Saturday, April 21, 2018
Transportation

HART gives up on Brandon transfer station plan

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit has abandoned plans to create a large transfer station in Brandon where passengers could wait in comfort for a bus to zip them to downtown Tampa or MacDill Air Force Base.

HART wanted to build a park-and-ride center with room for 200 to 250 vehicles and other amenities such as restrooms that are available at few of HART's nearly two dozen smaller park-and-ride lots.

The agency abandoned the Brandon park-and-ride project because costs soared about $1.6 million above original estimates of $2.25 million, said Marcia Mejia, HART spokeswoman. The agency spent about $55,000 of the money.

That means some commuters who would have parked in a large, lighted lot under the watch of security cameras and patrols still face parking on the street or in spots where business owners might ask them to move.

HART planners hoped the larger lot with a snack bar and more secure parking would lure more riders as well as handle anticipated growth in ridership. It also would have made it more convenient for commuters.

The decision means passengers who want to leave their cars and ride a bus to Tampa will continue to use the scattered lots, many with only a bench for riders.

It also means passengers leaving their vehicles at the Westfield Brandon mall will continue dueling for space when shoppers overflow the mall lots during the holidays. The abandoned park-and-ride project would have replaced the mall transfer area, Mejia said.

The move leaves a park-and-ride station planned for an area north of Fletcher Avenue and east of Interstate 75 as the only regional park-and-ride center. HART intends that one mainly for riders of bus rapid transit service it is developing, she said.

HART budgeted $1.75 million for that station that's expected to open early next year.

Eliminating the Brandon project freed $2.2 million and was part of $8.9 million of Capital Improvement Tax money the agency returned to Hillsborough County to use for its own projects. The money was part of $40 million in transportation money that Hillsborough gave HART in 2008.

The Brandon project stumbled over a site for the station.

HART was negotiating for about 4 acres on Falkenberg Road just south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and west of I-75.

But the owner was less than eager to sell and the property was less than ideal for HART's uses. Last year the owner rejected an offer of $1.38 million and a deal was never made.

On HART's part, the site's location on a divided highway created awkward turns out of the lot.

"We would have had to back-track some buses to get to their route. It would have been very expensive," Mejia said.

HART expected buses on the 25LX, 27LX and 53LX routes would stop at the Brandon station before taking the expressway to downtown or toward MacDill. About 85,000 people used those routes last year, Mejia said. Also, local routes would have used the site.

In addition to the $2.2 million from the Brandon project, HART returned about $6.8 million from its two bus rapid transit projects. The savings came from reduced construction costs and less spent on a design.

Comments
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Published: 04/19/18
She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board."Southwest 1380, we’re single engine," Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, said. "We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to n...
Published: 04/18/18
Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

The other day I had to go to Orlando from Tampa on Interstate 4, which has to be one of the most disliked highways in Florida. And I say this as someone who learned to drive on Miami’s I-95.It turned out to be the same root canal of a trip we’ve come...
Published: 04/18/18
NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

PHILADELPHIA — A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that set off a terrifying chain of events and left a businesswoman hanging half outside a shattered window showed evidence of "metal fatigue," according ...
Published: 04/18/18
Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

TEMPLE TERRACE — If all goes as planned on Monday (April 23), at least 100 people will line the sides of one of the most dangerous stretches in Hillsborough County — 56th Street between Sligh Avenue and Busch Boulevard — in an effort to get motorists...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

NEW PORT RICHEY — Construction costs to tunnel under U.S. 41 in central Pasco could top a half-billion dollars, four times the projected price of building elevated lanes above the highway’s intersection with State Road 54.The cost estimate, said Comm...
Published: 04/17/18
Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

I live in St. Pete and would like to know how I could go about getting a speed hump installed on my street. Where do I start?Manuel Reyes, St. PetersburgThe place to start would be by contacting the St. Petersburg Neighborhood Transportation Manager,...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

Parker Lake got sick of the rat race. Sick of working in a cubicle. Sick of commuting on Miami’s mean streets. Sick of being overweight from sitting at a desk or in traffic jams.So Lake quit his unfulfilling job, sold his car and moved to a house on ...
Published: 04/09/18
A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

The Brightline train fatally struck a man Sunday, bringing the total killed by the train to six people since it began test runs last year.The Delray Beach Police Department announced on Twitter that a pedestrian was hit Sunday by a northbound Brightl...
Published: 04/09/18
Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Massive new street signals were erected at the intersection of 87th Avenue N. and Fourth Street, just four blocks north from the light-controlled intersection at 83rd Avenue N. At the same time a new WaWa store/gas station is being constructed near 8...
Published: 04/09/18