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Brian_tampa

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Tampa station sites finally under consideration with a MOU between Brightline and a local developer. All 3 sites are near Tampa Union Station just east of downtown Tampa. The former Tampa Park Apartments, TECO Gasworks, and the location considered for a baseball stadium a few years ago. No financial committment yet but does allow for environmental planning to begin now that potential sites have been selected.

https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2020/09/15/brightline-darryl-shaw-ybor-city-rail-station.html

Fair use extract:

The MOU, which was finalized over the weekend, is non-binding and does not represent a financial commitment from either party, Shaw told the Business Journal. What it does do is allow Brightline to proceed with an environmental analysis, which must be completed before a Tampa station could move forward.

Shaw said his ideal vision is a multimodal transit station on one of the properties under discussion — a place where rail lines, bus rapid transit, streetcar and trolley service converge.

"That area is at the intersection between downtown, Channelside, Water Street and Ybor," Shaw said. "Everything converges there and it’s approximate to Union Station and you could see some transit-oriented development there, so it all seems to come together. I’d love to see all of that come together right in that vicinity."
 

Brian_tampa

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The TECO site looks to be ideal since the Amtrak tracks are right there the other rails are near enough to join them to an intermodal station.
But I wonder if the TECO site is large enough for 1000 ft long platforms and associated real estate development? Maybe that site could be combined with the site just east of it across Channelside Drive to make the infrastructure fit? That would allow for street level connections with the existing trolley running along Channelside in between the two properties. Otherwise, the Tampa Park Apartment site on the west/north side of the CSX tracks seems a better fit as it has the length to allow for 1000ft platforms and room for buildings much like the Miami Central station site does.

The article does say Mr. Shaw wants to allow for a potential future baseball stadium on his property (that was originally the site east of Channelside back in 2017, but may change now?).
 

chrsjrcj

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Surprised the Channelside site (where there is a freight yard) isn't under consideration. Lot's of development going on there. I haven't been to Tampa in about 10 years and every time I look on Google Earth there's more construction!
 

joelkfla

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Orlando TV station reported that Brightline has received a US DOT grant for construction of a Boca Raton station.
 

McIntyre2K7

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Surprised the Channelside site (where there is a freight yard) isn't under consideration. Lot's of development going on there. I haven't been to Tampa in about 10 years and every time I look on Google Earth there's more construction!
That was recently sold last year to Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik (his property group). The Con Agra plant that is there will be moved to an area south of Tampa.

 

jruff001

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What's wrong with the current Tampa Union Station? Seems to be plenty of room there and it is a bit closer to the downtown central business district than these three sites are.
 

jis

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What's wrong with the current Tampa Union Station? Seems to be plenty of room there and it is a bit closer to the downtown central business district than these three sites are.
I suspect the issue would be ownership of property and opportunity for real estate development as part of the station.
 

McIntyre2K7

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What's wrong with the current Tampa Union Station? Seems to be plenty of room there and it is a bit closer to the downtown central business district than these three sites are.
If they use the other sites there's a possibility that they can connect the TECO Streetcar to the station. There are plans to extend the streetcar as well through downtown and into Tampa Heights (just north of Downtown Tampa). It would travel up and down a large corridor as well (Tampa St and Florida Ave). They are updating one of the platforms at Tampa Union Station as well. Plus I could see Tampa Union Station become crowded because it would be Amtrak, Tampa's Future line from the USF Area to Downtown to South Tampa/MacDill AFB, commuter line and Brightline.
 

jruff001

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I suspect the issue would be ownership of property and opportunity for real estate development as part of the station.
Any idea who actually owns that land?

I see a lot of development opportunity. Right across the street (Nebraska Ave.) are several huge blocks of parking lots screaming for a better use (they are on the way to downtown, too). Also seems like lots of opportunity along Nuccio Pkwy too which is a wide, underused road, and I understand the public housing on the other side of it is slated to be torn down.

Plus Union Station would tie in to the whole Water Street development better than the other sites - just a very short walk away down a very wide, walkable sidewalk along Meridian.

If they use the other sites there's a possibility that they can connect the TECO Streetcar to the station. There are plans to extend the streetcar as well through downtown and into Tampa Heights (just north of Downtown Tampa). It would travel up and down a large corridor as well (Tampa St and Florida Ave). They are updating one of the platforms at Tampa Union Station as well. Plus I could see Tampa Union Station become crowded because it would be Amtrak, Tampa's Future line from the USF Area to Downtown to South Tampa/MacDill AFB, commuter line and Brightline.
The TECO Streetcar is frankly a joke as actual transit. More like a hardly-used tourist attraction. It is also pretty close to Union Station and could be directly connected very easily as you mentioned - instead of going down Channelside Drive from Ybor it could parallel the existing track from Ybor, go right through Union Station and then use the existing rail (or at least ROW) down Meridian to the arena area and hook up with the current route to the convention center.

In its heyday (i.e., pre-Amtrak) I think Union Station was six if not eight tracks. Plenty of room for a daily Amtrak Silver Star and a Brightline or two per hour. I don't see Tampa commuter rail happening in my lifetime - it is not realistically even on the radar yet and the local population seems dead-set against spending any money on such a nanny-state / socialist endeavor - but there would still be room for several tracks for that if/when people in the area ever wake up to the fact that lack of public transit is holding back the area from attracting more jobs.
 

jis

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Any idea who actually owns that land?

I see a lot of development opportunity. Right across the street (Nebraska Ave.) are several huge blocks of parking lots screaming for a better use (they are on the way to downtown, too). Also seems like lots of opportunity along Nuccio Pkwy too which is a wide, underused road, and I understand the public housing on the other side of it is slated to be torn down.

Plus Union Station would tie in to the whole Water Street development better than the other sites - just a very short walk away down a very wide, walkable sidewalk along Meridian.
I have no idea who owns what, except as one can guess from what the folks who have their money on the line are saying they are considering.

No amount of indignation expressed here on this board will change anyting. The only thing that can affect these decsions are (a) talking directly to someone that you know at Brightline. This worked well for us in Brevard County, or (b) take advantage of all the public reviews to bring up objections, or (c) finding someone among the local government officials who have approval/denial thereof power for permits. Though I suspecy on this one one, money may trump objections that do not come with equivalent financial package attached, based on past experience,
 
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jruff001

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No amount of indigantoj expressed here on this board will change anyting. The only thing that can affect these decsions are (a) talking directly to someone that you know at Brightline. This worked well for us in Brevard County, or (b) take advantage of all the public reviews to bring up objections, or (c) finding someone among the local government officials who have approval/denial thereof power for permits. Though I suspecy on this one one, money may trump objections that do not come with equivalent financial package attached, based on past experience,
LOL true. I am not indignant (I think that is what the "indignantoj" typo is?) as to me it is all pie-in-the-sky anyway. I don't see Brightline ever making it to Tampa or frankly surviving at all long-term. I hope I am wrong but the financials are pretty horrible and at some point OPM (Other People's Money) runs out.
 

jis

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LOL true. I am not indignant (I think that is what the "indignantoj" typo is?) as to me it is all pie-in-the-sky anyway. I don't see Brightline ever making it to Tampa or frankly surviving at all long-term. I hope I am wrong but the financials are pretty horrible and at some point OPM (Other People's Money) runs out.
Ah, so we should not take anything your write about Brightline, other than it will collapse, too seriously then? Since if it will collapse the rest of it does not matter, does it? 🤪
 

McIntyre2K7

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The TECO Streetcar is frankly a joke as actual transit. More like a hardly-used tourist attraction. It is also pretty close to Union Station and could be directly connected very easily as you mentioned - instead of going down Channelside Drive from Ybor it could parallel the existing track from Ybor, go right through Union Station and then use the existing rail (or at least ROW) down Meridian to the arena area and hook up with the current route to the convention center.

In its heyday (i.e., pre-Amtrak) I think Union Station was six if not eight tracks. Plenty of room for a daily Amtrak Silver Star and a Brightline or two per hour. I don't see Tampa commuter rail happening in my lifetime - it is not realistically even on the radar yet and the local population seems dead-set against spending any money on such a nanny-state / socialist endeavor - but there would still be room for several tracks for that if/when people in the area ever wake up to the fact that lack of public transit is holding back the area from attracting more jobs.
Hardly used??? FDOT gave them a 2.6 million dollar grant so it's free to ride the streetcar until October 2021. Ridership has gone up and the service has increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes. The voters did vote on the half cent sales tax increase that funds public transportation and improves roads last year. It's currently being held up as one of the Hillsborough County Commissioners decided to sue. We are waiting on the Florida Supreme Court to make a decision about it.

Also the FRA prohibits the streetcar from using the same rails as that CSX and Amtrak use so that's out of the question. Plus the rail down Meridian is going to be pulled up one Con Agra (Ardent Mills) has been moved. So your idea of the street car stopping at Tampa Union Station wont work. They are moving the Museum of Science and Industry from the USF area to the Waterstreet area so hopefully it will bring more foot traffic.


Here are the numbers from the this Fiscal Year
MonthRidership
October 60,486
November85,663
December89,930
January97,718
February89,579
March56,142
April14,078
May22,289
June 16,472
July 31,221

Pasco County has talked about running a commuter rail line from the Land O Lakes Area (just north of Tampa) to Downtown Tampa.
 

jruff001

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Ah, so we should not take anything your write about Brightline, other than it will collapse, too seriously then? Since if it will collapse the rest of it does not matter, does it? 🤪
I think my posts should be taken as seriously as those posts speculating whether an Amtrak Chicago - Florida train should go through Evansville vs Cincinnati. :)

Perhaps the rest of this discussion should be moved to the Tampa thread in the Southeast sub-forum. Can a moderator move it, if that would be appropriate?

Hardly used??? FDOT gave them a 2.6 million dollar grant so it's free to ride the streetcar until October 2021. Ridership has gone up and the service has increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes.
Yes, hardly used, even though it is free! I see them frequently, and they are often almost completely empty; sometimes maybe a couple of people are on them. They can be crowded occasionally if there is an event going on downtown or in Ybor. Other than that, in terms of anyone using the regularly to commute or something, that just doesn't happen. The routing isn't favorable for that, and they travel at literally walking speed. They are cute but useless. With the ridership numbers you posted, 60,000/month (to pick a midpoint) is only 2,000/day, and the average ride is probably what, a mile? (The whole system is maybe two miles?) Hardly a "mass transit" system.

The voters did vote on the half cent sales tax increase that funds public transportation and improves roads last year. It's currently being held up as one of the Hillsborough County Commissioners decided to sue. We are waiting on the Florida Supreme Court to make a decision about it.
It will all go to roads. The opposition to it for transit purposes was depressing. Lack of good transit is the Tampa Bay area's Achilles heel if the region ever wants to be more than second-tier but most of the locals are too shortsighted to realize it.

Also the FRA prohibits the streetcar from using the same rails as that CSX and Amtrak use so that's out of the question. Plus the rail down Meridian is going to be pulled up one Con Agra (Ardent Mills) has been moved. So your idea of the street car stopping at Tampa Union Station wont work.
I wasn't suggesting sharing tracks. Just run the streetcar track parallel to the CSX line from the E 3rd Ave. traffic circle in Ybor (where it now crosses CSX) to Union Station. And yes I know the plan is currently to pull up the Ardent Mills rail. I am saying change that plan (which was only announced last year I believe) and convert that track to the streetcar track. It is so head-slappingly obvious: the track and RoW are ALREADY THERE; the current user and CSX customer is closing down; the current owner (CSX) want to abandon the track once its customer stops using it; and it is early enough in the process to change the plan. Perfect opportunity! Rarely does all that come into alignment.
 

McIntyre2K7

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Yes, hardly used, even though it is free! I see them frequently, and they are often almost completely empty; sometimes maybe a couple of people are on them. They can be crowded occasionally if there is an event going on downtown or in Ybor. Other than that, in terms of anyone using the regularly to commute or something, that just doesn't happen. The routing isn't favorable for that, and they travel at literally walking speed. They are cute but useless. With the ridership numbers you posted, 60,000/month (to pick a midpoint) is only 2,000/day, and the average ride is probably what, a mile? (The whole system is maybe two miles?) Hardly a "mass transit" system.
I'm not calling it a mass transit system however ridership has improved since it was free. Here are the plans for the extension and modernization:


It will all go to roads. The opposition to it for transit purposes was depressing. Lack of good transit is the Tampa Bay area's Achilles heel if the region ever wants to be more than second-tier but most of the locals are too shortsighted to realize it.
That is incorrect. HART gets 45% of the sales tax that can be used for expanding bus services and purchasing right of way for other types of transit. The County commission voted 4-3 to restore the amounts to what voters wanted. Now it's up to the Florida Supreme Court.

I wasn't suggesting sharing tracks. Just run the streetcar track parallel to the CSX line from the E 3rd Ave. traffic circle in Ybor (where it now crosses CSX) to Union Station. And yes I know the plan is currently to pull up the Ardent Mills rail. I am saying change that plan (which was only announced last year I believe) and convert that track to the streetcar track. It is so head-slappingly obvious: the track and RoW are ALREADY THERE; the current user and CSX customer is closing down; the current owner (CSX) want to abandon the track once its customer stops using it; and it is early enough in the process to change the plan. Perfect opportunity! Rarely does all that come into alignment.
While it may seem like a good option Vinik and his company are planning on using that land for retail and residential. I know HART paid over $500,000 this year just for insurance when crossing the A-Line near 4th Ave. I think local leaders want Union Station as a hub for the local and commuter rail lines (if they ever happen). I wouldn't be shocked if they put an imitative on the ballot for baseball stadium funding along with starting a local rail line.
 

neroden

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Tampa station sites finally under consideration with a MOU between Brightline and a local developer. All 3 sites are near Tampa Union Station just east of downtown Tampa. The former Tampa Park Apartments, TECO Gasworks, and the location considered for a baseball stadium a few years ago. No financial committment yet but does allow for environmental planning to begin now that potential sites have been selected.

https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2020/09/15/brightline-darryl-shaw-ybor-city-rail-station.html
If they're going to be THAT close to Tampa Union Station, it would make sense to use Tampa Union Station as a headhouse. (I recognize that track & platform issues would require essentially new tracks and platforms, and the tracks would have to be separate and presumably elevated to get around the freight track which heads south to Ardent Mills and the one which heads west to Port Tampa City. Elevated is a good thing in Florida in any case.) Tampa Union Station is owned by the city & a nonprofit so they'll be cooperative.

I was initially assuming they'd stay up by 21st/22nd Sts. to avoid the need for troublesome property acquisitions and flyovers, and make it easier to head west later. If they're going to work their way south to be that close to Tampa Union Station, I don't see a lot of reasons not to use it, unless they want to continue past Tampa to Tampa Airport or St Petersburg.

They'd still need this property to get there, of course.
 

joelkfla

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If they're going to be THAT close to Tampa Union Station, it would make sense to use Tampa Union Station as a headhouse. (I recognize that track & platform issues would require essentially new tracks and platforms, and the tracks would have to be separate and presumably elevated to get around the freight track which heads south to Ardent Mills and the one which heads west to Port Tampa City. Elevated is a good thing in Florida in any case.) Tampa Union Station is owned by the city & a nonprofit so they'll be cooperative.

I was initially assuming they'd stay up by 21st/22nd Sts. to avoid the need for troublesome property acquisitions and flyovers, and make it easier to head west later. If they're going to work their way south to be that close to Tampa Union Station, I don't see a lot of reasons not to use it, unless they want to continue past Tampa to Tampa Airport or St Petersburg.

They'd still need this property to get there, of course.
It would be a big departure from their current stations, which feature an upscale modern casual design. Judging by their existing stations, Brightline would probably want an exclusive controlled-access waiting area with comfortable seating and modern conveniences (like plentiful charge points), and a dedicated first class lounge. Would all that fit within the existing head house, without destroying the historical character?
 
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neroden

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It would be a big departure from their current stations, which feature an upscale modern casual design. Judging by their existing stations, Brightline would probably want an exclusive controlled-access waiting area with comfortable seating and modern conveniences (like plentiful charge points), and a dedicated first class lounge. Would all that fit within the existing head house, without destroying the historical character?
I envision entering through the headhouse, getting ticketing, and then passing from there through a corridor to the new controlled-access waiting rooms which would be built behind the headhouse (where the parking lot is now, perhaps), with the tracks and platform overhead. A new larger parking garage would have to be built somewhere anyway, perhaps across the street.

But I suppose it would work just as well to have the station across Nuccio Parkway and add an overhead enclosed pedestrian bridge providing a fully enclosed pathway to/from Union Station. Or to connect the "back end" of the Amtrak platform to a station at the TECO location, though that seems substantially worse.

There's astounding amounts of vacant / parking / redevelopable land just west of Nebraska Ave, before getting to downtown proper. The Selmon Expressway kind of wrecks the area, dividing downtown from Channelside, but it's Tampa so they won't fix that. A couple of big parking garages, which the station will need, could replace some of those parking lots and allow for lots and lots of development.
 
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joelkfla

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I envision entering through the headhouse, getting ticketing, and then passing from there through a corridor to the new controlled-access waiting rooms which would be built behind the headhouse (where the parking lot is now, perhaps), with the tracks and platform overhead. A new larger parking garage would have to be built somewhere anyway, perhaps across the street.

But I suppose it would work just as well to have the station across Nuccio Parkway and add an overhead enclosed pedestrian bridge providing a fully enclosed pathway to/from Union Station. Or to connect the "back end" of the Amtrak platform to a station at the TECO location, though that seems substantially worse.

There's astounding amounts of vacant / parking / redevelopable land just west of Nebraska Ave, before getting to downtown proper. The Selmon Expressway kind of wrecks the area, dividing downtown from Channelside, but it's Tampa so they won't fix that. A couple of big parking garages, which the station will need, could replace some of those parking lots and allow for lots and lots of development.
But then they're essentially building a new station, and just connecting it to TUS somehow. Where's the value in that, especially from Brightline's point of view? I don't see any reason for riding Brightline from Orlando to Tampa to connect with Amtrak. If Amtrak develops the JAX-Tampa corridor, they'll be a competitor of Brightline.
 

Qapla

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Since the Star already goes from WPK-TPA they are already "competitors" (the Star used to travel daily) - yet both trains are well traveled by people going to/from these destinations.

With the drop to 3x week - running the Star from JAX-TPA on the days the Star does not go to NYC would be nice (won't hold my breath)
 

McIntyre2K7

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I think wan
Since the Star already goes from WPK-TPA they are already "competitors" (the Star used to travel daily) - yet both trains are well traveled by people going to/from these destinations.

With the drop to 3x week - running the Star from JAX-TPA on the days the Star does not go to NYC would be nice (won't hold my breath)

I mean you might as well have the Silver Star end in Tampa and the Silver Meteor end in Miami. Let Amtrak introduce 3 new routes (Miami to Tampa, Naples to Tampa and Jacksonville/Orlando/Tampa). When getting into Orlando on the Star riders would have a choice of taking Brightline to Miami which would be faster or staying on the train and making a transfer in Tampa. The Star would arrive in Tampa an 90 minutes before the trains to Miami and Naples depart giving travelers some time to explore Downtown Tampa/Ybor City/ Waterstreet areas.
 
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