The Goleta City Council held a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to get an update from the staff on the Goleta Train Depot Project as well as voting unanimously to select the “traditional theme” over the “sunrise” and “schooner” themes for the design.
Once completed, the Goleta Train Depot will be a full-service multi-modal train station next to the existing Amtrak platform on South La Patera Lane.
The “traditional” design takes inspiration from Goleta’s agricultural history as well as the historic nature of many of the historical train depots found throughout California, including Goleta’s historic depot that now serves as the home of the South Coast Railroad Museum.
“I’m glad we are moving forward. There seems to be a positive team here and that is always good news for a project,” Anil Verma, owner of Anil Verma V Associate, said during Wednesday’s special meeting.
“What is really exciting about this project, the site is located right between the 101 (freeway) and the ocean and mountains, and so it’s just a magnificent area to be dealing with.”
Additionally, the council also voted to defer a decision on roadway improvements from Hollister Avenue to the terminus of South La Patera Lane to the Fall of 2020.
“Thank you Madam Chair and members of the council for your support of the project. We look forward to our continued work with the community in moving this wonderful project forward and bringing it to Goleta,” Vyto Adomaitis, Department of Neighborhood Services & Public Safety Director, said.
“When it’s built — as you can just see from the drawings alone — it’s going to be an incredible project for our community, and we look forward to seeing you in October with discussion about the public improvements on La Patera.”
The project is being designed by Anil Verma Associate. The project is expected not to exceed $2.4 million dollars with the term of agreement expiring on June 30, 2022.
In terms of cost, the “traditional” theme was the most economical choice as the other two would have cost slightly more.
Also, now that the council has settled on the theme of the project, this allows the design team to focus deeper on the construction and the details of what to add.
“For the purposes of trying to get a project afloat and getting people to comment on it can be really hard to have some kind of a starting point, so you can’t have too many variables at one point,” Mr. Verma said.
He also added that regardless which theme was selected, they all would be built the same and accommodations made to one could be added to the other.
“The internal layout and the arrangements of the space are basically predetermined and this is what we’re going to build around, and so we kept the internal functions as intact as possible,” Mr. Verma said.
City staff has also made it a big point to make sure the community has input on this project. The team hoped to present feedback from two community meetings by this presentation on Wednesday, but the pandemic forced the cancelation of those meetings.
Instead, staff held virtual meetings and opened a survey for the public to provide feedback on May 26th. It closed on June 19th with 1,119 complete responses.
The survey results showed that 53% of people liked the “traditional” theme the most. Additionally, 46% voted for a Café with seating and/or vending machines to be added as an amenities.
“A critical part of the Goleta Train Depot project has been, and continues to be, community engagement. City staff continues to receive phone calls and emails from the public expressing their preferences and desires for the project. The public’s input on the project is vital to ensuring we deliver a train depot that is not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but also results in an iconic gateway structure that will stand the test of time,” Jaime Valdez, Principal Project Manager in the Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department, said.