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St. Pete mayor pens letter in support of BRT

Megan Holmes

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman penned a strongly worded letter to St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson Wednesday afternoon, making a case for the proposed Central Avenue BRT project and threatening to move on with the project without St. Pete Beach’s approval.

The letter comes after the St. Pete Beach City Commission appeared hostile and unwilling to compromise with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s latest iterations of the project, made in response to St. Pete Beach residents’ objections to large bus sizes and preferred termination of the route.

As previously reported by the St. Pete Catalyst, the commission objected to BRT on St. Pete Beach and pushed PSTA to terminate the route at 75th Avenue. The commission said St. Pete Beach could employ its own transit option to get passengers to other stops on the island.

The commission scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday morning to consider a resolution against the project or to sign an interlocal agreement only if PSTA agrees to terminate service at 75th Avenue. 

Kriseman stated that the Commission’s demands were not acceptable, as it “would significantly lower ridership and put the entire project in jeopardy.”

“These provisions do not represent an acceptable compromise to the original plan,” wrote Kriseman. “It significantly waters down the original plan far beyond the compromise we would accept which would still meet the needs of our respective communities and our region.”

Kriseman also stated that if St. Pete Beach refuses to compromise, the City of St. Petersburg  would consider the original draft of the interlocal agreement at its own City Council meeting Thursday afternoon, putting larger 60 foot buses and the previously explored routes, including service terminating at the Don CeSar hotel, back on the table.

Kriseman implored Johnson to consider both local and regional interests of the project.

Read Kriseman’s full letter below.

 

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    BR Pettit

    June 13, 2019 at 8:59 am

    BRT is adamantly opposed by St Pete Beach residents. We value our home rule. We are the second highest bed tax contributor in the county. Dump the BRT.

  2. Avatar

    John Royse

    June 13, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    If Kriseman is so concerned with public transit he should check PSTA in his own community where some of us have had access to only one route running once an hour for the last 35 years.

  3. Avatar

    HB Busch

    June 13, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    What are the reasons St. Pete Beach residents are opposed to BRT?

    • Avatar

      Al Johnson

      June 14, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      As our resolution states, we are opposed to the currently proposed plan – 60′ articulated busses, U-turn at the Don, etc. It also states that we see want to continue the dialogue to arrive at a plan that St. Pete, South Pasadena and SPB can accept.

      • Megan Holmes

        Megan Holmes

        June 17, 2019 at 9:56 am

        Mayor Johnson, the resolution opposed the plan as CURRENTLY proposed South of 75th Avenue – (ie, 40 ft buses on Gulf Boulevard to County Park). You are referring to the original plan, which was not in the interlocal agreement that PSTA drafted.

  4. Avatar

    Robert Neff

    June 13, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    St, Petersburg Mayor Kroseman trying to strong arm St. Pete Beach. He is all for spending money to make himself look good.

  5. Avatar

    David Sillman

    June 17, 2019 at 9:44 am

    I’m with Kreisman! The interests and benefits to the broader community + tourists outweighs a minority of loud complainers who “just don’t want it”. And in the larger scheme, the entire proposed route for these new buses is under threat of being under water in the not-too-distant future. Obstructing solutions [to the threat of rising seas] is untenable and unacceptable. The ‘pluses’ here FAR outweigh the ‘minuses’. To the whiners I would simply say: “suck it up, buttercup! You’re going to get some great new, advanced mass transit that will unclog traffic and clean the air a bit whether you like it or not”!

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