A number of efforts are underway to beef up train service on the South Coast, to get more people to use it, and to make it more practical for commuters. One of the latest efforts includes doing something about the bare bones train station in Goleta, turning it into a full service transportation hub.
Jaime Valdez is the Project Manager for the City of Goleta’s Goleta Train Depot project. It’s intended to be a key transportation link for the community. He says the planned facility will include a building with electronic ticketing, restrooms, secure vehicle and bike parking, a cafe, and a community room.
It will serve as a transportation hub, with bus links to Santa Barbara Airport, and UC Santa Barbara. The California State Transportation Agency is backing the effort. The Santa Barbara County Association of Government and the City of Goleta were awarded $13 million dollars to turn the idea into a reality. One of the key elements is deciding on how best to use the site.
The city purchased some adjoining property last year, and planners are trying to figure out if an old warehouse at the site can be repurposed into part of the train station. Another element behind the state funding for the project is besides improving public transportation, and reducing traffic is also cutting air pollution.
Valdez says while there is some commuter rail services between Ventura and Santa Barbara county now, funding from the project will also allow work which may eventually beef up the frequency of train service, making it more practical for everyday use. It could also open new doors for travelers to and from the region.
For instance, with improved train, and bus service from the station to UC Santa Barbara, students from LA and Orange Counties could leave their cars at home. And, travelers could use the train to get to the new Goleta Station, and then the new bus service to catch flights at Santa Barbara Airport.