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Making transit more reliable on Highway 126

posted May 15, 2012, 12:13 PM by Unknown user

Opinion Piece published in the Ventura County Star

Villalobos and Gallardo: Making transit more reliable on Highway 126

By Iris Villalobos and Juliana Gallardo

April 21, 2012

With today's rising gas prices confronting every driver in California, Santa Clara Valley residents unfamiliar with public transit might be wondering what their alternatives are in saving money.

The transit service available to Santa Clara Valley residents is the VISTA Highway 126 bus that connects Fillmore and Ventura and VISTA Dial-a-Ride, a curb-to-curb shuttle service.

Public transportation is safe, affordable and saves drivers hundreds of dollars annually on gas and maintenance costs. Public transportation along Highway 126 provides important access to Ventura College and other various county venues, including medical services.

Furthermore, public transit also provides accessibility to jobs outside of Santa Paula and Fillmore. Figures released last month by the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) reported VISTA ridership has increased by 6.6 percent in the Santa Clara Valley over the past year.

Because population is expected to increase 30 percent in the Santa Clara Valley as reported by VCTC, comprehensive transportation planning tied to land-use and environmental sustainability to fix current transportation deficiencies needs to occur.

Current transportation inadequacies include overcrowded buses during peak hours, lack of evening transit service and no formal operation route to Piru.

VCTC is beginning to present ideas to help improve public transportation. At a community meeting hosted by One Step a La Vez on March 20, the commission laid out two alternatives to improve transportation for the Santa Clara River Valley.

Alternative A is the status quo with minor/very low cost improvements to deliver better services. Alternative B is to revise service using:

• Route deviation service in Santa Paula and Fillmore/Piru (using buses up to 30 feet long.

• Dial-A-Ride restricted to seniors and disabled riders.

• Commuter trips providing direct service to Oxnard.

Adequate transportation to Santa Clara River Valley residents is possible and, most importantly, needed to reach basic amenities such as educational facilities in other parts of Ventura County.

Access to good public transit can save families more than $5,000 annually — especially with today's rising gas prices and recovering economy, every penny counts. Adequate transportation also gets people walking, lowers the amount of pollution emitted into our atmosphere every year and positively affects surrounding property values.

ASERT, One Step a La Vez, Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. and CAUSE have scheduled an additional presentation by VCTC of transit options for the Santa Clara River Valley and for residents to speak about the current transit needs.

We urge all valley residents interested in better public transportation to please attend the meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Casa Bella Apartments, 622 E. Main St., Santa Paula.

Iris Villalobos is a youth advocate organizer and heads the transportation committee for One Step a La Vez, a youth-led, drop-in, youth wellness center in Fillmore. Juliana Gallardo is a transportation committee mentor for One Step a La Vez and a member of the Alliance for a Sustainable and Equitable Regional Transportation (ASERT), a collaborative of community-based organizations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

 

read more on the VC Star:  Ventura County Star: Making Transit more reliable on Highway 126



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