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bobliocatt

38 mile Monorail plan takes one step forward

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I was surprised to read Comissioner Karen Seel is somewhat against the project. She'll be getting another letter from me. When I've spoken to her she's always seemed so energetic and excited about transportation projects and improving transportation in Pinellas.

I find this quote funny: "I just think we're too developed to integrate something into our system," County Commissioner Susan Latvala said. "We're way too far down the road for this."

Don't know what planet she lives on but last I checked monorails can be built just about anywhere, over roads through buildings, etc. Plus a rail system would spur redevolment along and near the line, as has been witnessed with every other rail project through the country.

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That was a pretty crazy statement, considering the area'salmost completely build-out and that's one of the main reasons an alternative mass transit system is needed. I wonder, if Pinellas is too built out for rail, then what would she propose as an alternative to relieve traffic congestion.

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Why do people not mind tearing down homes/buildings to make way for wider streets and highways but when it comes to lightrails and other modes of transportation, which are much narrower, its all of a sudden a huge problem? You'd think politicians would want these sorts of things in their cities, for nothing else than competition.

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It is a step in the right direction.

I sort of see what Latvala is saying, but Prahaboheme response is right on target. They'd be more willing to continue widening roads instead of building a rail system -- something that would not only ease traffic problems but also have a great economic impact.

This needs to be voted on ASAP. Have a special election.

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It seems that most people still don't get it and seem resigned to live stuck in traffic forever. If only people realized how "expensive" pure roadbuilding is, in subsidies and intangible costs. There also seems to be a class issue hidden behind the ruse of money and the stigma of transit still lives on.

I wish Pinellas residents the best of luck... You guys definitely need a solution, fast. One would think that residents and leaders would realize the sense of finite space and want to do something about it that will have a great impact over the long term.

Btw, does anyone know why they would propose monorail over heavy rail or light rail?

Also, about a special election: Is the anti-rail sentiment echoed by the commissioner(s) really representative of how most people in the community feel, or is this a minority opinion?

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Here's a map and rendering of the system that Jahi98 found.  You can click on the link for more detailed renderings, maps, aerials and information.

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It looks to be a true monorail sytem as well. Which would equate to lightrail I think.

The more I read into the more I'm liking the monorail sytem as choice of transit. Surface lightrail will require too much space and crossings.

btw if you go the site, the map is clickable in those squares, it overlays the track and stations over a sattelite picture.

for example:

10.jpg

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That was a pretty crazy statement, considering the area'salmost completely build-out and that's one of the main reasons an alternative mass transit system is needed.  I wonder, if Pinellas is too built out for rail, then what would she propose as an alternative to relieve traffic congestion.

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I think their biggest proposal to date is BRT along some of the main corridors. That just won't cut it. First of all they're going to have to widen the roads to make room for a dedicated bus lane, then they'll have to install new signals that respond to approaching buses. It'll be a help but not a solution. A BRT system with the current bus/trolley system and a monorail/light rail system would be perfect. I can understand Seel saying what she said about getting off the train and having to walk in the heat but that's why you plan it around your current and future transit projects. BRT is the better proposal for crossing the bay I think because to build a rail line across would be too expensive right now. What they need to do is dedicate a lane on the Howard Frankland to the express buses they currently have running as well as any BRT buses they may add. Who wants to take an express bus that sits in traffic with the rest of the cars. I don't see why the 300x doesn't just take the Gandy bridge to downtown.

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It looks to be a true monorail sytem as well.  Which would equate to lightrail I think.
Monorail isn't quite rail rather it falls under the "fixed guideway" category.

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I'm aware of that but I was referring to speed not coverage. I personally considered taking the 300X to Tampa but why should I bother if it's going to take a route riddled with traffic congestion. I travel the same route on a daily basis and end up passing the 300X bus as it's sitting in traffic. With the bridge backups in the afternoon that extend from Downtown across the HFB to near 4th Street sometimes the bus just sits there when it could easily take Ulmerton to Roosevelt across the Gandy Bridge to the Crosstown to Downtown and the same in the reverse. It would probably save alot of time and alot of wasted gas, especially in the afternoon. Gandy and the Crosstown aren't nearly as congested as the I-275 corridor.

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I'm aware of that but I was referring to speed not coverage.

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Speed has never been a priority of any bus lines here in Tampa...

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Speed has never been a priority of any bus lines here in Tampa...

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Shame it would make it more attractive to commuters if it was.

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As one of the many who live in St. Pete and work in Tampa, I would love to see Pinellas' monorail extended over the bay to Tampa. Of any fixed guideway mass transit, monorail would be the least costly to bridge over all that water. Now if I could just get Hillsbourgh to connect it to the airport and downtown, I'd be all set. :D

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Yea good idea but i doubt this will happen I-275 is fine until you get to the howard franklin going to Tampa maybe a monorail going across the bay to the airport and Westshore and downtown where traffic is the worst in the bay area.

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My last visit to tampa was riddled with traffic. as a tourist from tally, i saw the maps and thought it would be easy to get around... but it seems like one or two traffic incidents can ruin everyones afternoon. The monorail is the modern subway giving instead of nasty tunnels, scenic views to keep commuter morale high. but would it be able to help tourist looking ot visit the hard Rock, the Zoo, and the horrible drivers: the college students? And why dont people stop at red lights in tampa?

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My last visit to tampa was riddled with traffic.  as a tourist from tally, i saw the maps and thought it would be easy to get around... but it seems like one or two traffic incidents can ruin everyones afternoon.

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Most roads are maxed out well before peak traffic times. (That's why we have so many roads with either a "D" or "F" traffic rating.) Even if there is a single car on the shoulder on the highway, there could be a backup for a mile. And a disabled vehicle on a surface street can cripple it. Add on 15+ consecutive years of constant road construction (from at least the late 90's into 2013 and beyond), and you have a recipe for disaster.

The monorail is the modern subway giving instead of nasty tunnels, scenic views to keep commuter morale high.  but would it be able to help tourist looking ot visit the hard Rock, the Zoo, and the horrible drivers: the college students?

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The problem isn't just the tourists and college students. Also, Pinellas county gets most of the tourists, yet Tampa still has insane traffic issues. Tampa only has to deal with USF traffic and a few other tourist spots (Busch Gardens, Hard Rock, Channelside, Ybor, etc.). However, we still have year-round traffic issues on just about every major road in Hillsborough county. We need a solution that can fix the day to day traffic problems (i.e., the daily commute). Wider roads won't fix things. For example, Fowler avenue (which is always busy) is 8 lanes wide (plus median/turn lanes) from around I-275 to Bruce B Downs. Crossing the street in a car for a left turn is dangerous enough, and pedestrians don't have a chance.

And why dont people stop at red lights in tampa?

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Because many of the lights don't stay green long enough. The turn arrows on 56th at Busch in Temple Terrace (during the day they stay green for only 15 seconds and yellow for 5, and even shorter at night), the turn arrows on 30th at Busch (don't even bother going that way at night), and the turn arrows on Fletcher at Nebraska in north Tampa (the line of cars stretches for a half mile in each direction) come to mind. It also gets annoying when one of the lights on Ashley Dr., Tampa St., or Florida Ave. downtown get out of sync (traffic can get backed up for as many as 2-3 blocks).

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Has anyone in in Tampa looked at the monorail debacle that is going on in Seattle where voters approved a system? Costs there are exceeding $1Billion/mile, :blink: which threatens to end the entire project. There is a thread here with more info.

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So drivers in Tampa are running red lights because the signals don't stay green long enough? Now I've heard it all.

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So drivers in Tampa are running red lights because the signals don't stay green long enough? Now I've heard it all.

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Yes, any day now the New England Journal of Medicine is going to cite a study pruporting to show an area in the brain which causes the expectation that a green should last until "I" have gotten through the intersection.

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Well, once you have seen a signal turn green 3 times because only 7 or 8 people (in a constantly growing line of no less than 30 cars) can go through at a time, you start to get just a little bit frustrated. Also, a lot of signals aren't timed properly so there is often a constant backup of traffic (from dawn to dusk) on certain stretches of road.

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Has anyone in in Tampa looked at the monorail debacle that is going on in Seattle where voters approved a system? Costs there are exceeding $1Billion/mile,  which threatens to end the entire project. There is a thread here with more info.

The problem that SMP is facing is simply a lack of income. The actual cost of the system is around $2.1 Billion. I can't blame people for jumping on the $9 billion in interest that the financing plan called for, and I think the only workable solution is if they add a second revenue stream (ie. rental car tax). $2.1 billion for a 14 mile, grade-separated transit system in a heavily urban setting is not a bad price. If (and that's a BIG if) Seattle voters are willing to pass another tax to pay for it sooner, the financing plan will much more favorable. Again, it has nothing to do with what they are building, but how they are going to pay for it.

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