Centro Plaza At VIA Villa Now Open For Transfers
VIA’s new West Side transit hub, Centro Plaza at VIA Villa, is officially open. The plaza is expected to be the transfer point for more than 1 million riders next year.
Over a decade of planning has resulted in a 2-acre circular plaza outside VIA’s headquarters just a few blocks west of downtown. It’s lined with small trees, benches, and an illuminated tower. A VIA Primo pulls up and passengers like Steven Ortiz board.
He says the new transit center feels safer. “It’s great, convenient, very close to home, very usable. The majority of my time is taking the Primo because of work.”
Currently, passengers leaving the center can travel along seven routes, but come Jan. 9 additional routes will be added with a total of about 1,000 stops per day.
VIA CEO Jeffrey Ardnt says the hub is designed to make transferring easier between routes.“But, we also have general customer service available, here we have an air-conditioned waiting space, and this beautiful plaza which can be used for community events. So, it’s not just a transportation hub, it’s a community hub.”
District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales says the new hub and routes are especially welcome on the West Side which has the highest proportion of VIA riders.
“I think the more we can invest in public transit will lead us to Vision Zero which been my initiative to eliminate traffic facilities in our city and I think this is one way that we get there.
With the possibility of less pedestrians on the road, Gonzales says the transit hub should help lead to fewer pedestrian fatalities.