Saturday, September 14, 2019

PSTA Hosts Central Avenue BRT "Open House" at S Pasadena

The Eye headed to S Pasadena on Wednesday, September 11th, where PSTA hosted an Open House for their proposed $45.6 million Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

We captured a few interviews from St Pete Beach Mayor Al Johnson, a S Pasadena business owner whose business is being impacted by this project and a S Pasadena resident.

Watch the interviews after the break - there is some background noise.

Gleaned from these interviews:
  • The proposed BRT project was not well thought out for its [$45.6 million] cost and estimated ridership [1500 new riders]
  • The route has not been totally finalized as St. Pete Beach is still negotiating
  • Business owners impacted along the route were not properly informed or engaged as route was being designed
  • Some S Pasadena residents are not happy with PSTA and oppose the project
This BRT is proposed to run from downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach. It uses road diets to remove a general lane of vehicle traffic and parking along 1st Avenues North and South in St. Petersburg. It also removes a general lane of vehicle traffic on already congested Pasadena Avenue in S Pasadena.

While this project directly impacts S Pasadena with the general vehicle lane elimination on Pasadena Avenue, this is the first public meeting PSTA has hosted in S Pasadena since PSTA began the project in 2016.

The S Pasadena commission had requested, at a meeting they held with PSTA on August 19th, that PSTA host a public hearing type meeting because of the impact to their community. A public hearing is a more formal meeting where PSTA would make a public presentation and then S Pasadena residents would have the opportunity to make public comments. The public hearing would all be recorded for public records.

PSTA refused to honor that request and hosted this "Open House" format meeting instead.

The Open House consisted of renderings displayed by PSTA in a room where the public could walk around and look at them. PSTA had some of their employees and consultants, as well as a representative from FDOT (as Pasadena Ave is a State road) present to answer questions. The public could then provide their written feedback on a comment form.

Currently, 2 of the 3 municipalities along the route, S Pasadena and St. Pete Beach, approved formal Resolutions opposing this project as it is currently designed.

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