Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Thoughts re role of Tri-Rail Coastal commuter rail on HB/Hollywood redevelopment, per City of Hollywood's community meeting on Monday Aug. 24 for its Regional Activity Center re-zoning, which includes U.S.-1 & Pembroke Road

Received the following email from the City of Hollywood last Tuesday and sent it and my thoughts below it out to about 125 interested and concerned people around the area.
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http://www.hollywoodfl.org/list.aspx?MID=517
Learn About Proposed Zoning Changes in the Regional Activity Center

The City of Hollywood invites you to a community meeting on Monday, August 24 at 6:00 p.m. at Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Boulevard, Room 219 to discuss the planned re-zoning of the Regional Activity Center (RAC).

The RAC encompasses Downtown Hollywood and includes Federal Highway from Sheridan Street to Pembroke Road and Hollywood Boulevard from US-1 to Interstate 95. The Regional Activity Center land use designation is intended to encourage attractive and functional mixed living, working, shopping, education, and recreational activities, in areas of regional importance. To guide sustainable development, the City is undertaking ambitious zoning changes in the RAC to accommodate future growth, while preserving the character of existing neighborhoods.

The Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Planning have hosted a series of community meetings with residents living in and around the RAC to review the proposed zoning changes. This community meeting is open to all residents interested in the RAC re-zoning.  

For additional information, contact the Department of Community and Economic Development at 954.921.3271 or go to RAC Re-zoning.

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The map of the proposed RAC is at http://www.hollywoodfl.org/index.aspx?NID=884

I'm going to make some phone calls and find out who will be speaking at this meeting next Monday at Hollywood City Hall.

I'm especially interested in finding out if anyone from Tri-Rail will be present to publicly speak about the latest estimates and deadlines about the Tri-Rail Coastal service, since from the looks of things, there doesn't seem to be anyone locally following up on that and holding them to account in turning big words into some tangible action.

Most of you know from experience that I'm someone who has been a longtime public advocate for much-better public transit service and facilities in SE Broward County, and have long lamented publicly at both City Halls how often Hallandale Beach and Hollywood residents seemed to constantly take it on the chin on common sense matters that are relatively easy to resolve policy-wise, and would be supported by the public, but, for whatever reason, always seemed to lack an advocate for the public at City Hall willing to push their own bureaucrats into action.
Perhaps because they are not considered sexy issues, per se.

For instance, to mention but a few things I've written about frequently with photos to show the sad reality of what SE Broward transit riders are forced to put up with,

1.) How about making sure there are actually some bus shelters on the east side of U.S.-1 in Hallandale Beach, instead of just one, located one block south of Pembroke Road, practically in Hollywood? Really.

2.) How many years has the Buzz #1 Express to downtown Fort Lauderdale -that begins at Aventura Mall on north-bound trips- used the two small bus benches opposite the McDonald's on U.S.-1 as their ONLY Hallandale Beach stop on the northbound trip, instead of the under-utilized SuperStop bus shelter in front of Gulfstream Park, opposite the Flashback Diner?

Yes, the expensive, under-utilized SuperStop bus shelter that the County and the City of HB required Forest City and MAGNA/Gulfstream Park to build as part of the development agreement to create The Village at Gulfstream Park.
You'll recall that the developers said they'd provide shuttle service from that site to the Tri-Rail station on Hollywood Blvd. -but they never did, did they?
NOPE!!!

Yes, as some of you may recall, that would be the same SuperStop that was used as a de facto home base by an army of homeless people for at least six-to-eight months from late 2013 to 2014, despite being located less than two blocks from Hallandale Beach City Hall and HB Police Dept. HQ.
Both looked the other way at what was happening, which made both bus riders and bus drivers angry since it was pitch-black at night -on purpose. 
How did HB City Hall and HBPD ignore what was right in front of them???

3.) Honestly, how is it that so many years after the Hollywood ArtsPark was created by Broward County that Hollywood residents have had to tolerate ZERO bus shelters at Young Circle, near the Publix, to keep them out of the sun & downpours?
That should have been done at least eight years ago, with advertising revenue used to defray the costs of several attractive state-of-the-art bus shelters at the site that's not only where the largest number of passengers south of downtown FTL get off and on, but also right near the two corners of the Circle where Hollywood City Hall and the Hollywood business community
have long claimed that they wanted to see interesting upscale retail and residential living located, to give the city some dynamic activity.

As I've written many times before on my blog and said aloud at transportation forums throughout South Florida, one of the most positive things that can help jolt the Hollywood and Hallandale Beach economies -not just the downtown areas of Hollywood and HB but especially the under-developed and under-utilized areas along the FEC tracks that are perfect for Transit Oriented
Corridor related development, i.e. mixed-use building with retail on the bottom floor and reasonably-priced residential above- is reliable and safe Tri-Rail Coastal service to Downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

(Yes, as many of you know from past conversations with me, because I've seen how beautifully it works like a charm in Stockholm (especially in the fascinating and trendy Södermalm 
neighborhood that I vacationed in two years ago, which from my point of view, EVERYTHING that residents of Coconut Grove and parts of Coral Gables near the University of Miami wish they were now -but aren't.
We don't need to reinvent the wheel, we just make it possible for it to succeed as soon as possible.)

Why? Because giving people the option to be able to relax in the morning and drink their coffee or
smoothies and read a newspaper or zone out on their devices on a train before they get to work beats the hell out of driving to work thru frustrating gridlock.
And people will pay for that option.

I know because when I lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area for 15 years, my housing options always put a premium on access and proximity to the a Metrorail station. That's why I lived where I did in Arlington County and paid a premium in rent for the privilege of always being a 15-20 minute walk to a Metro station.
Those last seven years, that meant living in a great and safe residential area of hilly Arlington less than a mile from the Ballston Metro station, which itself was located below a Hilton hotel and a block from the National Science Foundation HQ and several federal govt. agencies.
(And as longtime readers of the blog know, that was the townhouse that President Ford's 
daughter Susan used to live in, which still had the Secret Service intercom system in it when I was there.)

As most of you know, I have long felt that Hollywood and Hallandale Beach could benefit from that Coastal service faster and in more tangible and positive ways than any other two cities in Broward.
So why aren't we hearing from our elected officials about what's really going on with it?

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