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Caitlin Johnston - Transportation and General Assignment Reporter

Transportation and General Assignment Reporter

I write about transportation, a subject that affects all of us as we navigate our busy lives. I let you know how new projects will impact your commute and quality of life, while also dissecting complex policies and budgets. My work takes me from bus stops to government meetings to sitting in mind-numbing traffic jams. I’m a proud Hoosier, a slow runner, and a lover of mountains. I studied journalism and political science at Indiana University and earned my master’s at the University of Maryland. I joined the Times in 2012, first covering breaking news in Tampa and east Hillsborough. I attend 9-hour meetings and read traffic studies from the 1960s so you didn’t have to. I’m always looking for story ideas.

  1. Metered parking spots like these along the 200 block of First Avenue S in St. Petersburg, along with spots in surrounding areas, have been changed to include weekend and more evening hours.
    The city recently extended metered hours to include nights and weekends and is working to phase out most free parking downtown.
  2. Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority CEO Ben Limmer, center, talks with Stephen Simon, president of Tampa's Amalgamated Transit Union, and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister while riding a county bus last month. Limmer was placed on paid leave Monday by the agency board as they investigate claims against him related to procurement irregularities.
    Ben Limmer became CEO of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority this spring after working in Atlanta and Phoenix.
  3. Lightning fans and other riders line up for a Cross-Bay Ferry ride in downtown St. Petersburg. While local taxpayers kick in a relatively small overall amount to subsidize the service, the per person cost for each trip is higher than what they pay for other modes of public transportation.
    Taxpayers subsidize the service at a much higher rate than other modes of public transportation. But some say the cost will go down with time.
  4. A rendering shows how technology developed by Liberty Defense Holdings can scan people for metallic and non-metallic weapons. The new system will be tested at Port Tampa Bay in the spring of 2020.
    Travelers will briefly see the new system this spring. A Georgia-based company is testing how well they work.
  5. A view of the I-275 interchange in the West Shore area of Tampa from earlier this year. Officials announced Thursday that the state will pay $1.4 billion to rebuild the interchange starting in 2023.
    Construction will start in 2023 and is expected to take four to five years.
  6. Scooter provider Lime will offer a free training class Saturday in Tampa to help people become more comfortable with riding scooters.
    The one-hour class by Lime will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at the East Zack Street Parking Lot.
  7. Cars back up at a Tampa intersection last October, not long before Hillsborough County voters approved a one-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. This week, local officials detailed how the money would be spent, if the tax survives a legal challenge before the Florida Supreme Court.
    Local governments have plans for $527 million in projects. But the Florida Supreme Court would need to clear the way.
  8. The woman was charged after a man was found dead in a Riverview home.
  9. Ryan Cummings, 23, left, and Alex Frey, 25, both of Tampa, rent Spin electric scooters from a corral located along Zack Street in May. St. Petersburg hopes to soon launch it's own scooter program.
    The city wants to avoid other cities’ mistakes. Scooters will not be allowed on sidewalks and must be parked in designated corrals.
  10. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is hoping to secure a $21.8 million federal grant to help pay for a bus rapid transit line connecting downtown St. Petersburg and the beaches. St. Petersburg City  Council approved an interlocal agreement Thursday supporting the project.
    Pinellas transit officials hope the project will get a federal grant in 2020. However, St. Pete Beach and South Pasadena still oppose it.