Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gainesville, Fla., weighs streetcar line

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Consultants are working with a Streetcar Project Advisory Committee in Gainesville, Fla., to prepare a proposal for a line linking the city's downtown with the University of Florida.

The study is funded with $100,000 authorized last year by the Gainesville City Commission, while the advisory committee, including city and county planners and local business leaders, have mapped proposals for a 2.2-mile starter route, with an estimated cost of $128 million.

Other Florida cities, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale on Florida's Gold Coast, are working on streetcar or light rail transit projects, but Gainesville, though the largest city in north central Florida, would be in many ways an outlier, with a modest city population of roughly 126,000.

Tampa, Fla.-based Tindale-Oliver & Associates, along with Parsons Brinckerhoff, are the consultants involved, also including a Bus Rapid Transit study in the mix, according to local media.

Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy reportedly opposes any streetcar effort, citing the "extraordinary cost" of the mode, and its alleged potential to siphon ridership for existing bus routes.

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