The design theme for an estimated $19 million train station and transit hub on South La Patera Lane in Goleta has been selected.
The selection process included three concepts for the building design — traditional, sunrise and schooner.
“This is pretty exciting stuff,” Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said after the vote.
For the three schemes, project designers found inspiration from a variety of community themes, such as Goleta’s train depot history, train depots in California, the sunset and ocean.
Goleta’s historic depot at the South Coast Railroad Museum on North Los Carneros Road, Goleta’s agricultural history and the home of pioneer Daniel Hill, who named Goleta in the 1800s, were inspirations for the traditional design.
On Wednesday, the council members heard an update on the Goleta Train Depot as part of a two-hour special meeting devoted to selecting the project design.
By creating a new station, the city hopes to increase train ridership, improve connections to bus transit, accommodate transit service to and from the Santa Barbara Airport and UC Santa Barbara, and add new bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
The project also will allow accommodation for future additional train storage, supporting increased commuter rail needs, according to a Goleta report.
Goleta staff conducted outreach to discover which theme the community preferred. Public outreach included a survey of more than 1,100 people and a community meeting via Zoom with Goleta staff and consultants to learn about the project.
The results of the survey found that more than 50 percent of respondents said the “traditional theme” was their top choice.
“This isn’t a scientific survey,” Goleta City Councilman Stuart Kasdin said. “It is just a subset of people, and it is not representative of the community as a whole.”
Kasdin said he was “fine” with any of the three design theme options.
After the council members were shown renderings of how the traditional concept would look after a renovation, Kasdin said, “These pictures make it look — this traditional one — a little bit like a Home Depot, and I assume with the color and with the glass, it would look less of than that.”
Goleta was awarded a $13 million grant for the Goleta Train Depot in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments in 2018, according to a city report. Goleta and SBCAG sought grant funds from the state Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program to improve the passenger experience.
Funding for the Goleta Train Depot project comes from $6.7 million in city money for site acquisition and $12.2 million in TIRCP grant funding for development and construction.
The project centers on Goleta’s purchase of the former Direct Relief warehouse, which allows the city to redevelop the property to create a train station for travelers to the area. That building is about a 2.5-acre site at 27 S. La Patera Lane.
Since last year, Los Angeles-based Anil Verma Associates Inc. has been working with its team of subconsultants as well as Goleta staff, SBCAG and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency. Anil Verma Associates Inc. is the project architect.
The Goleta Train Depot project is adjacent to the existing Amtrak platform at the northern end of South La Patera Lane.
Goleta City Councilman Kyle Richards offered positive remarks on the traditional option.
“I like the design elements,” Richards said. “I like the fact you (project designers) have taken something traditional, but added a more modern, contemporary feel to it.”
Goleta principal project manager Jaime Valdez said the city staff plans to update the City Council every six months or so to provide in-depth reports on the project’s progress, including cost projections and refined design concepts.
The train depot project is scheduled to return to the Goleta City Council in October to discuss the South La Patera Lane roadway improvements.