Monday, November 09, 2009

Hallandale Beach meeting covers proposed rail and train services

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Residents were updated on an ongoing transit study during a recent public workshop in Hallandale Beach, Fla., the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. 

The workshop, at the Cultural Community Center, is part of a series of meetings offered to residents to gather input on the South Florida East Coast Corridor Transit Analysis Study. 

The study, managed by the Florida Department of Transportation, is exploring options to mitigate roadway congestion in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.





Options under review are rail or train services, including a regional rail system, comparable to Tri-Rail, and light-rail transit (similar to Metrorail). Regional bus and bus rapid-transit lines also are being looked at. 

Residents were given video and audio presentations and a chance to offer suggestions on what they think are the best options. 

The goal of the study "is to develop and analyze alternatives that potentially integrate passenger and freight transport along the [corridor], which is centered along the existing FEC Railway," according to its website. In addition, transit service along the corridor would provide connectivity to existing and proposed transit and connect to the three major and four regional airports and to the seaports in the tri-county area.



 

Scott Seeburger, project manager with FDOT, said they are considering several stations in the city.



"We're looking at approximately two to three stations in Hallandale," he said. 

The study has identified several benefits to new transit services, including the reduction of greenhouse gases, increased access to transportation for low-income, minority, elderly and youth populations, employment opportunities and increased real estate values. FDOT is seeking to pinpoint potential connections to Tri-Rail to maximize passenger service.



Concerns expressed by residents include how long it will take to implement any changes and the amount of noise from trains. Seeburger said the study is looking into options that would address the issue.



"Quiet zones are a big issue for residents that live near a railroad street crossing," he said. "When a freight train is coming to a crossing, they have to blow their horn about a quarter of a mile away." 



The main hurdle facing the plan is funding. Federal and local sources are being identified, while estimates for the project will be released this winter. 



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