Monthly Archives: February 2012

Artists and CSUSB students create station artwork

Omnitrans Blue Tree Project

The Omnitrans E Street Corridor sbX Bus Rapid Transit Project
development team, the California State University, San Bernardino Art Department and professional artists from Greenmeme have collaborated. Students enrolled in a public art class were given the opportunity to participate in The Blue Tree Project – a program to develop artwork for a future campus sbX station.

Glass-panel artwork on the station canopy will convey public transit as a means of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and capture the essence of the natural surroundings of the university. Using blue colors, photography, and other artistic methods, the artists will reproduce images of a pine tree that will be removed from the site to make way for the station.

“The removal of this tree is the conceptual focus of the project,” said Freya Bardell, an ecological designer and artist at Greenmeme. “Engaging the tree through a series of actions and placed in a variety of venues, the tree is given a second life and third life.”

Last week the pine tree was pruned and cross sections of the branches were moved to the university’s Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA). On February 15, Greenmeme and CSUSB artists worked to paint the limbs different shades of blue and created a museum installation, which will be on display at RAFFMA February 18 through April 21.

Each week, Greenmeme and CSUSB artists will complete a different step in the project’s concetputalization. Weather permitting, the team will focus on painting the outdoor tree blue next week.

For more information about The Blue Tree Project, please call the RAFFMA at (909) 537-7373.

Omnitrans is my limousine

Sondra, 1st prize winner in the Omnitrans Valentine's Day photo contest

RIDER PROFILE:  Sondra is a 50-year old single military mom whose son is a Marine recruiter and Iraqi veteran. A new grandma-to-be, she is eagerly looking forward to the birth of her first grandchild in April. She volunteers as a ticket usher at the Lewis Family Playhouse in Victoria Gardens. She is also a volunteer at the Abundant Living Family Church in Rancho Cucamonga, where she is involved in a ministry group focused on gang prevention. It is a cause she feels passionate about. “We try to get these kids to open their hearts, stop killing people and doing drugs. We help find them jobs and resources.”

Sondra used to be a preschool teacher before her disabilities brought her career to an end. She suffers from vertigo and dementia, has arthritis throughout her body and nerve damage in one leg.

“I have good days and bad days,” laughs Sondra. “Every once in a while I walk like the Bride of Frankenstein, but most of the time people wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with me. There are a lot of people like me who have hidden disabilities and are embarrassed by them. It can be very humiliating. Sometimes you need special accommodations or extra help with something and people don’t understand why because your disability isn’t obvious.”

Sondra has been riding the bus since 1978. At first it was just occasionally, when her car would break down. Now she rides because she enjoys it. She takes about 5 different buses a day and jokingly refers to Omnitrans as her “limousine.”

“Every morning I wonder who I’m going to meet that day,” she says. “I have this mom energy that makes people want to talk to me, so I get to meet a lot of different people on the bus. Sometimes it’s a homeless girl. Sometimes it’s a family or someone on their way to work. I try to have a smile and a kind word for everyone. Little things like that can mean the world to a person.”

Sondra knows this firsthand. Her favorite drivers, Doris and Albert always give her a smile and wave whenever they drive by her on the street. “They really make you feel special. They have compassion for people, love their jobs and always have a smile for you. When your driver waves at you and you’re not even getting on the bus, it means so much. You will always go back to Omni because of that. You can always find other rides, but those drivers are the ones that keep bringing you back.”

When asked what her life would be like without public transit, Sondra is emotional. “I worry about that sometimes. If Omni wasn’t around, I’d miss it like crazy. I would feel like I lost a best friend. The good drivers make me feel loved and give me the strength to go on when I’m having a bad day. They are like family to me.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson

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Omnitrans Detour Alert for San Bernardino

Detour Alert beginning February 20th

Due to road construction in downtown San Bernardino, Routes 2 and 15 will detour from Second and E Streets to travel on Rialto Ave. and G Streets.The detour will be in effect starting Monday February 20 and will last until further notice.

Student rider enjoys savings and independence

Rider profile - Marcus

Marcus, Chaffey College Student

RIDER PROFILE:  Marcus is a part-time student taking classes at Chaffey College. He’s interested in pursuing a career in health, possibly as a nurse. He is bilingual, has strong math and science skills and enjoys helping people– qualities he knows will open a lot of opportunities for him in this growing field.

As with most college students, money is always a concern, and Marcus takes advantage of the Go Smart College Pass program, which allows him to ride the bus for free with his student I.D. “Traveling by car would be really expensive for me,” he said. “I attend school four days a week, and driving there and back costs me about $8.00 a day. It adds up to almost $130 a month–and that’s not even including the trips I take for leisure activities! I enjoy getting out a lot and usually ride an average of 50 miles a day.”

Chaffey College students ride Omnitrans free with their student I.D.

Although he owns a car, Marcus only uses it on the weekend to drive to his job at Costco in Orange County. He’s hoping to transfer soon to the Rancho location, and would like to use Omnitrans for the trip instead. “I like not having to drive. Driving is stressful, expensive and sometimes it can take 15 minutes just to find parking. I can enjoy the ride, listen to my music, or read and just relax,” said Marcus. “I’m also very active and like to travel. Before when I wanted to drive somewhere I had to worry about affording the gas or think about the wear and tear on the car. Now I have no limits. I have the freedom to do whatever I want to do, and I really like that. It’s also very easy to ride Omnitrans because it’s destination-based rather than street-based. You don’t need a lot of transfers.”

His advice to new riders: “It’s a good idea to prepare in advance to get an idea of what do and which stops you need. Go to the Omnitrans website and check out their videos on how to ride the bus. This way you’ll know what to expect. Look through the Bus Book to go over your route, and if you have any questions call the people at 1-800-9-OMNIBUS. They’re really terrific. And don’t be shy about asking your bus driver for help. The drivers are good about explaining things and will look out for new people to make sure they get where they need to go.”

If you are a college student and would like information on the Go Smart College Pass program, visit the Omnitrans website.

–Juno Kughler Carlson

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sbX Construction Alert for February 13-17

E Street Construction Activities
Crews continue to work on the west side of E Street in select areas
between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane.

In order to establish a safe work environment for crews and the public,
traffic control measures have been implemented to close the lane nearest
the curb on the west side of E Street.

Activities include tree removal/relocation, saw cutting, potholing,
temporary relocation of traffic signals and street lighting, and paving.
Maintaining access to business in this area is of high importance and
signage has been placed throughout informing the public that businesses
are open during construction.


Water Meter Relocation Work
Mon., Feb. 13 to Thurs., Feb. 16; Mon., Feb. 20 to Thurs., Feb. 23
Nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In an effort to minimize impacts to businesses during the day, water meter
relocation work will take place at night on E Street through select areas
between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane.

Water service interruption will be minimal and only take place when the
meters are ready to be connected to the main water line. Businesses will
be notified 24 hours ahead of an up to two-hour period to connect the line.

We appreciate your patience during construction. For more information,
please call the project helpline at (855) sbX-NEWS / 729-6397.

Omnitrans Sweethearts: Marianne & Larry

What’s the secret to a great marriage? “Don’t pay attention to each other and have a lot of patience,” advises Larry. The couple laughs.

“And always stay friends and have a good sense of humor!” adds Marianne. “We have these three words we always say to each other: ‘No matter what.’ Sometimes we say it with a smile and sometimes with a grimace, but we really mean it. We each married our best friend.”

These two Omnitrans coach operators have been married for more than 16 years. Larry has been a driver here for 15 years and Marianne for 7. They feel that working for the same company helps them to to understand each other better because they each know firsthand what it takes to do their jobs every day. Both Marianne and Larry Rose agree that Omnitrans is the best place they’ve ever worked. “Because of the size of the company, you have the chance to really get to know people,” says Larry. “We’re like a big family.”

“It’s true,” nods Marianne. “We’ve gone through a lot of challenges in our personal lives, and Omnitrans has always been very supportive of us. I’m so grateful for that.”

In 2009 Marianne was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  She went through 5 weeks of external radiation treatments followed by 42 hours of internal radiation and 5 months of chemotherapy. “At one point they implanted these radioactive rods in me under anesthia, and I had to lie on my back completely still in the hospital for three days,” said Marianne. “I was literally radioactive! There was a Geiger counter in the room measuring the levels. I could only have visitors for 10 mintutes at a time and they had to stay outside the door.”

Throughout it all, Larry worked his route at Omnitrans, took care of their autistic son, Jonathan, and looked after Marianne.  “I would be so down some days, and Larry would make me laugh and tell me that we’d get through this. He was my rock. I really believe God put angels in our lives to look after us, and we have had so much support from our work and from the people around us. We may not always get what we want, but we do always get what we need.”

Marianne is now paying it forward by talking to other cancer patients at Loma Linda Medical Center. On Valentine’s Day, she will be going in for a PET scan. Afterwards the couple hopes to enjoy a steak dinner together at home.

“Just having the gift of time together is the best Valentine’s Day present we could ask for,” said Marianne.

–Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

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