OCEANSIDE — As train and bus riders scurried to get to their destinations, SANDAG and the city of Oceanside celebrated the completion of $28 million in improvements that make the transportation hub more efficient and comfortable.
An information table was set up at the station Nov. 20 to discuss improvements. Jim Linthicum, SANDAG director of mobility management and project implementation, Oceanside Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery and SANDAG and NCTD staff greeted commuters and answered questions.
Lowery is a regular rider of the Coaster train to travel to SANDAG meetings held in San Diego.
“It’s big progress for our transit center,” Lowery said. “I’m happy to see it happen.”
Improvements that began in 2016 and were completed this year added a third track, extended the main boarding platform north to accommodate a 10-car train, built a new south boarding platform, put in a connecting sidewalk and added new lighting and real time electronic signage of departures and arrivals.
The most recent improvements finished in November were the addition of level boarding for disabled riders at the main platform and new shelters and seating for waiting riders.
Lowery said the improvements are quite impressive.
“There’s a three-and-a-half block passenger platform, you can walk all day and not leave the train station,” Lowery said. “I’m most impressed they fit all the stuff into one small space.”
The completion of improvements allow Coaster, Metrolink and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner passengers to board at the same time. Station upgrades also permit freight trains to move through the station while passengers are boarding.
Thanks to improvements service capacity at the station will increase from 65 to 130 trains a day.
“Coaster trains will be able to use the new track, leaving the two existing main rail lines available for Amtrak, Metrolink and passing freight trains,” SANDAG staff said.
Improvements enhance riders’ experience and reduce train idling time outside the station in wait of a place to park. Shorter idling times for trains cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.
Passengers said they are pleased with improvements and felt the upgrades were long needed.
“People don’t have to wait around as long for a train idling a couple of miles away,” Lowery said. “Air pollution, noise from parked trains, all those things are addressed by this.”
The Oceanside Transit Center was built in 1984. It is now one of busiest transit centers in the county. More than a million passengers a year board trains and buses at the station.
The transit center connects travel between San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.
Station upgrades are part of the LOSSAN rail corridor improvement project, which extends from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.
Regional improvements began in 2014. They include double tracking in South Carlsbad, San Onofre and Sorrento Valley and improvements to the Trestles Bridge and Santa Margarita River Bridge.
San Diego and Orange County will see $1 billion in improvements, which will fund 20 projects.