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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So most everyone here knows by now about the revelations at today's Tampa Bay Management Area (TMA) meeting that LRT is basically out of the picture and BRT is in when it comes to the Premium Transit Feasibility Study. Reactions were rather mixed, and I too have concerns about how the plan may evolve from here. What is everyone's opinions about the plan and what should be done to make it not look like the original TBX express bus in toll lane proposal?

I would personally rather have this thread separated from the other transit threads, as well as from the TBX thread.

Moderators, please feel free to rename this thread as appropriate, and can it please be a sticky if possible?
 

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Oh Hey!
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If done RIGHT, I’m all for it. I still think we need rail, but I don’t oppose BRT.

Keeping it away from the highway or “express lanes” is doing it right. BRT needs it’s own lanes and placing it between or alongside highway lanes will hinder the TOD that would come if they gave a system it’s own separated lanes.

Also, add Downtown designated express buses. Straight from one downtown to another. To see the success, start off with morning and evening schedules. Then move to weekend services. And then from there, they can do daily schedules. I think it would be a highly utilized route.

I hope this speeds up the process of a Westshore Intermodal Station and can get an extension of the SkyConnect.
 

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I think we need to start somewhere and it doesn't look like plunking down a huge amount of money for a regional rail system will happen any time soon. If built correctly to avoid sitting in mind numbing traffic spots I think people will slowly get on board. I still think Tampa at least needs a light rail line that connects USF to downtown, westshore, airport and RayJay with TOD density around it. With Gasparilla and the NHL all star game weekend coming up we'll get a glaring reminder of how inadequate or transportation system is.
 

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Issues I have with the proposed set-up:
-Running on the shoulder of the 275 N of downtown Tampa to USF - almost everyday I drive that way I see an accident in both directions utilizing that space, plus if traffic is stopped (like it almost always is) it doesn't seem like it'll be safe for a large bus to be driving the speed of a train right on the shoulder. In other words, they say it can travel as fast as a train, but I'm extremely doubtful of it actually going as fast (not to mention as safe!) as a train in real life.
-The stop they are proposing for the bus and the rail on CSX track near USF is on Nebraska which is 2.4 miles from the campus - nobody will use it if that's what they actually go through with.
-Marion Transit Center in Downtown should not be used for the downtown stop for this. It needs to connect directly to both the CSX rail line ( if they are seriously thinking about using that in the future to connect to USF) and to the extension of the downtown trolley.
-Running solely along the 275 will not connect this to jobs or housing making this a very inconvenient method of travel. For example, I live downtown, but I'll have to travel 1 mile to get to the downtown stop. If I then want to go up to USF I'll have to travel 2.4 miles from the proposed stop to the campus. I could bike the rest of the way, but a) we don't even know if they'll have special restriction on bikes yet, b) Fowler is the absolute worst road for bicyclists, and c) it'd literally be faster to bike the entire way from downtown to USF than have so many legs of transit.

All that said this doesn't feel all that much like BRT, just a fancy, inconvenient bus that also has some special lane privileges (which they should've probably given to buses around here a long time ago anyway). Even worse, it feels like their excuse to build the 6 billion dollar waste of money and space that is TBX.
 

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Keeping Things Rolling
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Keep in mind that FDOT did this with Dale Mabry Hwy in the 80s. Four express bus routes with regular frequency from North Lakeview PNR to USF, Downtown, Westshore and MacDill AFB to get transit advocates and NIMBYs to agree to expanding Dale Mabry Hwy to 8 lanes. Those routes were cut after only a few years due to low ridership. Only the 20X survives to this day, and it's not the same route (ironically, it's being extended into MacDill AFB next month).

BRT on I-275 is not going to be effective, for the same reasons that MetroRapid is not effective. Given that the Hillsborough County Traffic Management Center turns MetroRapid traffic signal priority OFF during rush hour to give I-275 traffic priority, I am ye of little faith when it comes to establishing higher order transit in the corridor that doesn't run horribly. There's too much existing traffic to build facilities that offer some kind of advantage over travel in a personal automobile. If you want BRT, run it down 40th St, Rowlett Park/30th St or a widened Armenia Ave. Whatever is done, the rapid corridor needs to be primarily somewhere that the Interstates aren't, so that it can have full traffic priority without interfering with already overwhelmed infrastructure.

We just took a lane OFF of 40th St from I-4 to Hillsborough Ave. It's just sitting there, doing nothing. Run it down the center of I-4 from Downtown to 40th St, fancy stations at 15th St (HCC Ybor) and 22nd St (plenty of housing and commercial nearby), plus potential rail intermodal stops at 30th St and 36th St, after which the route drops to grade level after 36th St. After that, run along 40th St from I-4 to USF. There's your prime corridor, with all the TOD you can eat and only a single traffic light between Hillsborough and Busch (3 roundabouts, install triggered red signals on side streets that hold traffic when buses approach). You also capture Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Moffitt Gen2 and a ton of USF housing. Work with USF to forge a new BRT corridor along USF Beard/USF Hawthorne to capture the center of the USF campus and the main Moffitt Cancer Center, then up Bruce B Downs. There's also absolutely no reason why this corridor would not be able to have absolute control over the traffic signal system. So much built-in ridership between the USF and Ybor City stops that corridor ridership should never be left wanting. It also leaves options for future branch routes to the Fairgrounds, Temple Terrace, New Tampa, Seffner/Mango, Brandon, etc.. that will not materialize on an I-275 corridor.

Note: See the disclaimer in my signature. I'm open to all forms of transportation, but if you're going to do it, do it RIGHT.
 

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They can't skimp on the stations. If they really want BRT to work you need it to look as if it's a stable part of the community. That means larger covered stations, preferably where you have to purchase your ticket before you enter.

The buses need to be the larger articulated buses as well. If you're trying to attract new riders you're not going to do it with the same old bus and a fancy new paint job.

All that being said, I feel like that is only good for BRT within a city. Long distance BRT to St. pete, even with larger, nicer buses, will just feel like any other bus ride to St. pete and honestly, after taking the ferry I'd say that's a better option for that trip.
 

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What is being proposed is not true BRT, it is merely express bus in managed lanes. TBBJ headline stated "Long overdue multi-county transit plan finds billions in savings". This is a complete joke. Putting express bus in managed/express lanes and on the shoulder has been studied for years. It was always considered an interim solution - a stepping stone to real fixed guideway transit. Not to say that adding any form of premium transit such as this won't provide some benefit, but do not hide behind the guise of BRT. Call this what it is.
 

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I wonder why this BS proposal would cost 450 Million US $. They plan to build all the express lanes and shoulders for TBX (or whatever it is called now) anyway. So apart from the stops and the vehicles, the cost of already planned TBX road work would be designated as cost for BRT?....what a disguise :eek:hno:.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Everyone, it's important to know that this is all basically a re-hash of the original flawed TBX regional express buses in toll lanes plan that the community made it clear to FDOT that they didn't want. Obviously, politics is still very much in play and no one in Tallahassee cares about what the community wants, they only care about what Rick Scott wants - especially now that it is likely that he will run for Senate against Bill Nelson.

If this stupidity and incompetence goes through, we will simply have van-sized autonomous shuttles operating in the toll lanes and the power players will still call it "BRT". It's nowhere near BRT, it's an out right scam! Plain and simple! They will try to sock it to us by pitching that 40-foot transit buses will be used instead of articulated ones because HART has no resources right now to accommodate larger buses. The new 2nd garage probably won't get built until some time between 2023 and 2028. If the homestead exemption ballot measure passes in November - which I fully expect it to - bet on that project getting delayed indefinitely. My fear though is that the plan will get watered down even further to where not even 40-foot buses will be used, but again, van-sized AV shuttles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For those who may have forgotten, the "Airporter", which I have no clue if it is even on the books still. That WAS originally the 727X plan that PSTA put out during the failed Greenlight initiative, then HART took it up afterwards when Go Hillsborough was on the table. As of the last iteration, it became a very much watered down version to be contracted out to a private operator and using "premium vehicles" which basically would be a cutaway van or something of that sort.
 

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Keeping Things Rolling
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My fear though is that the plan will get watered down even further to where not even 40-foot buses will be used, but again, van-sized AV shuttles.
We already have this. It's called TBARTA Vanpool, and it's what replaced the 47LX and 61LX. Only difference is that one of the passengers does the driving.
 

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They can't skimp on the stations. If they really want BRT to work you need it to look as if it's a stable part of the community. That means larger covered stations, preferably where you have to purchase your ticket before you enter.

The buses need to be the larger articulated buses as well. If you're trying to attract new riders you're not going to do it with the same old bus and a fancy new paint job.

All that being said, I feel like that is only good for BRT within a city. Long distance BRT to St. pete, even with larger, nicer buses, will just feel like any other bus ride to St. pete and honestly, after taking the ferry I'd say that's a better option for that trip.
A proper BRT system would include transfer facilities as part of each station. If you put BRT on I-275, that means local route transfer facilities *under* the Interstate, between the ramps. That's the true problem here. There is NOT enough room in existing urban interchanges for something like that, which is going to require basically an entire rebuild of the full length of I-275 from County Line Rd to the Skyway Bridge. Even our recently reconstructed portions of I-275 will need modification, which is why the project is expected to cost $Billions. The odds of a project of that scope staying on budget are slim to none... you're talking Big Dig levels of project management here.

Edit: These days, you also have to give TNCs somewhere to pick up/drop off, so there are some pretty good logistical nightmares associated with this project as proposed.
 

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First off, FDOT is lying about the cost, just like they've always lied to the public about the cost of the toll lanes.

Second, they're lying about this being BRT.

Third, they're lying when they say the study showed this was the best option. This was only the best option if you threw out the data and just picked the cheapest option that uses the interstate.



I've made such a remark before and swear on my children I mean it... If they build this cluster****, my family is out of here.
 

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Issues I have with the proposed set-up:
-Running on the shoulder of the 275 N of downtown Tampa to USF - almost everyday I drive that way I see an accident in both directions utilizing that space, plus if traffic is stopped (like it almost always is) it doesn't seem like it'll be safe for a large bus to be driving the speed of a train right on the shoulder. In other words, they say it can travel as fast as a train, but I'm extremely doubtful of it actually going as fast (not to mention as safe!) as a train in real life.
Correct you are. BOS is limited by regulation to only use the shoulder when the flow of traffic is under 25mph, and they're not allowed to go over 35mph, with no more than a 15mph speed differential with the flow of general traffic.

http://www.fdot.gov/transit/Pages/Bus_on_shoulders_Guidance_013117.pdf
 

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Issues I have with the proposed set-up:
-Running on the shoulder of the 275 N of downtown Tampa to USF - almost everyday I drive that way I see an accident in both directions utilizing that space, plus if traffic is stopped (like it almost always is) it doesn't seem like it'll be safe for a large bus to be driving the speed of a train right on the shoulder. In other words, they say it can travel as fast as a train, but I'm extremely doubtful of it actually going as fast (not to mention as safe!) as a train in real life.
-The stop they are proposing for the bus and the rail on CSX track near USF is on Nebraska which is 2.4 miles from the campus - nobody will use it if that's what they actually go through with.
-Marion Transit Center in Downtown should not be used for the downtown stop for this. It needs to connect directly to both the CSX rail line ( if they are seriously thinking about using that in the future to connect to USF) and to the extension of the downtown trolley.
-Running solely along the 275 will not connect this to jobs or housing making this a very inconvenient method of travel. For example, I live downtown, but I'll have to travel 1 mile to get to the downtown stop. If I then want to go up to USF I'll have to travel 2.4 miles from the proposed stop to the campus. I could bike the rest of the way, but a) we don't even know if they'll have special restriction on bikes yet, b) Fowler is the absolute worst road for bicyclists, and c) it'd literally be faster to bike the entire way from downtown to USF than have so many legs of transit.

All that said this doesn't feel all that much like BRT, just a fancy, inconvenient bus that also has some special lane privileges (which they should've probably given to buses around here a long time ago anyway). Even worse, it feels like their excuse to build the 6 billion dollar waste of money and space that is TBX.
I agree with the points of this post. I need to see the final concept i.e. station concepts, vehicles, how existing bus system will integrate, how it will connect with streetcar and DTT/USF rail, etc. I understand trying to get something done, but it still needs to be a strong start.
 

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Yeah, that's my main concern as well. I don't care if it's rail, bus, gondola, peoplemover, Busch Gardens parking lot tram, whatever... it needs to be done right and not as some kind of political powerplay that gets something else built, after which the transit component is neglected or discarded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
First off, FDOT is lying about the cost, just like they've always lied to the public about the cost of the toll lanes.

Second, they're lying about this being BRT.

Third, they're lying when they say the study showed this was the best option. This was only the best option if you threw out the data and just picked the cheapest option that uses the interstate.



I've made such a remark before and swear on my children I mean it... If they build this cluster****, my family is out of here.
Of course!

The realities of this project are:

*This is nowhere near "true gold standard" BRT. This is merely just putting lipstick on the original TBX flawed regional express bus in toll lanes plan.

*With the power players in Tally pushing hard for AV, there's no doubt in my mind that the vehicles that will ultimately be chosen for the corridor will not even be 40-foot transit buses, let alone 60-foot articulated buses. Artics will not happen cause neither HART or PSTA have the facilities to handle them. HART would need an entirely separate garage to handle them - which that isn't likely to be constructed until some time between 2023 and 2028 IMO. They are planning to revamp their current facility, but that won't have any accomodations for artics (Mike, correct me if I'm wrong). PSTA's facility would have to undergo significant modifications to handle artics, something that they're not really talking about to my knowledge right now (it's not even clear if the Central Ave BRT line will use artics to start. Their intent is to use artics, but my gut feeling tells me they'll start with 40-foot Gillig BRT Plus hybrids). 40-foot buses also probably won't happen because of the push for AV. What will likely be chosen as the "premium vehicle" is a van-sized vehicle similar to what is being planned for the "Airporter", if that plan ever gets off the ground. My gut feeling is that the "Airporter" will be used as the model for all of the planned TBX transit lines and the route from St. Pete to TIA will be integrated into the system.

*Operation of the system will very likely be done through a private operator.

*Vehicles will not leave the highway at all, except at terminating points - where poorly designed park-and-ride lots will be constructed, or certain key suburban centers (i.e. Carillon). The only other exception may be downtown Tampa to avoid the I-4 interchange. This will force customers to have to go upstairs/downstairs for connections. TOD will be virtually non-existent.

*Any transit connections to the system will require surface street rebuilds to handle regular transit vehicles and normal cars for pickup/dropoff. That will add to the cost of the overall project. Furthermore, with the poor state of HART right now, I have no doubts in my mind that additional connections will be done through HyperLINK and not actual fixed bus routes.

*Due to the immense final cost of implementing the entire project and operating it, HART, will have to resort at some point, to start contracting out local bus routes to have enough resources on hand to maintain the new system. Miami-Dade Transit has already contracted out several bus routes to either The City of Miami Trolley or Limousine of South Florida. The latter is using cutaway vans as their choice vehicle for the routes that were handed off to them. It's only a matter of time IMO before HART is forced to do the same and service and ridership will plummet big time.

And Jason, I don't blame you. If this monstrosity is built, I'm gone from this state by 2022.
 

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This thing sounds like the crap JTA proposed as BRT in Jax 15 years ago. It would have used expressway HOV lanes, was claimed to be 50% cheaper than the actual cost and was sold as being LRT on rubber wheels that would also spur TOD. We successfully lobbied to kill it and in return they revamped it to a MetroRapid like BRT-lite system called The Flyer, which is really a bus service with headways you'd expect in a city.

No one lives on I-275 so the chances of this being anything other than a reason to spend transit money on road construction are slim. I still can't believe CUTR is claiming the HealthLine in Cleveland is spurring TOD and using that as an example for this project. The HealthLine complements an existing rapid transit system and there were several universities and medical centers on Euclid Avenue anyway. Sorry, it's not TOD when schools build additional dorms and the hospital adds a cancer center.
 

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Not to mention that this FDOT plan puts USF/Moffitt 2.4 miles away from the nearest stop, 1.2 miles away from the future downtown medical school, and 2 miles away from TGH. They can't realistically say this will spur medical development/compares to the Cleveland HealthLine (regardless of its success) in the slightest bit.


This thing sounds like the crap JTA proposed as BRT in Jax 15 years ago. It would have used expressway HOV lanes, was claimed to be 50% cheaper than the actual cost and was sold as being LRT on rubber wheels that would also spur TOD. We successfully lobbied to kill it and in return they revamped it to a MetroRapid like BRT-lite system called The Flyer, which is really a bus service with headways you'd expect in a city.

No one lives on I-275 so the chances of this being anything other than a reason to spend transit money on road construction are slim. I still can't believe CUTR is claiming the HealthLine in Cleveland is spurring TOD and using that as an example for this project. The HealthLine complements an existing rapid transit system and there were several universities and medical centers on Euclid Avenue anyway. Sorry, it's not TOD when schools build additional dorms and the hospital adds a cancer center.
 
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