Category Archives: Public Meetings/Hearings/Open Houses

HART Network Restructuring – Part 1

You may have heard during the past few months about Hillsborough Area Regional Transit. I’m not talking about the Premium Transit Feasibility Study or OneBusAway; but rather, I’m referring to the planned network restructuring that the agency is currently planning. The massive changes are a part of the normal Transit Development Plan update that HART, and every transit agency throughout the country, is required to perform periodically. Transit Development Plans are put into place to show the public and other government entities throughout the local, state, and federal levels, as to where transit services are now and where they should be in the future. Many factors are taken into consideration when a transit agency performs a TDP update – including demographical changes, funding levels, and vehicle fleet.

HART is currently conducting a system-wide analysis for the first time since the early 2000s and is seeking public feedback on it. The planned changes are aimed at reducing system inefficiencies while improving core service in the more populated sections of Hillsborough County. The re-evaluation comes at a crucial time – when many in the region are still undecided on where our overall transportation network should head towards, overall transit ridership is dropping across the nation due to economic changes and added transportation and work options, a possible reduction in property taxes in 2019, and an uncertain future over federal transit funding due to vastly different priorities between the previous Obama Administration and the current Trump Administration.


What changes are being made?

Much of the HART bus system as it exists today will be radically different. Many low ridership routes will be eliminated in favor of increasing frequency on higher ridership areas. HART Flex services will be reorganized, as will express bus service. HyperLINK services will ultimately get a boost in service, and overall duplication of stops and routes will be reduced. HART is also looking to serve a couple of areas where demand for transit service is high but aren’t being served yet.

You can view all of the planned changes on the HART Website, but I will highlight a few of the most significant changes.

  • Closure of the West Tampa Transfer Center
  • Elimination of Route 2, being replaced by optimized MetroRapid service that will operate on weekends as well.
  • Reorganization of Routes 7 & 30 (including removing Route 30 from the airport loop. Route 30 would eventually serve the new TPA Airport CONRAC facility).
  • Reorganization of Express services.
  • Expansion/Reorganization of HART Flex services.
  • Expansion of HyperLINK services.
  • Implementation of Uber/Lyft Discount Vouchers for late evening and overnight hours (where it is no longer feasible to run regular buses during the late nights with few riders on board).

How can I voice my concerns & questions?

I will be providing my own insight into these changes in Part 2 of this post. However, I want to help get the word out regarding some upcoming public workshops and hearings so that you’ll be in the know.

Public Workshops

Monday, June 19, 2017 (TODAY!!!)
HCC Southshore Campus
551 24th St NE
Ruskin, FL 33570
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
(10:30 presentation)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
CDC of Tampa
1907 E. Hillsborough Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33610
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(6:30 presentation)

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Kate Jackson Community Center
821 S. Rome Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(6:30 presentation)

Monday, July 10, 2017
University Area CDC
14013 North 22nd St
Tampa, FL 33613
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(6:30 presentation)

Additional Outreach Events

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Marion Transit Center
1211 N. Marion St
Tampa, FL 33602
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
University Area Transit Center
13110 N. 27th St
Tampa, FL 33612
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Northwest Transfer Center
9325 W. Waters Ave
Tampa, FL 33615
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Tampa Outdoor Market – Al Barnes Jr. Park
2902 N 32nd St
Tampa, FL 33605
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Multicultural Family Day
Water Works Park
1710 N Highland Ave
Tampa, FL 33602
11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Marion Transit Center
1211 N. Marion St
Tampa, FL 33602
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
University Area Transit Center
13110 N. 27th St
Tampa, FL 33612
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Town ‘N Country Public Library
7606 Paula Drive #120
Tampa, FL 33615
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Thursday, June 29, 2017
West Tampa Transfer Center
4201 N Himes Ave
Tampa, FL 33607
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Westfield- Brandon Transfer Center
459 Brandon Town Center Mall
Brandon, FL 33511
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Friday, July 7, 2017
netp@rk Transfer Center
5003 N. 56th St
Tampa, FL 33610
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Saturday, July 15, 2017
Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference
Sheraton Tampa East
10221 Princess Palm Ave
Tampa, FL 33610
8:00 am – 2:30 pm

Saturday, July 15, 2017
Brandon Mall – Back to School Bash
459 Brandon Town Center Mall
Brandon, FL 33511
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Formal Public Hearing
Final Opportunity for the public to voice their concerns before the HART Board votes on the changes!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
HART Ybor, 1201 E. 7th Ave
Tampa, FL 33605
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm


Any questions concerning these community meetings and the public hearing may be directed to HART Service Development, 1201 East 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605, or by email at servdev@goHART.org / HARTinfo Line: (813) 254-4278 / TDD: (813) 626-9158

Special Accommodations:
Any person requiring special accommodations to attend or participate, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act,
should contact HART within at least three (3) business days prior to the meeting at (813) 384-6553.


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Legalese | Disclosures

Upcoming Transit Meetings in the Tampa Bay Area

Good Thursday Morning Everyone!

I know I’m a day late with this post, but it’s better late than never. In the Tampa Bay area, there are several crucial meetings coming up during the month of October, one by which requires an RSVP. I’m not sure how many slots are left, so you’d better act fact if you wish to attend.

The first meeting I’d like to mention is the one that requires a registration. This is the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Summit, which will be held on Thursday, October 10, from 9:30am to 12-noon at the Tampa International Airport Marriott Hotel Ballroom. This summit is being hosted by the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and will feature various speakers, including US Congressman John Mica.

For more information, and to register, click here.

The second meeting that I want to inform everyone about is the upcoming Hillsborough County Transportation Policy Leadership Group meeting. This is another very crucial meeting by which we need to continue to make our voices heard that better transit is needed NOW! This meeting will be held on Monday, October 7, at 6:00pm at Walter L. Sickles High School. The school is located at 7950 Gunn Highway in Tampa. Transit advocacy group Connect Tampa Bay (CTB) will be attending the meeting to show their support for better transit, and I hope that you will be able to join them as well!

For more information, and to RSVP, click here to visit CTB’s Facebook Event Page for the upcoming meeting.

The third meeting being held this month is concerning the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) study to replace the aging northbound span of the Howard Frankland Bridge, which was constructed in 1959 and is structurally deficient. This meeting is also crucial because with the current budget constraints, FDOT very well may just build a four lane bridge with no transit accommodations. We must make our voices heard that the new span must include some sort of a transit corridor, preferably accommodations for a future commuter rail line.

There will actually be two meetings held; one for Hillsborough residents and one for Pinellas residents. Please see the schedule below for details:

  • Pinellas Meeting: Tuesday, October 8 from 5 to 7pm, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Operations Center, 3201 Scherer Drive, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
  • Hillsborough Meeting: Thursday, October 10 from 5 to 7pm, Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607

For more information, click here.

If you can possibly attend any of these meetings, please do! The future of our transportation system depends on your input!

 

No new funding = no new buses for HART

As I mentioned in my last post, many transit districts are having to re-evaluate their current levels of service, as well as future plans, based on the levels of funding that are available to them. I also mentioned that in the case with HART in Tampa, they currently must rely on property taxes to fund a large chunk of its transit operations, a source that has been dwindling during the past several years. Now there is word that HART will face a very dire dilemma next year if no new funding sources are found.

Continue reading No new funding = no new buses for HART

PSTA moves forward with transit referendum plans

Great news to everyone residing in the Tampa Bay area (particularly Pinellas County)! The PSTA board decided unanimously to move forward with plans to place a penny sales tax increase to help fund transit improvements. The current plan is to have the question on the November, 2014 ballot, however this could change if more time is needed to hash out all the details.

Although I’m very excited that the measure is moving forward, I must stress that the one thing that Pinellas County cannot do is make the same mistakes that Hillsborough County made in 2010. Specifically, I speak of the fact that not enough time was put in to really present a comprehensive plan that would benefit residents throughout the county. For instance, the plan was heavily marketing light rail, when the plan also included expanded local and express bus services, bus rapid transit, and roadway improvements. I also feel that the plan was “rushed” so to speak, because not everyone had a chance to really provide their opinions on the plan prior to the election season. Perhaps if more time was provided (let’s say putting the measure to 2011 instead of 2010), there would have been more time to convince those who typically do not use public transit that the plan would benefit them. On top of that, opposition groups quickly mobilized to associate Hillsborough’s penny tax plan with President Obama’s high speed rail plan, calling the whole issue a nightmare for taxpayers. Unless Pinellas spends the time and resources analyzing all the options available for their transit expansion plan, voters may end up feeling more confused about the Pinellas effort than Hillsborough residents felt about their’s in 2010.

In the coming months there are going to be lots of meetings and discussions on the matter so that residents can have their say.  I am also confident that the with the help of Connect Tampa Bay, the public will be better informed about the Pinellas plan than Hillsborough residents were in 2010. However, I feel that county leaders, PSTA, and others involved with the plan need to use extra caution in respects to economic conditions in the region and throughout the world. 2010 was clearly a bad time to bring up a transit referendum, as the economy was still in very bad shape from the 2008 financial crisis. Although the economy is slowly recovering now, things are still very fragile. Should economic conditions deteriorate again within the next few months, it is possible that the referendum could get called off completely.

If you have any feedback to provide, please feel free to comment!

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012.

Please attend PSTA’s upcoming board meeting on January 23, 2013.

Sorry if I’m a bit late in posting this; on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) will be holding a board meeting in regards to whether or not the agency should move forward with a sales tax referendum (similar to what Hillsborough County attempted in 2010) to help fund road construction and public transit projects throughout the county. If this measure were to pass; we will be able to see improved roadway corridors, bike lanes and improved pedestrian facilities (such as sidewalks and crosswalks), bus rapid transit services, improved local and express bus services, and eventually a light rail corridor.

The meeting will be held at PSTA’s headquarters, located at 3201 Scherer Drive in St. Petersburg (zip code is 33716) and will begin at 9:00am. A continental breakfast is being offered at 8:00am for those who attend. I strongly encourage you to attend if you possibly can. I know that many of you have busy working schedules and may not be able to attend, especially if you live in neighboring counties. However, we need as many supporters to be present so that the PSTA board can become convinced that moving forward with the referendum is the right thing to do for Pinellas County. Many opponents (such as No Tax for Tracks) will be present as well, so the voice of support must clearly be louder than the voice of the opposition.

For more information about the upcoming meeting, or to get directions, please visit PSTA’s website, or call their InfoLine at (727)-540-1800. To view a PDF of the meeting agenda, click here. If you’re on Facebook, please click here to confirm your attendance. Please note that the Facebook event page is not hosted by PSTA, but rather Connect Tampa Bay.

Please make a difference in Pinellas County’s transit future by attending this meeting.

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

PSTA’s Flex Service Plan Gains Steam

Following on HART’s success of utilizing flex bus routes, PSTA will be hosting three public workshops to gain public input on three proposed northern Pinellas flex bus routes.

For those of you who may not be familiar with flex bus service; routes operate within a “zone” usually comprising of a cluster of neighborhoods. A fleet of minibuses transport passengers from their doorstep to various destinations within their “zone”. These places include schools, supermarkets, post offices, businesses, and more. Since flex routes utilize minibuses, they can easily pick up and drop off passengers who may live within gated communities and other hard-to-reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible by the traditional 30, 35, 40, 45, and 60 foot public transit bus.

To use flex bus services, passengers call a special telephone number to place a reservation. Reservations can be placed within a time frame that is set forth by the public transit authority (usually 2 to 3 hours minimum advance notice is required). Some services may offer what is called “walk-up service”, which means that passengers can walk to a designated bus stop and catch a minibus. However, with the “walk-up service”, destinations are limited and seating is not guaranteed.

PSTA hopes to launch its three flex bus routes later this year, but they want to know what the needs of the communities impacted by the services are before they launch the service. At this time, the exact flex zones are not known, however there will be connections to the PCPT (Pasco) and HART (Hillsborough) systems.

To learn more about PSTA’s proposed flex bus service and the upcoming public workshops, click here.

HART hosts a BRT workshop

By now, you’ve probably heard the buzz about a Bus Rapid Transit (or BRT) system coming to Tampa. Well, HART has reached the next stage of the system finally becoming a reality. The agency has launched a study to implement the first phase of the system, which will run along Nebraska Avenue and Fletcher Avenue. The system will serve two future park-n-ride lots near I-75, the University Area Transit Center, and Downtown Tampa via Fletcher & Nebraska.

For those of you wishing to seek additional information about HART’s BRT system, here’s your chance. HART will be holding an open house on Tuesday, November 18, 2008, between the hours of 4pm & 7pm, at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church (801 E Hillsborough Ave – Tampa, FL 33604). The church is located on the corner of Nebraska Ave & Hillsborough Ave, adjacent to I-275. For additional information about the project and the upcoming open house, click here.