have a dog named Roxie,” he said suddenly.  “She does tricks.”

“Really? What kind of tricks?”

He peered at me over the top of the seat.  “She sits down.”

“Wow. . . That is a pretty cool trick.”

“I know!!’ he said proudly, then added. “Dinosaurs don’t know how to sit.”

He hopped off the seat and went over to join his dad in the articulated section of the coach.

“Whoa!!” he laughed and held on to his head when the driver made a right and the turntable seats spun in a circle. “That was fun!”

“You know,” I said suddenly inspired. “I’ve never met a dinosaur but, if I do, I will have him call you.”

“Yeah?” Andrew looked up interested. “Do you think dinosaurs can talk on the phone?”

“I’m not sure, but if I meet one I’ll ask if he can call you.”

“Cool.” Andrew hesitated for a moment. “Not a big dinosaur though, okay? And not the one that stands up. A little one. Maybe like a baby or something.”

I agreed. “Besides, a big one might accidentally step on me. We’ll stick with little dinosaurs. Anyway it was nice meeting you. Thanks for the interview!”

Andrew grinned, “Bye.”

He grabbed his dad’s hand and the two got up to try out yet another seat.

You meet the most interesting people on board sbX!

This one’s for you, Andrew.

 - Juno Kughler Carlson
  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

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Pep Rally Celebrates sbX Completion

New Omnitrans Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Service Launches April 28

sbX vehicle delivers riders to a pep rally celebrating the completion of the Omnitrans new bus rapid transit line.

sbX vehicle delivers riders to a pep rally celebrating the completion of the Omnitrans new bus rapid transit line.

With band playing, cheerleaders chanting, banners waving and over 200 people cheering, Omnitrans celebrated the completion of the sbX bus rapid transit line pep-rally style on April 22 in a ceremony adjacent to the line’s civic center station.   The new 16-mile BRT line begins passenger service on Monday, April 28, offering free rides through May 2nd.

sbX vehicle delivers riders to a pep rally celebrating the completion of the Omnitrans new bus rapid transit line.The sbX Green Line includes over five miles of dedicated lanes, 16 station locations, and four park-and-ride lots. It serves major activity centers in Loma Linda and San Bernardino including two hospitals, two universities, numerous trade schools, city and county government centers, and employment centers, along with major shopping, hospitality and entertainment venues.

FTA Region IX Administrator Leslie Rogers prepares to cut into a custom cake celebrating the completion of the sbX rapid transit line as local dignitaries look on. (From left, Loma Linda Councilmember Ronald Dailey, San Bernardino Councilmember Benito Barrios, event Emcee Lacey Kendall, Rogers, San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis, Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham.)

FTA Region IX Administrator Leslie Rogers prepares to cut into a custom cake celebrating the completion of the sbX rapid transit line as local dignitaries look on. (From left, Loma Linda Councilmember Ronald Dailey, San Bernardino Councilmember Benito Barrios, event Emcee Lacey Kendall, Rogers, San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis, Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham.)

“Transit is about more than just getting around: it maps a community’s priorities,” said Leslie Rogers, Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, at the event. “It’s also a ladder of opportunity that connects people to jobs. In fact, just building this project put hundreds of local residents to work in the throes of the recession, and we’re especially proud of that fact.” Approximately 220 jobs were generated during construction.

The crowd joined the San Bernardino Cardinals Cheerleaders in the cheer "sbX 2014!"

The crowd joined the San Bernardino Cardinals Cheerleaders cheering “sbX 2014!”

The 14 articulated vehicles manufactured by New Flyer for the sbX line, are the first five-door, compressed natural gas (CNG) powered, 60-footers ever built.  Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Scott Graham noted, “the sbX coaches feature our first rear-facing, self-securement wheelchair positions, our first interior bike racks, and our first on board Wi-Fi and power outlets.”

#sbx2014

Graham also commended the corridor contractor, Griffith/Comet, for completing the project on time, within budget, and with a perfect safety record of no lost-time accidents in over 400,000 hours worked.

#sbx2014 Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham and San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis

Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham and San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis

The BRT line utilizes TSP (traffic signal prioritization), so sbX vehicles can advance through busy intersections. Dedicated station platforms offer real-time arrival displays, ticket vending machines, emergency telephones, customer call boxes and public art.  To enhance security, the multiple video cameras at each station are monitored 24/7.

#sbx2014

The Omnitrans sbX launch is the culmination of over 10 years of planning, design, construction and system testing.  Parsons Transportation Group helped initiate the project in 2004, taking it from alternatives analysis through final design.  Jacobs Engineering handled construction management and related activities.

#sbx2014

Project partners included Omnitrans, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA), San Bernardino Associated Governments, the City of San Bernardino and the City of Loma Linda. Of the total $191.7 million project budget, 96 percent came from federal, state and county funds designated for transit projects, including $75 million from the FTA Small Starts Program. The project includes three elements: vehicle purchase, corridor construction and vehicle maintenance facility upgrades.

#sbx2014

More Information available at:

#sbx2014

Civic Center Station: before and after

sbx civic center station before

Click to see time lapse photos of the construction of the Civic Center Station over the past 6 months.

With the upcoming launch of our sbX rapid transit service on April 28th, we thought it might be fun to look back to see how far we’ve come. Click the photo above for time lapse photos of the construction of the sbX Civic Center Station taken over the past six months. Photos were shot from the pedestrian bridge near E Street and Court Street in Downtown San Bernardino.

We’ve definitely come a long way! The pictures below give a closer look at the finished station and the surrounding area today.

sbX Civic Center Station

The street has been transformed with a center station platform and dedicated bus lanes.

Carousel st and Court st san bernardino

New railings and landscaping dress up the sidewalks on either side of the station and help prevent pedestrians from jaywalking.

Carousel st and Court st san bernardino

Landscaping and rails along the opposite sidewalk at the Civic Center Station

sbx civic center station

Digital signs show arrival times. Shelter roofs and windscreens protect passengers from wind, rain and sun.

sbX civic center station

Yellow truncated dome pads along the sides of the platform help guide riders with vision impairments

sbx station lights

These small light poles located between railings at the far ends of the station provide lighting along the platform and enhance the landscaped areas.

sbx vehicle at the civic center station

sbX rapid transit vehicle on a test run by the Civic Center Station

sbx  civic center station

Light bars incorporated into the roof of the shelter provide light for evening travelers while the transparent glass windscreens ensures good visibility.

station art paver at sbx civic center station

Along the platform pavement, glazed ceramic tiles by artist Robert Delgardo tell the story of the past and history of the area. The tiles incorporate photo studies of the downtown area, interviews with local residents and research from historical archives.

 

The Latest on The sbX Corridor

Work continues to progress on the Omnitrans E Street Corridor sbX Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT) and we are one month closer to start of service in April 2014. Major construction was completed in January 2014, so throughout the months of February and March the sbX construction management team is meeting with property managers and business owners to conduct site checks and close out any remaining maintenance items along the corridor. Work to test the electrical components at stations and the traffic signals at interscetions continues, and you may notice some construction workers executing various landscape maintenance activities.

In addition, new elements are being installed to keep motorists and pedestrians safe while traveling throughout the corridor and at station locations. Safety railings are being installed on the sidewalks at center-running lane stations located on E Street and Hospitality Lane. You’ll also notice candlesticks, orange posts with reflectors, being installed to the top of yellow safety barriers located at t-intersections within the center-running lane areas. The candlesticks serve as an added visibility feature to prohibit drivers from crossing into Bus Only lanes, also marked by double yellow lines. As a reminder, motorists entering the Bus Only lanes run the risk of getting hit by a bus – and a hefty fine of $341.

As a reminder, bus testing and driver training has commenced. Please remember to:

  1. Pay attention! Buses will be on the road daily.
  2. Stay out of the dedicated Bus Only lane.
  3. Watch for signs and obey them at all times!

Still have questions about the project? No worries! Although major construction is complete, a public outreach team is available until start of service. Our toll-free helpline is operational 24/7. Give us a call at (855) SBX-NEWS (729-6397).

sbX tips for traffic safety

As testing for the new sbX rapid transit service begins, it’s important for motorists to become familiar with the new street configuration which includes new lane striping, double yellow lines and yellow safety barriers. Below are some of the new traffic signs to also be on the lookout for when traveling along the corridor.

sbX Bus Only
Bus Only signs and roadway markings warn motorists and pedestrians to stay out of the dedicated Bus Only zones. These dedicated bus lanes occur in the 5.4-mile stretch just north of the 10th and E Street intersection in San Bernardino all of the way to the Tippecanoe Avenue and Hospitality Lane intersection.  

Bus Lane Violation – $341
Bus violation signs are posted to warn motorists of the fine for entering a Bus Only lane. The fine is a hefty one. Violators can expect to pay a minimum of $341.
 

No U-Turn
No U-turn signs are posted to prohibit motorists from making unsafe turns into intersections where there are center-running dedicated bus lanes. To navigate this change, motorists need to proceed to the next protected intersection to make a U-turn.

No Left, No U-turn
 No Left/No U-turn signs are posted to prohibit motorists from making unsafe turns into intersections where there are center-running dedicated bus lanes. To navigate this new change, motorists must proceed to the next protected intersection to make a left turn or a U-turn.

Right Turn Only
These signs are positioned at every T-Intersection where a safety barrier is located and indicate that you must turn right (no left) and travel to the next intersection where there is a protected U-Turn.

No Jaywalking
Pedestrians should always use marked crosswalks to avoid being hit. It is never safe to jaywalk across traffic lanes.

 
 

How safety savvy are you? Test your sbX Safety I.Q. here!

 

sbX project enters operational testing phase

Traffic signal priority lights are up and being tested along the corridor.

Major construction of the sbX bus rapid transit line is now complete. Traffic controls have been lifted at most locations as the roadway is now paved and striped. New signs are installed along the corridor and traffic-signal-priority lights are installed at the intersections. Landscaping elements, sbX station pylon signs and unique community-inspired artwork bring the project to life and introduce aesthetic elements in the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda.

With the end of major construction, the focus shifts to the operational testing phase. Over the next several weeks, 60-foot-long articulated sbX buses will be seen on the road daily (with no passengers on board). Omnitrans Operations must test every facet of the line for the start of service in April 2014. A big part of this is driver training. In addition, electrical components – such as traffic signal priority lights, ticket vending machines and station emergency phones – will undergo testing. With these new elements introduced along the corridor, our goal is to help educate the public so that motorists, pedestrians and bus drivers will be safe. Please remember to:

  1. Pay attention. Buses will be on the road daily.
  2. Stay out of the dedicated bus-only lane.
  3. Watch for signs and obey them at all times

Still have questions about the project? Although major construction is complete, our website (www.omnitrans-sbx.com) is still a go-to source for helpful information. In addition, our toll-free helpline is operational 24/7. Give us a call at (855) SBX-NEWS (729-6397).

- Kelly Koehler
   kkoehler@westboundcommunications.com 

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Dedicated traffic signals provide faster ride

BRT signal with a vertical bar on a green traffic light. The system senses an approaching sbX vehicle, allowing cross-traffic signals to remain red until it has cleared the intersection.

One of the newer additions noticeable to motorists and pedestrians on the nearly completed sbX corridor are signal lights with a white horizontal bar on top and a white vertical bar below.

The specialized signals are found at various intersections between  E and 10th streets and Hospitality Lane and Tippecanoe Avenue, allowing the 60-foot-long bus rapid transit (BRT) vehicles to travel the corridor in significantly less time than if they were to operate under normal signalization.

Through this system, known as traffic signal prioritization (TSP), the sbX coach sends out a signal received along the corridor. That information is transferred to the city’s traffic control center. Timing is adjusted to keep traffic and the bus moving, said Joe Meidl , a project manager with Griffith/Comet, the joint venture contractor for the construction phase of the sbX project. “It keeps the bus and the general traffic in its direction moving and prevents idling, causing better traffic flow.”

BRT signal with a horizontal bar on a red traffic light. The sbX coach does not have to wait long to enter the intersection once it pulls away from the station.

Locally, The TSP method used by sbX is comparable to the one used in the City of Santa Monica, Meidl said. TSP, along with dedicated lanes that separate the vehicle from the general traffic and fewer stations than fixed-route service (one per mile, on average) contributes to fewer stops and a faster ride.

- David Rutherford
David.Rutherford@omnitrans.org 

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