When the San Bernardino Transit Center opened on Sept. 8, it marked the completion of the area’s first rail improvement project in two decades, as well as the region’s first multimodal transit hub east of Los Angeles.
Omnitrans is the owner and operator of the San Bernardino Transit Center. Design and construction was overseen by the San Bernardino Association of Governments (SANBAG). WSP USA served as construction manager on behalf of SANBAG for the $25 million facility.
The San Bernardino Transit Center brings together 22 bus bays to service 10 local and two freeway express Omnitrans bus routes, a San Bernardino Express (sbX) bus rapid transit line, and buses for the Victor Valley Transit Authority and Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority. The center also accommodates private shuttles, taxis and bicycles.
“This multimodal facility is intended to consolidate transit operations into a single downtown site, making connections more efficient and helping to spur redevelopment and revitalization efforts in downtown San Bernardino,” said Rich Walker, project manager for WSP.
The center is also prepared for the arrival of commuter rail transit. Metrolink service connecting Los Angeles to San Bernardino currently terminates at the Santa Fe train depot. The San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project extends that service one mile into the city's downtown and includes a passenger station adjacent to the transit center. WSP is managing this $65 million project, which is scheduled to begin providing train service in late 2016 and completion in early 2017.
The transit center, located on a four-acre site at the southwest corner of Rialto Avenue and E Street, is prepared to serve 6,000 travelers daily. It was designed with passenger comfort and convenience in mind, and includes an enclosed climate-controlled lobby with seating to accommodate 48 people, outdoor seating, public restrooms, bicycle racks and 24/7 security. Two acres on the corner are available for future transit-oriented development.
Its overall design conforms to LEED Gold standards, and is pending certification by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. Sustainable project features include solar photovoltaic energy generation, a high-efficiency mechanical system and glazing, water-efficient landscaping, and a large shade canopy that encircles the 7,200-square-foot building.
On the north side exterior of the transit center is a colorful mural created by local artist Louie Solano, which depicts images related to San Bernardino's landscape and the various modes of transportation that unite to serve the community at the new facility.
The bus turnaround features a 50-foot high, weathered steel plate sundial. Lobby walls are decorated with historic transit photos recalling the significance of this area as the home of a car barn and tracks for the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company and Pacific Electric interurban rail services a century ago.
Two weeks before the public opening of the center, a completion ceremony was held to celebrate its arrival as a sign of transformation for the city’s downtown business district.
“Improving our public transit network is an important part of growing the Inland Empire economy,” said U.S. Congressman Pete Aguilar. “The San Bernardino Transit Center is a perfect example of the type of results we can achieve when communities work together to move our region forward.”
“We are proud that this facility was designed to meet LEED Gold standards,” added Sam Spagnolo, Omnitrans board chair. “It boasts the latest and greatest in energy efficiency design and systems. There are solar panels on the roof. Of course, all of the landscaping is drought tolerant.”
Federal Transportation Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers applauded the “transformative potential” of the center and commended Omnitrans and SANBAG for their “perseverance in overcoming the challenges and hurdles” to take project from vision to reality.
“This multimodal approach to transportation, centered here in the hub of the county, is just the beginning of what is the future of transportation,” said Ryan McEachron, SANBAG president and Victorville council member said. “At SANBAG we are proud of this investment.”
Omnitrans identified the property as an ideal location for a multimodal transit hub in the early 2000’s, but it was not until 2008 that the property was acquired from Union Pacific Railway Company. Construction of the center finally began in February 2014.
San Bernardino Mayor and Omnitrans Board Member R. Carey Davis lauded the transit center’s economic benefits as it relates to redevelopment of downtown and gave credit to former mayor, Pat Morris for pushing for the transit center project forward.
“The San Bernardino Transit Center project represents more than a decade of visioning partnership between Omnitrans and SANBAG,” Walker added. “Collaboration was the key to the successful completion of this project.”
Doug Sawyer, area manager and contract principal, said completion of the transit center is the second of three important construction management contracts WSP is performing for SANBAG.
"With our field office located across the street from SANBAG, we have committed to being a true partner with our largest Inland Empire client,” Sawyer said.