Regional Rapid Transit Parking Plans Announced
TAMPA, Fla. (October 20, 2020) – Combining community needs with data-driven analysis, parking projections at 13 proposed stations for TBARTA’s Regional Rapid Transit service along I-275 have been announced, providing more parking in communities with greater demand, and less in neighborhoods where need is minimal.
“Listening to the people we serve has always been a priority to ensure RRT’s community stations and parking will be tailored to each location,” said TBARTA Executive Director David Green. “While project planning is still in process, we now have enough information to assure all communities will have parking that best serves their local needs.”
The parking plan was detailed by Scott Pringle, Director of Transportation Planning at WSP, at the TBARTA Board meeting October 16. He says the total number of parking spaces now proposed for all stations will range between 800-1400, far less than the numbers initially suggested when the bus rapid transit project connecting Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties was first envisioned in the 2018 Regional Transit Feasibility Plan (RTFP).
“Those were really placeholders,” Pringle said of the RTFP’s initial 7200 space parking estimate, later reduced to a 3800-space projection in Milestone 1 of the RRT Project Development and Environmental Study (PD&E), now underway. “Back then we hadn’t gotten to that point in the process where we could really dig into the details and start going through, station-by-station, to really understand what the parking needs may be. We’ve done that by examining the ridership needs, as well as the neighborhood context, and of course, what we heard back from the public.”
As now planned, the RRT route would include 13 stations. Five of those would be at intermodal stations being developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which support multiple forms of transportation including local transit and rideshare. Eight additional community stations are proposed for RRT. Altogether, there would be seven RRT stops in Hillsborough, four in Pinellas, and two in Pasco.
Total maximum parking for each station is outlined in the RRT Parking Fact Sheet, available on the RRT webpage at TBARTA.com. The maximum needs as outlined for each station in PD&E Milestones 2 and 3 range from a high of 340 in Gateway, to a low of just 30 spaces in Seminole Heights. Regardless of how many spaces are projected for any community, no new parking structures will be needed.
“We do not need any parking garages for this project, whatsoever,” Pringle told the TBARTA Board. “For the purposes of RRT, we anticipate no structured parking at all.”
The parking projections also do not all require new surface lots. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to go out and build parking spots for all 1400 parking spaces,” Pringle explained. “It really is not in the best interest of the project or the communities.”
“Our goal is to look for shared parking opportunities,” he explained. “Where we have more of a neighborhood station, can we satisfy the need through existing on-street parking, and not have to build any new parking spaces? We’re looking for partnerships with local municipalities, as well as the private sector, to offset those parking needs.”
Using bus rapid transit, RRT is designed to provide fast, comfortable, and cost-effective transportation, a type of transit increasingly being developed worldwide. Cities in the United States now operating bus rapid transit include Eugene, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas, and cities operating freeway-based bus rapid transit service include Minneapolis, Seattle, Cincinnati, and San Diego. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is now building SunRunner, the area’s first BRT service, connecting downtown St. Petersburg with St. Pete Beach. The project will be operational in 2022.
RRT’s PD&E study will determine the length and location of dedicated transit lanes; the number, types, and locations of stations; the potential for economic growth; and the ability to seamlessly connect the BRT to our current and planned local transit services provided by PSTA, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), and Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT).
For more information on RRT and other TBARTA initiatives, contact Chris Jadick, TBARTA Communications Director, at 813-639-7743, or Chris.Jadick@Tbarta.com.
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) works to advance regional transportation needs in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Our purpose is to plan, develop, fund, implement, and operate a world-class regional transit system in Tampa Bay. For more information, visit www.TBARTA.com.