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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Letter of the Day

Think outside box on traffic

Regarding “How to improve Tampa area traffic” (Letter of the Day, April 9) and “Kinetic art” (Your Views, April 9): There is too much emphasis on light-rail lines as the only solution. The letter writers are correct — urban light-rail lines are expensive and outdated. They create problems while solving others. We need more reporting on creative and innovative solutions that other regions are using, such as rapid-transit buses, municipal ferries and programs such as FlexBus in Orlando, where riders can communicate their times to a central clearinghouse and bus routes are modified or adapted on a daily basis. The Tribune is leading the way in this area with monorail forums via letters. These systems are applicable to our region, not necessarily to each isolated county. Remember, Florida is a major global tourist destination, and a monorail can service both tourists’ and locals’ needs.
There is a trend for public/private systems such as the one in Las Vegas. Seattle’s monorail is privately owned, operated and profitable. There is talk of expanding it, too. If we look at Central Florida as a blank canvas for a monorail line to connect the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, a whole world of possibilities could open up. In the meantime, we need to look at the regional transportation quagmire we have every day. Getting across the bay is a major problem, and the easiest and most cost-effective solution is a municipal ferry. Connecting downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg is the place to start. San Francisco is the region to emulate: 1.4 million passengers use its public ferry service, and they have expanded one line to accommodate baseball fans attending a game at the waterfront AT&T Park. Considering that the Rays could very well be moving to downtown Tampa or even near Ybor City, both areas serviced by a streetcar, getting a ferry service established is more urgent than ever. Rand Moorhead St. Petersburg

The writer is director of Ride the Tide, Tampa Bay.

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