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Roundup 3-1-2019

February 28, 2019

Contents

Transportation – Stuff

— Bus on Shoulder

— Brightline/Virgin Trains

— It Depends

— Bay to Bay

Downtown – As It Should Be

Rocky Point – Apartments

Downtown – Straz/AER  Tower

Downtown/Channelside – 1010 Water Street Cont

USF – Some Say No

Hyde Park – A Hospital

Economy – Sale

How Not to Do Vision Zero

Mayor Race

St. Pete – Pier

Rays

What’s In a Name

Meanwhile, In the Rest of the State

________________________________


Transportation – Stuff


— Bus on Shoulder

A major part of the poor “BRT” plan is running the buses on the interstate shoulders.  While they are plainly not “dedicated lanes,” shoulders used for buses have been held out as such by some.  As we have explained previously, other areas run buses on shoulders, but in limited circumstances and at slow-ish speeds – they are not dedicated lanes.

But the “BRT” plan has support in certain circles, including in FDOT, which has pushed a bus plan for the interstate for years (though with no sign of broad public support).  So, this is not surprising.

The state is about to embark on a first-ever project dubbed the “I-275 Bus on Shoulder Pilot Project” that would allow buses to ride along the shoulder on the interstate.

Civil engineering group HNTB filed a modification request with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to implement a pilot bus on shoulder project along a five-mile segment of Interstate 275 from 5th Avenue N to Gandy Boulevard for intermittent bus use during rush hour.

Setting aside the question of why an engineering firm is filing it, we actually have no problem with a pilot program.  We actually have no problem with running buses on the interstate shoulder if done properly (it would be helpful for an express bus from St. Pete to Tampa, which we are for).  We do have a problem with holding out bus on shoulder running as real BRT or as the basis for a spine around which transit in this area should be built (in other words, the “BRT” plan).  With that said, back to the pilot program.

“This segment has shoulders available that can accommodate bus and right now traffic on that segment is not as bad as some other parts of the interstate. This is a perfect location for the pilot,” Florida Department of Transportation spokesman David Botello told the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

He said FDOT is working with Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority for the pilot project, which will run its buses on the shoulder.

* * *

The department has set aside $2.5 million for the project.

Is it good for a pilot program to not have as much traffic?

Once the shoulder project is completed, the buses will be able to ride in it during certain conditions such as the traffic speed dropping below 35 miles per hour, and if the bus then moves onto the shoulder it can’t go more than 15 mph faster than the speed of traffic.

First, doing that is in line with general guidelines for bus on shoulder running, which is good.  It is also not that fast, which is not.  And it is subject to emergency vehicles and accidents, which is another downside of using the shoulder.  But interestingly, if traffic is not that bad and does not slow down that much, the buses will not be on the shoulder that often.  Whether that is good for a pilot or not, we do not know.

Regardless, what is the timeline?

A design-build contract will be advertised in the summer for the project; the department is hoping that will be completed in a year so that the buses will test the shoulder sometime next year.

That is fine.

We will say it again.  We have no problem with trying this out. It has its place in a coordinated, integrated transportation system. Just do not misrepresent it as appropriate for a core, spine or otherwise central portion of a transit system or as a “dedicated lane or right of way.”


— Brightline/Virgin Trains

There was news of a sort regarding Brightline/Virgin Trains.

In need of billions to pay for an ambitious expansion to Orlando, the Brightline rail service is seeking permission to issue an additional $950 million in tax-exempt bonds.

The Florida Development Finance Corp. plans hearings March 1 in Tallahassee and March 11 in Jacksonville on the issue, which would be sold to private investors. Despite criticism from public officials in Martin and St. Lucie counties, the organization’s board in August unanimously signed off on a $1.75 billion bond issue that Brightline has yet to complete.

The new $950 million bond sale would be in addition to the $1.75 billion already approved by the Florida Development Finance Corp., a state-authorized issuer of industrial revenue bonds.

* * *

Brightline in 2017 sold $600 million in tax-exempt bonds to pay for the launch of its service between West Palm Beach and Miami. The for-profit rail service began operating in 2018.

As you may remember:

Brightline parent Virgin Trains USA sought to raise nearly $500 million through an initial public offering of stock. Virgin Trains USA dropped its IPO, but it disclosed that it was seeking to raise more than $2 billion to fund its expansion to Orlando. The company said that connection will open in 2022.

So what is going on here?

Brightline told bond investors that in 2020, it expects to ferry 2.9 million passengers and collect $96 million in fares from its South Florida service.

But,

Brightline said passenger counts totaled 159,586 in July, August and September, well above the 106,090 passengers the rail line reported for the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the company said ridership topped 60,000 in October and 80,000 in November, putting Brightline on pace to exceed 500,000 passengers for its first full year in service. Still, its trains have many empty seats and ridership will fall well below the 1.1 million riders that Brightline predicted for 2018.

“Ridership continues a steady trend upwards consistent with our projections,” Porritt said Monday.

Virgin Trains had hoped to raise net proceeds of $467.8 million in the IPO scheduled for last week, but investors reportedly showed only tepid interest in the issue. The company has $700 million in debt, and Brightline missed two 2018 deadlines to raise $1.15 billion in a sale of tax-exempt bonds.

Meanwhile, Virgin Trains is looking to borrow $2.3 billion to fund its expansions from West Palm Beach to Orlando and Tampa, and also for a proposed line connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Virgin Trains told securities regulators that it was seeking a one-year bridge loan for $2.3 billion but had yet to secure a commitment from a lender.

How all this shakes out remains to be seen.  Of course, they have to get to Orlando before they get to Tampa, so, while it is fine to plan for eventual train service, don’t get too excited yet.

In other news,

Miami-Dade County may soon look at linking Virgin Trains USA to PortMiami, a move that would connect the port to Broward and Palm Beach counties and extend a valuable lifeline to the struggling passenger rail service formerly named Brightline.

Commissioners in committee last week voted 3-0 to advance an item directing Mayor Carlos Giménez’s office to examine the extension, which would use existing rails, according to sponsor Rebeca Sosa, who asked that the item be expedited to the next full commission meeting Feb. 20.

Even if it is not growing as fast as planned, it is not clear yet that it is struggling.  Regardless, the extension could add ridership.  Once again, we will have to see what happens.


— It Depends

There was an interesting development in local transportation advocacy.

A nonprofit group made of business leaders representing the Tampa area’s surrounding counties have banded together to be advocates for transportation.

The group is called the Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance. After taking a year to form, it officially announced its launch on Tuesday and introduced itself to media members and guests at Tampa International Airport.

We are not sure we need another business group talking about transportation, but we will give this a chance.  Who is setting it up?

There are three chairmen: Roberto Torres, Blind Tiger Cafe owner, representing Hillsborough County; Andrew Machota, founder of Newtown Connections, representing Pinellas County; and Bill Cronin, president of Pasco Economic Development Council, representing Pasco County.

* * *

The organization was created through donors including PNC Bank, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa attorney Rhea Law and Cigar City Brewing founder Joey Redner.  

For a list of founders, go to the website here.  To a large degree, it is a mix of people from various business organizations that have already taken positions on/ advocated about transportation – including at least one person on the AFT appointed oversight committee, which, even if not an official conflict of interest, seems a bit odd.  Many are also people in organizations that endorsed (some actively advocated for) both TBX (not TB(n)X, TBX) and the “BRT” plan, though, in truth, many of these business organizations endorsed basically every plan.

What does this organization plan to do?

The group wants to listen to local residents and help be a voice.

“This is sort of like a think tank. We have three key ideas of what the Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance should be,” says Torres.

The organization will focus on three main objectives:

Every month the group plans on having free meetings or events that highlight transit organizations.

We are all for people becoming engaged in transportation issues. If they are approaching the issue with good will and trying to find real solutions that actually serve the interests and needs of the area, and, more specifically, the counties within it, that is great.  On the other hand, if it is the same people advocating for TBX/TB(n)X and the “BRT” plan under new name, it still will not make them good ideas.  The plans’ flaws aren’t in the advocacy.  It is in the plans themselves.

Finally, we are all for thinking regionally, but we also need to address actual transportation needs, which, especially in Hillsborough, focus on Hillsborough and build out from there.  In fact, if there is no good local transportation, the regional connections will not work.  What we really do not need is to limit the promise of AFT by lowering Hillsborough’s ambitions rather than pushing Pinellas and Pasco to elevate their visions.


— Bay to Bay

The Bay to Bay road diet saga continues.  As you may remember:

Tampa’s own city engineers called the road’s current, four-lane design an unsafe “dinosaur” that couldn’t be built under current codes and guidelines. Instead, they developed a “road diet” plan to narrow the four-lane road down to two lanes and a central turn lane, all flanked by dedicated bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and other “traffic calming” measures.

Those plans have been opposed by an equally fervent group of activists who say such fixes would only worsen the traffic jams that already threaten to put them out of business. Mayor Bob Buckhorn agreed, and officially killed the “Complete the Streets” project in March. . .

Last week,

. . . A county-funded effort to repave the road was set to begin this week, though commissioners postponed the project to address residents’ concerns.

* * *

. . . though, the commission voted to continue repaving the road as planned — while also encouraging the next city administration to consider adding safety measures such as crossing guards and bike lanes.

There are too many problems with Bay to Bay’s current condition to keep putting those improvements off, Lyons said. The road has a very narrow right of way, TECO power poles sit in the middle of sidewalks and there are wheelchair ramps that aren’t compliant with the American Disabilities Act.

“I agree with the city engineers that a more modern ‘complete streets’ configuration would be both safer and more efficient for everyone, however it turns out that my opinion on this doesn’t matter much,” Commissioner Mariella Smith said. “It’s the mayor’s opinion that counts. We’re in an awkward position with these county-owned roads where the city has all the authority yet the county does all the work, whether we agree with the city’s design or not.

It is true that the street maintenance/ownership/etc. arrangement is messy.  It is also true that the road itself is a bit of a mess. And spending money to repave a road (that admittedly needs repaving) when it might all be changed soon is also a waste. (Not that the waste aspect matters now that the work has already started.)

As for the proposed changes, the road diet/safety enhancement (call it what you will) plan for Bay to Bay does not go far enough, literally.  It ends just beyond MacDill, which means that good sidewalks and bike lanes (not sharrows, lanes) do not reach Bayshore, the heart of the walking and biking activity in that area.  That makes no sense. So, if you are going to do it, do it right and connect to Bayshore.

And while they are at it, can they do something about the ridiculous power lines?

From the Times – click on picture for article

Not only are the poles in the middle of the sidewalk (and leaning), they and the wires are quite ugly.


Downtown – As It Should Be

From URBN Tampa Bay:

BREAKING: The 11-story storage until project proposed for 802 East Laurel St. was REJECTED by the Tampa City Council tonight.

The vote was 6-1. Capin was the only one who voted against the denial motion.

Good for the City Council.


Rocky Point – Apartments

There is a new proposal for Rocky Point. From URBN Tampa Bay:

A new residential project has been proposed for a long vacant lot on Rocky Point. Specifically, a 9 story, 180-unit project is proposed for 3050 N. Rocky Point Drive, right next door to the Westin. The development requires 323 parking spaces and 341 parking spaces are provided.

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

As a building, it is not horrible, but we agree with URBN Tampa Bay:

. . . we would prefer some commercial space in the project. Rocky Point had so much potential to be a mixed-use pedestrian area, but this has largely been squandered over the years. The Westin did a good job next door of having retail uses.

Rocky Point is truly full of wasted potential.  With a little vision, it could have been turned into a cool, urban, mixed use village.  Unfortunately, there was no vision, and it is a completely car centric island.  And the City has never really shown signs of wanting more.


Downtown – Straz/AER  Tower

More information was released about the new proposal for the residential building next to the Straz.  From URBN Tampa Bay:

We have a new rendering, elevations, and site plan for the Straz Tower, proposed next to the Straz Center and John F. Germany Library. The project is 26 stories with 275 units, 11,629 square feet of retail space, and 476 parking spaces. 298 parking spaces was required. The building tops out at 300 feet tall and appears to have a sort of art deco top.

So you know what you’re looking at in these plans, there are two separate structures as part of this project. The residential tower and the parking garage. The rendering depicting an alleyway, is depicting the alley between those two structures.

Here are the site plan and renderings:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

 

First, we like the street retail and that the sidewalks are covered. Unfortunately, the retail does not face the Straz where there will be people congregating, it faces the Poe Garage, which is a bit odd.  The skywalk to the Poe garage appears to still be there, which is positive.

It appears that the main building has been moved to be essentially perpendicular to the river with the parking garage visible from the river.  While there is some screening of the garage, it is plainly there and usually such screening is only partially effective.  We understand that this lines up a bit better with other apartment buildings and their view lines, but we do not think it will look very good from the river. That should be a major consideration, especially considering that the City will create and then sell this lot.

Finally, the building itself is essentially a generic residential building with an off-center hat.  And, as a large portion of it is lined with utilities and mechanical space, we do not know what the purpose of the alley is.

In our opinion, the proposal is shorter and, for the location of the parking garage alone, worse than what was proposed before.   They can do better.

(Note: If it goes forward, it would be the second time in a very short period that a very good downtown City parcel would be sold for a project that was inferior to what was originally proposed.)


Downtown/Channelside – 1010 Water Street Cont

More renderings of 10101 Water Street (and the Edition hotel/condo building) were released.  Here is more information from URBN Tampa Bay:

The 22 story tower will rise 255 feet. The project features 481 units, 32,000 square feet of retail space, and 602 parking space. The number of required parking spaces is 513.

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

First, we see awnings, which is great.  Though we are not sure if they are clear awnings (not nearly as good when the sun is out) or just normal awnings.  And, of course, there is a good amount of retail space and working towards street activity.  That is all good.

Last week, we noted that this was a boxy building.  The renderings this week make it clear just how boxy this building is.  While it has a stepped design, it still seems quite large in mass. We get wanting density (especially for the more affordable apartments), but we are not sure how well it will fit in. We will just say it is not as elegant as some other Water Street designs.

Finally, the Edition building now is portrayed with balconies running around the entire building on all floors of the tower element rather than alternating as previously portrayed.  We think that is a good  change.  We also note that the Edition building clearly has awnings/overhangs, which we applaud.


USF – Some Say No

We recently discussed plans for USF consolidation.  At the time, it seemed that having branch campuses was the consensus opinion on how to structure the school.  However, the Tampa faculty, at least faculty organization, is not on board.

Even as the University of South Florida consolidates into one entity, its three campuses would retain much of their autonomy under a plan that has the backing of school leaders, legislators and a 13-member task force.

* * *

The task force recommended earlier this month that USF’s smaller locations in St. Petersburg and Sarasota be deemed “branch” campuses, with power over hiring, spending and curriculum. In doing so, it turned aside the option of making the two campuses “instructional sites” with little control under USF Tampa once consolidation takes effect in 2020.

* * *

But in a letter issued Friday to the school’s board of trustees, the USF faculty in Tampa became the first group to publicly to push back against the idea.

What is their concern?

. . . Tampa’s faculty senate says keeping separate administrative teams on each campus under consolidation would threaten student success and critical funding for the university. It urged that USF Tampa’s processes be adopted across all campuses if the university wants to succeed.

“We have said the point of consolidation is for students to come onto any campus and get the same thing,” Tampa faculty senate president Tim Boaz said in an interview Monday. “It seems to me that it would be hard to see that operate if we are functioning more autonomously.”

* * *

The letter largely focuses on concerns related to preeminence, a prestigious designation USF Tampa achieved in September 2017 after meeting various performance benchmarks outlined by the state. Once USF consolidates, student metrics on all three campuses will be calculated together and the senate worries the title would be at risk under a branch campus model.

“It is highly implausible that USF could attain preeminence operating as three separately managed entities focused primarily on implementing their own individual projects, rather than working together as a unified institution,” the letter said, adding: “The costs of losing preeminence status would be enormous.”

It is hard to say whether that is a valid criticism or not. Nevertheless, needless to say, the letter did not go over well.

The note was met with pushback from top leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota, as well as USF faculty outside of Tampa. Task force leader Mike Griffin said while he respects the senate’s input, it’s too late for the task force to use it.

“We’re not going to let a letter distract us from what I believe is in the best interest of USF,” he said in an interview Monday. “The task force agrees and many others have agreed that the branch campus structure needs to be our future, and I’m going to continue advocating to make sure that happens.”

Karen Holbrook, chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee, called the letter disappointing, adding that consolidation “shouldn’t be unidirectional.” Resources and ideas should be equally shared and enjoyed across all campuses, she said.

“We are excited about working with our colleagues in Tampa, but I don’t think that’s reciprocal,” Holbrook added. “I thought we were going down a very positive track, and I don’t see that the letter is helpful to that.”

For the record, we still think the branch campus alternative sounds better than the other option. However, to be honest, we are not really sure what the end goal of all this is supposed to be.  We are not sure anyone has actually explained it (maybe no one is really sure).  As we have said before, all this really should have been discussed before consolidation was mandated.

We just hope that when it all shakes out, students benefit (or at least are not harmed).


Hyde Park – A Hospital

It seems that Tampa General is finally moving forward with some development of its property on Kennedy.

Florida Health Sciences Center, which does business as Tampa General Hospital, filed a letter of intent this week to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration in its February batching cycle seeking approval to build a 59-bed hospital.

“We have begun planning a freestanding rehabilitation specialty hospital near our main campus,” a TGH spokeswoman told the Tampa Bay Business Journal in an emailed statement.

The new building will be adjacent the TGH Corporate Center at 606 W. Kennedy Blvd., which is near the University of Tampa and Oxford Exchange.

The 59-bed facility will replace TGH’s current rehab center located on the main campus.

TGH said in an email that it will allow the system to offer top-quality care in a more modern facility and convenient location.

The next step for TGH will be for it to apply for its Certificate of Need to reclassify the existing rehab center as a specialty hospital.

As a general matter, we favor moving TGH facilities off Davis Islands.  It is a fine hospital in a scenic location, but it is also a vulnerable location (see hurricanes, rising sea level). And, as TGH seems to admit, a location off the island is probably more convenient. (We know why the hospital is where it is and get that moving the whole thing would be prohibitively expensive, but that does not change the downsides of the location.)

As for this specific plan, we do not have enough information yet to discuss it in any depth.


Economy – Sale

There was big news in the local business world.

Officials announced Monday that ConnectWise, the largest software development firm in Tampa Bay last valued at $1.2 billion, is pending acquisition by Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity firm.

* * *

While the deal was made for an undisclosed amount, Bellini was able to say $270 million in stock was being redeemed by ConnectWise’s non-C-level employees — making around 70 of their employees millionaires.

First, good for the people who are reaping a windfall.  They worked hard for it.

What it means for the area is not as clear.  The media coverage focused on this:

“It’s generating lots more jobs in the area — more high-tech jobs — and a whole bunch of young millionaires,” he said. “We see it as a seminal event, as a tipping point. I’m hoping part of the legacy of ConnectWise is, when we look back in 50 years, people will say, ‘That’s the company that kickstarted things.'”

Bellini is planning to take his funds from the acquisition and put it directly back into Tampa Bay businesses and hopes the soon-to-be millionaires will follow suit to create a trickle-down effect in the ecosystem.

“ConnectWise is a very unique Tampa story; we’re 100 percent organically grown, right in the soil of Tampa Bay,” Bellini said. “Think of how fertile the soil Tampa must have to grow a large company. It just means there’s a lot of opportunity for this to be done over, and over, and over again. We’ve got a very good alumni system and we expect our alumni to go do great things. If you leave [ConnectWise] for whatever reason, we expect them to create new technology, invest in them. We think it’s the next Silicon Valley.”

That is certainly one possibility.  It is also possible those people will take their money and indulge their other interests and/or seek new experienced in new places.  Or it may be something in between.

As long as ConnectWise stays here, the sale is likely to be an overall win for the area. While local control of ConnectWise is now gone, the deal provides exposure to and brings money into the area.  It allows people who are there now to consider starting their own businesses.  Whether it is an overwhelming win or not remains to be seen.

In other good news,

A Sweden-based biotech company that focuses on immunotherapy announced it will establish its U.S. headquarters in Tampa.

Vycellix Inc., which was founded by medical researchers at Sweden’s world renowned Karolinska Institutet, said its team initially comprising of its senior executive and administrative staff, is scheduled to occupy its new space next to the Moffitt Cancer Center in April, according to a Feb. 21 news release.

The headquarters will be located in a 1,500-square-foot space at 4117 E. Fowler Ave., which is part of center’s Fowler campus. The Moffitt Cancer Center Prevention Research is currently a tenant at the building and will remain there, Vycellix President Doug Calder told the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Not a huge facility but good deal.


How Not to Do Vision Zero

We have often said that much of the pedestrian and bike infrastructure in this area seems far more devoted to form over substance.  That includes cross walks.  A reader sent us some examples they noticed in northwest Hillsborough County of bizarre crosswalk design.  Just take a look at these three intersections: two on Bearss – here, here – and one on Dale Mabry here.

Do you notice anything odd? On the side road, the sidewalk is only on one side of the road (a common problem in this area).  However, the cross walk across the major road is on the other side of the side road.  In other words, a pedestrian or cyclists would have to cross the side road to get to the crosswalk on the major road.  Why?  Who knows?

Not every crosswalk is like that, but the County spent good money to set up the lights and crosswalks.  It would have been nice if they had just done it properly in the first place. (It would also be nice if it invested in some more streetlights so that at night people can see where they are and drivers can actually see pedestrians and cyclists).


Mayor Race

We do not endorse candidates.  For that reason, we have held off saying anything about the Tampa Mayor race.  That being said, there have been some recent articles that are worth sharing without comment.  First, WUSF has a piece that had a survey of candidates regarding their positions on issues.  You can find it here.  The Times has an article on the candidates’ views on dealing with finances here. Florida Politics also had an article on recent donations received by candidates.  You can find that here.

The choice is yours.


St. Pete – Pier

We have not had much to say about the Pier in St. Pete for a variety of reasons.  But in the last few weeks, the new logo was revealed. You can see it here.

We like it.  But, this being the Tampa Bay area:

But the discussion among council members and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin turned decidedly testy. For some council members, it was about what they viewed as a possible proliferation of signs at the new Pier. And to their horror, that some might be digital.

* * *

The issue was raised by Council member Ed Montanari, who had enlarged diagrams attached to the agenda item seeking council approval for funds to design the foundations and installation for wayfinding signs at the Pier.

“I was shocked by the number of signs that are going to be out there. I counted 91. … When I looked at the descriptions, there are four signs out there that look like the digital billboards that we discussed last October and they are called directory kiosks,’’ he said. “I want to get more information of what can be displayed on these kiosks.” 

We are not going to get into the details of the sign issue. (You can read the article here).  We are all for good signage.  On the other hand, sometimes, it can be too much.  Surely, a balance is possible.  Regardless, the Pier logo is a solid choice.


Rays

The latest on the Rays can be found here and here.


What’s In a Name

The Times has a nice article on the origin of names for bridges and other facilities in the area.  There is nothing to quote, but, if you want some local history, you can read it here.


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the State

Given our transit needs and the AFT, something interesting is going on in Miami.

The Better Bus Project is revving up. A community-driven campaign to revamp Miami-Dade County’s antiquated and inefficient network of roller coaster and roundabout routes will deliver change within the next two years.

Transit Alliance Miami, a non-profit transportation advocacy organization focused on improved mobility and safety, is partnering with the county’s Department of Transportation and Public Works and the office of Mayor Carlos Gimenez, which contributed $250,000 to the $630,000 project.

* * *

Transit Alliance will pay for technical analysis of the bus system but will also depend on input from people who ride the bus or would like to ride the bus. Workshops, public meetings and an interactive website will allow citizens to collectively plot solutions.

“We’ll have widespread community engagement,” said Chougle, who does not own a car and rides the bus frequently. “How can we make the bus system more usable for more people? Transit riders have never been asked, but they know the pain points. I met a man who commutes from North Beach to Key Biscayne, but the system breaks down in the Brickell area, so he ends up riding his bike to the Key in the rain and the heat.”

The Better Bus Project would strengthen corridors with highest demand, upgrade reliability, integrate trolleys that fracture the system and increase the amount of dedicated lanes, which now stands at a mere 20.4 miles.

That sounds like the kind of effort that the Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance could do that would be useful for the area. You can read the article here.

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