APRIL 2015 – President’s Article by Geoff Bonney

President Geoff BonneyThe Train Cometh

For the many years there has been talk of a passenger rail line extending from the San Bernardino station into Redlands.  For some the constant dialog with no concrete action had brought the topic “not in my lifetime” status.  All that is about to change.

In recent months the level of activity on the rail project has increased.  Most importantly, there is money.  With the forward progress the discussions have transformed from idle fantasy to debate.  As with many such issues that bring significant change there are pros and cons.

In the end SANBAG has decided to move forward with bringing passenger train service into Redlands.  The line will extend from the old Santa Fe station in San Bernardino to the University of Redlands, with stops at New York Street (Esri) and downtown.  The current schedule calls for rail service to start in the next 4 years or so.  The train is coming.  Now we must focus what that will mean for the Redlands community.

There will be both positive and negative impacts.  Many of the impacts, both good and bad, were brought up in the debate phase.  By starting a constructive dialog now we can plan and take actions that will allow us to take the best advantage of the positive impacts, and mitigate the negative.

The Redlands Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is asking for your thoughts, both good and bad, on what you think the train service will mean to your business.  If you believe it will have no impact on your business, we need to know that too.  The goal is to identify changes that we can make locally to make the best use of the passenger rail service.  We are not looking for a list of reasons why the train should or should not come to Redlands.  We have that.  What we are looking for is constructive suggestions on things that can be done to make the service as beneficial as possible.  Change is frequently difficult, but this is not groundbreaking territory.  Passenger rail services such as this have been a great benefit for communities across the county for decades.  We need to do is learn from them, and implement their best practices.

Start thinking about the train.  Send your suggestions to the Chamber office at info@redlandschamber.org. Let us know of any Cities where you have had good or bad experiences with a commuter train service, and most importantly why.  The sooner we start looking at this, the better prepared we will be to take advantage the rail service