Friday, April 5, 2013

New TIA plans including rail?

The Times of course is pro rail in their editorial today, highlighting aspects of TIA's updated plans which includes an inter-modal transit center, somewhere... yet to be determined, sometime... yet to be determined.
The most promising aspect of the plan is its potential as a catalyst for regional rail. The document envisions linking the airport with whatever mass transit system local governments in the region eventually develop. TIA would connect its people mover to a future mass transit hub in the nearby West Shore business district. That opens the door for passengers to travel between the airport, downtown Tampa and Pinellas County without getting into a car. And it would inspire the region to look beyond bus service and toward a rail network that connects the major destinations on both sides of the bay.
Emphasis mine.   Just how close will this transit hub in the "nearby Westshore business district"?

Airplanes at TIA

According to the Times, there are several candidate locations, somewhere... yet to be determined.
FDOT has chosen four sites near I-275 for the Westshore center. The next step, in the coming years, is to fund a study to pare them down to one. The sites are: the north parking garage of Westshore Plaza; the Charley's Steakhouse property at 4444 W Cypress St.; a Jefferson High School parking lot; and parking garages along Trask and Cypress streets.
They are at least 3 miles away from TIA.  Also did you catch  " The next step, in the coming years, is to fund a study to pare them down to one."?

Sometime... yet to be determined.

So, it will be 3 miles away, requiring further studies, then massive infrastructure build out and then maybe we can get around better?  Is this the best we can do?
Candidate site for Westshore Multimodal Center
Air travelers can add up to 30 minutes to their overall travel time to get to the Westshore Multimodal Center since it will be off property compared to how TIA is set up today.  I know, since this is a similar set up to Miami International Airport, and it takes a while to get off the plane, hike to the MIA Mover, and take it to the MIA Multimodal Center.

The Times editorial leaves a clue to a better idea.
The airport's plan could also transform West Shore, which has the largest concentration of commercial office space in Florida. A transit hub serving the airport would make it cheaper and easier for business travelers to get to the West Shore business district. And it would attract bus circulator and other mass transit to serve the area's two malls, dozens of hotels and thousands of businesses. West Shore could be more pedestrian-friendly and reintroduce itself as a place to work, live and play.
Emphasis mine.  Uh, what are we waiting for?  This concept of buses, shuttles, circulators can happen NOW, without studies or massive infrastructure build out.  They can operate on the airport, mall, and office properties in the area NOW without creating a huge multimodal center. Perhaps a transfer station, but that's a lot cheaper, quicker and fit for purpose for transit needs.

Don't have the money?  It won't be as much as these plans.  Get started now.  Set up a private bus service if you can't get the politicians, planners, media, transit, real estate, construction firms all lined up.

What are we waiting for?

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