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Pinellas transit authority completes first SunRunner station

Veronica Brezina



The new SunRunner station at the corner of 5th Street and 1st Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. All photos: Veronica Brezina.

A bright yellow and teal-colored bus station now stands on the corner of 1st Avenue and 5th Street in downtown St. Petersburg, marking the completion of the first station for the new SunRunner line. 

On Friday, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority unveiled the completed station for the SunRunner, which will be the first-ever bus rapid transit line in Tampa Bay.  

The new SunRunner station on the corner of 5th Street and 1st Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. Local artist Catherine Woods is creating a glass-art-like artwork for the station. 

“Today we are one step closer to a solution for the ever-growing problems of congestion and traffic in St. Petersburg. This has been a long time coming–it has been a marathon, not a sprint,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said regarding the work behind-the-scenes to achieve this milestone. 

PSTA has been working on developing the $44 million SunRunner project for years. The 10.3-mile line will connect through St. Petersburg, South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach on semi-dedicated lanes.

Bus rapid transit differs from traditional bus operations by incorporating on-level boarding and having a higher bus frequency as there are a limited number of stations. 

The SunRunner will have 15 double-sided stations, creating a total of 30 stops. The buses will run every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the evening. 

The entire SunRunner line is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022. 

The bus rapid transit project is a piece of a bigger picture for economic development and connectivity for the region.

The new SunRunner station on the corner of 5th Street and 1st Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.

The BRT stations represent an opportunity for transit-oriented development, which can entail a mix of uses from retail, housing or offices spaces that are built around stations– it’s a completely new concept for Tampa Bay that the region can now take advantage of. 

RELATED: Pinellas transit agency to unveil findings for SunRunner equity study on transit-oriented development

The first transit-oriented development will be DeNunzio Group’s planned 28-story development at 450 1st Ave. N.

The hi-rise project includes a 120-room hotel, 163 residential units, Class A office space, retail and parking that can be used by the public. 

“Think about the hotel guests going directly to the beach,” DeNunzio Group’s Senior Project Manager Mike Flood said during the event. 

The mixed-use development will break ground by the end of next year, Flood said. 

PSTA board member Janet Long added how this project will also help accomplish the larger goal of having BRT service throughout Tampa Bay. 

The route map is displayed at the new SunRunner station.

The SunRunner system will be “the catalyst for the 41-mile route that will finally put in place the spine for what will be an effective, efficient transportation system for the region,” Long said, referring to the regional rapid transit line that the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority has been studying. 

The envisioned 41-mile rapid bus line would link Wesley Chapel to the Westshore area in Tampa and into downtown St. Petersburg and the Gateway area. 

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  1. Avatar

    Donna Concerned Citizen

    December 4, 2021at11:39 am

    What an utter waste of taxpayer funding destroying automobile transit on a main artery to accommodate “hotel guests”
    going to the beach.

  2. Avatar


    December 4, 2021at4:38 pm

    And what about doing something that’s actually needed by St. Pete residents – round the clock direct transportation to Tampa Airport. Direct. Every thirty minutes. How about it?

  3. Avatar


    December 4, 2021at5:12 pm

    I have to agree with post #1

  4. Avatar


    December 7, 2021at11:58 am

    The people behind these disasters should be put in jail. Reduce traffic??? You sir, are an idiot.

  5. Avatar

    Mike K

    December 20, 2021at8:18 pm

    Talk about reducing traffic on the roads… Y’all removed the bike lanes on 1st Ave N and S for this. That was my main artery of transit for the last 7 years I’ve lived here. Cycling on the road on central is way more sketchy. No other roads near downtown actually have bike lanes that go from W to E. Only 30th Ave N. The bike trail is super stop and go and crosses sketchy roads without a light until you hit Treasure Island.

    This bus doesn’t even have a bike rack. The city buses do, why not this? I was hoping this bus would be good for emergencies for me but no bike rack.

  6. Avatar

    Janet Avallone

    December 21, 2021at9:47 pm

    I agree with commenter #1 also. These buses should use the right lane to pick up passengers at current or new bus stops. There is NO REASON to take a full lane of traffic away every quarter mile. These obstructions on First Aves. N and S should all be removed! I don’t recall voting on these obstructions!

  7. Avatar


    December 24, 2021at12:06 pm

    Mixed traffic lanes weren’t the problem. Without off-board ticketing or even electronic ticketing this is still going to be brutally slow if anyone uses it.

  8. Avatar

    Gary Brown

    December 28, 2021at3:36 pm

    I agree with comment number one. I use 1st Avenue North and South daily. What was once a quick east and west transit across the peninsula, is now interrupted by several stops due to congestion created by reducing driver’s lanes from three to two. Shades of Ninth Street North. This system will be under used and need to be forever subsidized by taxpayer dollars!

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