The St. Pete/Pinellas Park Rail Bottle Neck

More massive disruption to local care traffic for an unneeded, underfunded, empty train.

More massive disruption to local car traffic for an unneeded, underfunded, empty train.

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

62nd Ave N will have two new train tracks down the middle with cars sharing space with a rail line.

Note how some houses have new road on the doorstep.

Note how some houses have new road on the doorstep or plans to knock off the front walls of some houses..

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!

I275_to_62nd ave 
Haines_Rd_A
Haines_Rd_Bus19_A

us19_ 

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7 Replies:

  1. Ron Thompson

    In Houston, Denver, and Salt Lak City, dangerous and deadly train car crashes inceased by 100% after their individual rail transit systems were constructed. Coincidence? I think not! Look for the same 100% increase to happen in Pinellas if the light rail is built.

    1. Sun Beam Times Post author

      Ron, I am very happy to see you recognizing this major problem caused by light rail. New, completely preventable accidents that never would have happened without the train. Does that mean you are starting to agree that there are some significant negative features of this “Greenlight” rail plan? Do you think there are enough reasons for you to vote “no”?

      1. Ron Thompson

        What can I say, it is obvious to everybody. No city EVER experienced A SINGLE commuter train / car disaster prior to the installation of a light rail, trolley, or commuter rail network in their town. The video of that car running the red light in front of the train in Houston was very informative about this whole issue. Just think if he had blatantly run a red light in downtown traffic and there was no train … what could have possibly happened?

        Its obvious to every reader here, the Houston train is to blame for hitting that car and the train will be to blame in Pinellas as well, after the yes vote in November.

  2. Norm Roche

    “All for a $2.6 billion train from St. Pete to Clearwater few will ride and will have no money promised to complete construction. ”

    Repeat: “…no money promised to complete construction.”

    In fact, an amount totaling nearly 50% of the total cost of the rail and expanded bus portion of this plan. There is 0% funding for all the other promises like BRT, dedicated lanes, bike and walking paths, and the grandiose rail stations and parking lots.

    One of, if not the most important facts left out of the entire “community conversation” on this project.

  3. Westech

    Has there been any monies allotted, a timeline or a cost estimate for the relocation of buried, underground or aerial utilities?

  4. Norm Roche

    Westech; none whatsoever. The citizens are only being “marketed” too…with about 20% of the information necessary to make an informed vote on this important issue. It’s really quite embarrassing with respect to the leadership driving the bus (PI) on this entire situation….and a pathetic indictment of the level of integrity of that exists withinn our current government (elected representative’s) indignance toward those they profess to represent.

    Dr. McKalip; I had a feeling Ron was taking you for a walk on this. IMO and FYI; my guess is that some level of our tax dollars associated with this Greenlight marketing plan expenditure is spent on professional bloggers dancing within the new world of social media influence. Hold no ill will though, at least they’re contributing to our economy by earning a wage for thier days’ work.

    Albeit and perhaps a tad altruistic; I have faith in the intellectual and fiscal pragmatism of our taxpayers – particularly in our current economic environment. They will do thier research and make the right decision on this.

    1. Westech

      Mr. Roche,
      Thank you for that information. Hopefully the cost of moving utilities will be revealed before this bit of foolishness comes before the voters. Having been, literally, in the trenches I can tell you that public utilities (gas, power, water, telecommunications, CATV, reclaimed water, etc.) don’t relocate their facilities for free. There will be a price-a large one-to pay. As you know (and Greenlight is forgetting) any project such as lane creation, lane widening, grade crossings, raising of grade level will require massive changes and relocation of infrastructure. To say nothing about federal environmental studies.
      Here’s an added extra. The State of Florida has some pretty strict (and expensive) rules for tearing uo newly paved, recently renovated or created state roads.
      An intelligently created, flexible bus routing plan using vehicles of different sizes that is responsive to ridership demands is practical and economically feasible.
      Anything smacking of a “train” is feel-good fluff designed to stroke a liberal politicians ego.

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