The below commentary was sent to us by a Transit Miami reader in response to today’s article in the Miami Herald.

As a transit advocate adding regional rail along the FEC corridor just makes common sense. We need all Transit Miami readers to show their support by attending one of the FDOT meetings this week in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. Let’s go with one voice that tri-rail should be expanded and run along the eastern FEC line in addition to the current western CSX line. Tri-rail already has the experience, staff, trains, repair personnel, etc and adding additional options for travelers will help everyone. Having one type of train system allows one operator, less total investment, flexibility, and regional rail ties into the state system for high speed rail. Don’t let Orlando and Tampa steal all of the Florida rail money. Approving regional rail will help SE Florida’s bid to receive federal money for high speed rail.”

The Florida Department of Transportation will hold public hearings on the South Florida East Coast Corridor Study at five locations:

• West Palm Beach Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., Tuesday, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m.

• North Miami Beach, McDonald Center, 17051 NE 19th Ave., Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m.

• Boca Raton Community Center, Royal Palm Room, 150 Crawford Blvd., Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m.

• Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Sept. 21, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m.

• Fort Lauderdale, Holiday Park Social Center, 1150 G. Harold Martin Dr., Sept. 22 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m.

 

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8 Responses to We need the FEC connection

  1. Mike Moskos says:

    Well, I get the sense both the company doing the study, the public attending the meetings, and Florida Dept. of Transportation want rail on the FEC (if for no other reason than they can’t imagine erecting another 1-95 to handle the coming traffic).

    I have 2 fears:
    A. That gov. officials, faced with massive deficits, will go the cheap route and give us long-haul buses on existing roads (think I-95 Express) rather than a FEC rail or bus way and then when its not filled with passengers, funders will say, “look not enough people ride it to justify this kind of money.” I-95 Express though, for being just a few months old is carrying about 2,100 each day on Miami’s buses and 5,200 on Broward’s. I think good looking rail could 10x that ridership, but I’m not sure anyone is willing to bet $2,500 million dollars ($2.5 billion) on my thoughts.
    B. That if rail/bus way gets built, the architects will make the same mistakes they made with Metrorail and Tri-Rail stations: too big, isolated, with nothing to do at them but realize how much time you’re wasting while you wait. The stations need to be small, built as part of retail complexes, perhaps building lobbies, etc. Give the commuter a chance to do his/her errands/shopping at the stations and you’ll really have cars off I-95. And it won’t matter that Shai Agassi is going to make driving much cheaper than it is today. Here’s the study website: sfeccstudy.com

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  2. Mike Moskos says:

    Sorry, I misquoted the I-95 Express Broward ridership figures: its 5,200 riders a MONTH. For Dade, its 2,100 riders each weekday (or about 46,300 riders a month).

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  3. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    Mike,
    I share your same fears. Additionally, because of the recession and some other things taking place on all levels of government, there is a growing anti-government and/or anti-government-spending sentiment among many Americans. It’s almost scary the obsession we have with deficits and so on. On the one hand, I am glad that citizens are paying attention, but on the other hand, there is this almost, cult-like behavior regarding local and federal budgets that leaves me with this uneasy feeling.

    Anyways, my point is that big projects are now getting people’s attention and scrutiny, so my fear is that the loudest naysayers will win out.

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  4. Polk says:

    I agree with the station issue, and being that this rail line is in an urbanized area that is fairly developed already, they would make for excellent locations of Transit Oriented Developments, including facilities such as offices, residential units, and even public facilities like schools or community centers would make good use of space rather than just a entrance and a parking lot.
    Let’s see what they propose, and perhaps someone there may express the need for more useful stations.

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  5. UDB says:

    I think the interconnected rail concept between the FEC tracks and Tri-Rail is very smart and hope it moves forward in a timely manner. I also have some of the fears other commenters have mentioned regarding today’s political climate and FDOT’s approach. But from previous SFECC meetings I’ve been to, it really seems like they want to have the stations fit in with the context of the area instead of an overdone “one size fits all” station design.

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  6. Mike Moskos says:

    UDB,

    I have to agree with you: the people running the study “get it”. I’d advise going to the meetings if for no other reason that to pick their brains.

    I do suspect that we’ll get a rail line (with Tri-Rail-like cars) making frequent stops, and running at a slower speed due to the multiple stops with Tri-Rail (at least for the time being) giving us faster speeds and fewer stops than now. I can understand why they don’t want to give up on the Tri-Rail investment. Eventually, I think passengers will migrate to FEC line almost exclusively and we’ll get another line on the FEC tracks for true regional rail (fast speeds, 1-2 stops per county). That’s why it doesn’t make much sense to try to put a busway on the FEC corridor. And if passenger turnout on the FEC has few takers, at least FEC can use the new tracks to get trucks off the roads.

    By the way, Tri-Rail wanted to be on the FEC tracks from the beginning, but FEC at that time said no. They’ve changed their mind fortunately. In fact, FEC asked approval to put 4 tracks from Miami all the way up to DC.

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  7. veroclub says:

    Mike your concerns about the naysayers is valid but they represent the fringe, believe me when i say this . Amtrak recently did a trial run from Miami to Jax and here in Vero Beach over 150 people came out in support of it with a grand total of 3 old grouches against it. Trust me people from Vero Beach to S. Miami support this! I also agree with you that having Tri-Rail run this is the best course of action. It’s time for people with a brain to stand up in favor of regional rail that works! Rog in Miami Gardens I understand how you feel, it does seem like the political gadflys who want no government or taxesonly get heard. However , people like you that live in reality will prevail and we will see a day where there will be a good rail network for Florida and get this state out the economic doldrums.

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  8. veroclub says:

    Mike let me state my views on the furture of rail service for the fec. I would love to see an acela type service (130 mph or higher) however tri rail would probably be a more realistic future and that would be better than nothing which has been what we have had since 1968 on a rail line that would transform the economy of south florida and the treasure coast.

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