26,750 cars per day. That’s the number of cars per day that will be squeezed in next to train tracks on 62nd Ave. N. 14,913 cars per day is how many will be co-mingling with the train on Haines Road from 62nd Ave. N to US 19. All for a $2.6 billion train from St. Pete to Clearwater few will ride and will have no money promised to complete construction. Welcome to the New Greenlight Pinellas Rail bottle neck that will send shockwaves of congestion and gridlock into northeast St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park. Yet another reason to vote down the “Greenlight Pinellas” 14% sales tax hike this November.
62nd Ave N will have two new train tracks down the middle with cars sharing space with a rail line.
The planned “modern streetcar” train will place tracks right down the middle of 62nd Ave. N from I-275 to Haines Road. The same tracks will be placed down the middle of Haines Road from 62nd Ave N to US 19. From there it is on to US 19 (68,400 cars per day) from Haines road to Gandy Boulevard, blocking turn lanes into local businesses there in the Parkside mall area. Cars will be traveling immediately next to the train cars in the median and new bicycle lanes on these busy and tight roads. In addition, the train will be crossing down from I-275 onto 62nd Ave. N, and it is unclear if there will be a train crossing or simply new lights to stop traffic. Surely this will further slow traffic.
Just imagine being on Haines road while a group of bicyclists is passing you on the right and train on your left. What will it be like to try to take a turn in either direction? Surely drivers will have to slow down ever further in this tight and confusing situation, further increasing congestion. Look for a series of train/car collisions here, as happened in Houston when a near identical set of tracks was built there.
All of this will require expansion of 62nd Ave by 8 feet on each side, of Haines Road by 15 feet on each side and US 19 by 8 feet on each side. The homes on 62nd Avenue will need to clear space for a new right of way that will put the road immediately up against their front doors. Businesses on those segments of Haines road and US 19 will be severely impacted by the years of construction as well as the difficulty in cars turning across the other side of the road to cross the train tracks. Business is sure to be hurt by this project that is supposed to help “economic development”. Some buildings show the right of way and train tracks traveling straight through their walls!