[tabi] article from local E-zine on Star Metro and Nova 2010

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 5 May 2011 16:12:59 -0400

from the UrbanTallahassee.com e-zine, an alert TABI reader gives us the
following article:

City Gears up for Transit Transformation
Last Updated on Sunday, 13 February 2011 00:15
Written by T.J. Lewis | UrbanTallahassee.com

EXCLUSIVE REPORT -- How does the northwest corner of Hartsfield and
Mission Roads
have anything in common with the block the Aloft Hotel was built on? The
StarMetro's Nova2010 Plan. However, before we dive into that, let us
first go over
some background information to make this whole thing a tad easier to
digest. Relax,
this is one of those tasty stories.
Floridan Block Prior to Construction of Aloft Hotel
In 1989, the City of Tallahassee acquired a 1-acre site near present day
C.K. Steele
Plaza, Tallahassee's downtown bus terminal, with money from the federal
(FTA) that was to be utilized for transit service (StarMetro) in the
downtown area.
The City of Tallahassee, seeing the need to revitalize and catalyze
growth in the
downtown area sold this parcel to the developers of the adjacent Aloft
hotel, McKibbon
Hotel Group, for future expansion of the hotel complex which should
include a multi-story
office building and parking garage.
This parcel was sold for a reported $2.1 Million dollars.
Because the parcel mentioned above was purchased with FTA dollars, a
condition was
placed on the sale of the property that the proceeds from the sale, the
$2.1 Million,
would have to be re-invested into Tallahassee's StarMetro specifically
for the construction
of four new "superstops" which will play a major role in the
restructuring and regionalizing
of StarMetro's route structure per its Nova2010 plan.
The FTA would also allow proceeds to be spent on other transit-related
projects such
as the construction of a transit facility or transit vehicle
infrastructure use.
StarMetro hopes to use the $2.1 Million for the construction of one (1)
a charging station for electric buses, and for repairs to the StarMetro
Bus Wash.
SuperStop at NW Corner of Hartsfield Road and Mission
Proposed StarMetro SuperStop Rendering
At a cost of $859,426, StarMetro recommends placing the first of a
planned four SuperStops
in the city's Northwest Quadrant. The site for the placement of the
proposed NW SuperStop
is a site crossed by three high-volume NOVA routes. According to city
staff reports,
this vacant site which the city already owns, would facilitate hundreds
of transfers
from students and non-students alike daily with student data from both
Florida State
University and Tallahassee Community College showing large and untapped
student riders
on Hartsfield Road where student housing has been added over the past
few years.
With three routes already intersecting at this corner under Nova2010 and
plans for
adding a fourth, this site is projected to be one of the busiest stops
in the StarMetro
system. Planners hope to provide it as a permanent layover point for
operators and
supervisors allowing for restroom breaks, driver relief, and a remote
office for
administrators. The site may also serve as a remote workstation for the
Police Department.
As proposed, this site would have the capacity to serve six buses to
facilitate transfers.
StarMetro has plans for only a portion of the city-owned parcel and
hopes to leave
the remainder available for other developments. Once approved by the
FTA, design
will commence with construction projected to be complete by early 2012.
Proterra Bus Charging Station
StarMetro received a $5.2 Million FTA Transportation Investment
Greenhouse Gas Energy
Reduction grant for the purchase and incorporation of three electronic
buses into
the city's fleet and one charging station. The electric buses have an
effective range
of 30-50 miles of travel between charges and StarMetro is hoping to use
of the above mentioned $2.1 Million to invest in a second charging
station that would
allow it to more effectively use the new electric buses. The Proterra
system would
allow the battery electric buses to pull into a transit center terminal
or on-route
stop and automatically connect to an overhead system that links the bus
top a high
capacity charger where the bus is rapidly charged for 5-10 minutes while
load and unload. If the station is installed at C.K. Steele plaza, these
buses would
only operate on routes that lay-over downtown.
Bus Wash Equipment Replacement
The remaining $400,000 will be used to invest in the replacement of
StarMetro's bus
washing system. Problems with the current system include its inability
to recycle
water and difficulty of finding replacement parts to repair it. Planners
the replacement would save the city $10,000 annually. Using the funds
for this purpose
would free up dollars in another city account for the purchase of one
StarMetro bus under the City's annual 5307 federal allocation.

Re: City Gears up for Transit Transformation
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 13:21
According to the current Nova2010 weekday map
routes E, F, and S will serve the proposed SuperStop. And a fourth
route? What is
this route going to be? Hey StarMetro, could you start putting your
planning docs
on your website?I'm also interested to see what will happen to CK Steele
Plaza. It
has 22 gates, and Nova2010 will only have six routes meeting there (A,
C, D, E, F,
and Gadsden Express).Also, I wonder if StarMetro will consider changing
the gate
identifiers at CK Steele Plaza. Nova2010 is using lettered routes, and
with lettered
Plaza gates, this could prove confusing. Numbered gates would probably
do the trick

Re: City Gears up for Transit Transformation
Sunday, 13 February 2011 11:38
Florida, it wouldnt even matter to identify those planners...this is a
done deal,
but it was, indeed said, though I'd bet good money they'd tweak their
story to say
they meant "no one needs to go downtown to transfer buses" but don't put
alot of
stock in that..those planners have no interest in downtown
revitalization (not their
job either obviously). Please understand those of us who are so
adamantly opposed
to this plan do not argue that the current system is flawed, it is.
However, StarMetro
is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul and this is the fault of the
Commission's lack
of funding for a good public transportation system. To improve this
system effectively,
more money needs to be appropriated to make it work. It is something the
City has
no ability to do or they choose not to. However, if I were looking for
larger source
of revenue, the first thing I'd have City officials do is re-evaluate
their contracts
with FSU/TCC/FAMU. Planners have admitted students make up the majority
of bus riders
but yet when broken down to a per student/per ride basis, they (the
schools) are
only paying $.60/student (or some amount similar). Thats less than half
of what i
pay each day per ride (at $1.25). These universities can pay more and
should have
to. I highly doubt when push came to shove, the universities wouldnt pay
more to
avoid stranding thousands of students because university officials were
too cheap.
Patchwork fixes only work until the yarn starts fraying. That fraying
will be obvious
when someone gets hit by a car walking to their stop on a road in the
dark with no

Re: City Gears up for Transit Transformation
Sunday, 13 February 2011 11:01
Oh my meljake! You paint a very dark picture of the planners and the
proposed Nova2010
changes in your comment. I know you're telling the truth with regard to
the sidewalks,
there has been some movement on those but it has been limited as
resources are scarce.
I don't agree with the move away from downtown but I understand it isn't
for all transit riders to go through there to get where they're going.
Did planners
really say "no one wants to go downtown" ?? Can you give specific names
that comment as you mentioned Gabe Menendez regarding the sidewalks?

Re: City Gears up for Transit Transformation
Sunday, 13 February 2011 10:38
Just my opinion but being a bus rider, I urge everyone to exercise
extreme caution
before praising anything StarMetro does as it relates to NOVA 2010. This
new transportation
system is going to disenfrancise just as many if not more riders than it
is going
to help. Its going to provide greater difficulty for those who are
elderly or disbabled
and its proven that it will make many peoples' commutes twice as long as
they currently
are (quite the opposite effect that they pledged to City officials). For
I'll have to walk twice as far now to get to my bus (on a busy road that
has absolutely
NO sidewalks which should be a treat in the dark) and even farther now
to get to
my office downtown. There is no push to bring people downtown, in fact
the planners
at StarMetro have repeatedly announced "no one wants to go downtown".
The beauty
of the CK Steele Plaza downtown was that it provided a safe place for
riders to change
buses. Now we all get to stand on street corners. The proposed system is
going to eliminate going inside of the Governors Sq. Mall during peak
times in the
afternoon which as anyone who rides the bus knows, is usually the mall
buses' busiest
times. Wow, thats super for our economy and retailers. The planners at
some of whom DO NOT even live in Tallahassee nor ride the bus, also
promised the
Commissioners before their vote last March that sidewalks would be in
place. And
now, thats not happening. Gabrielle Mendez is quoted as saying "We are
going to be
woefully short on sidewalks." Mendez is the City's Public Works

Re: City Gears up for Transit Transformation
Sunday, 13 February 2011 00:17
Great Work! This seems exciting. This is a step toward an improved
transit system,
especially for pedestrians desiring to get from the NW student housing
and business
district to downtown! I can't wait to see the final production.
Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI
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  • » [tabi] article from local E-zine on Star Metro and Nova 2010 - Chip Orange