The Riverside County Transportation Commission, Metrolink, project partners, and community members celebrated the upcoming start of commuter rail service on the new 91/Perris Valley Line during a dedication ceremony on December 11, at the new Downtown Perris Station in Perris.
More than 350 rail enthusiasts commemorated the first new Metrolink extension to open since the Antelope Valley line in 1994. The 24-mile extension of Metrolink service is expected to reduce traffic congestion on Interstate 215 and improve transit options for southwestern Riverside County residents, who have some of the longest commutes in southern California. Service was originally planned to start in late 2015, but a decision was made to install Positive Train Control technology in the locomotives, which will push back the opening date until early 2016.
Construction began in October 2013. The project is located within the right of way of the existing San Jacinto Branch Line through Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris. Work will include:
Project benefits will include:
Safety is a priority for RCTC and Metrolink. The PVL will upgrade 15 at-grade crossings with a variety of safety measures, including flashing warning devices, gates, raised center medians, striping, signs, and pavement markings. The project also will add pedestrian crosswalks at two railroad crossings, upgrade and close to traffic one crossing, and permanently close two crossings.
Quiet Zones and Noise Reduction
The PVL will provide infrastructure that will allow the City of Riverside to establish “Quiet Zones” at Marlborough Avenue, Spruce Street, Blaine Street, and Mt. Vernon Avenue. In Quiet Zones, railroads no longer sound their train horns when approaching grade crossings, except during emergencies or to comply with railroad regulations. Noise studies were performed to analyze the impacts of the project to area residents. Sound walls of varying heights will be built near residential neighborhoods in Riverside.
Most of the PVL parallels Interstate 215, which carries a growing number of commuters each day and is often jammed with traffic congestion. Heading west, the PVL connects to the 91 Line, which provides service through Riverside County and into Orange County and Los Angeles County. The PVL will provide commuters with a safe, convenient and traffic-free alternative to driving on the region’s heavily traveled freeways. freeways. .
Enhanced Air Quality
Metrolink, combined with regional and local bus services, provides an environmentally-friendly and energy efficient alternative to driving alone. It is estimated that the PVL will attract 4,350 riders daily, serving commuters from Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Perris, Moreno Valley, Hemet and San Jacinto. This will help improve the overall quality of life for Riverside County.
By extending Metrolink to more of the region, local residents can take the train to jobs within Riverside County. The success of Metrolink will make the area more attractive to potential employers that will want to locate near vibrant rail stations. The $248.3 million project is expected to create an estimated 4,400 direct and indirect jobs, a definite plus for Riverside County, which has been hit hard by high unemployment rates, especially in the construction industry.
Four new stations will be built to serve the PVL. The new stations will be located in the Riverside Hunter Park business area, Moreno Valley/March Field, Downtown Perris and South Perris.