A common sense public policy overview from David in South Florida, offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt./public policy, sports and pop culture of the U.S., #SoFL and Europe, esp. the #UK, #Sweden and #France, via my life in #Texas, #Memphis, #Miami, #IU, #Chicago, #WashingtonDC & #SoFL. In particular, #Broward & #MiamiDade County, and the cities of #HallandaleBeach, #HollywoodFL & #Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln.

Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of HB's North Beach and southern Hollywood Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Long-overdue reality check for FDOT re Tri-Rail Coastal on FEC tracks: When is the Tri-Rail Coastal Station Refinement Report FINALLY going to be released?

Wednesday March 2nd, 2016
What follows below is a predicate for better understanding my tweets this afternoon to the Florida Dept. of Transportation, District 4, which covers Broward County, Florida, which are at bottom of this post.


Well, the facts speak for themselves.
Facts that I as a longtime public transit advocate and supporter of the SFECC Study and a Tri-Rail Coastal commuter train system between downtown Miami and Palm Beach, via the FEC tracks, find extremely frustrating and exasperating.
To say the least.

But then I've always been consistent about the fact that just because I've been a strong pro-transit advocate wherever I have lived -because I actually used it myself almost everyday in Chicago, Evanston
and Washington, D.C./Arlington
- didn't mean that I would sit back quietly and accept a lack of public candor, transparency and level of public accountability from transportation officials and consultants
regarding proposed public transit projects.

Especially if they clearly have some flaws worth pointing out or exhibit a lack of common sense, logic and utility. Or, are clearly projects engaging in fanciful thinking about the public's expected behavior and future usage of a prospective system, link or improvement, because some special interest group stands to benefit
inordinately from its construction and prefers the public pay instead of an appropriate fee paid for only by actual users.
To quote myself, "Just because you're pro-transit doesn't mean you have to ignore displays of transit incompetency or mismanagement when you see it!"

The latter, sadly, are things that have been FAR too plentiful in South Florida since I returned to the area from DC in 2003, and I've continually used my blog as a forum to communicate the facts with the public and
interested parties about the problems in detail since 2007, including most recently, the lack of public engagement in Broward of officials associated with the All Aboard Florida project, who backtracked
from their initial plans to NOT having a public meeting in Broward County after I got the attention of the public, the news media and angry local public officials who were surprised to discover they were
being ignored -until I pointed it out to them.

A refresher on that issue if you need one:

May 6, 2013 - More Transit Policy Woes in South Florida: With stealthy and self-sabotaging friends like All Aboard Florida and SFRTA/Tri-Rail, pro-transit advocates in South Florida don't need any more enemies; 'All Aboard Florida' fails to schedule a single public scoping meeting in Broward County this Spring despite Fort Lauderdale being a proposed station, while SFRTA chief refuses to answer a simple question -Will Hallandale Beach have a station under the proposed Coastal line plan?; Just because you're pro-transit doesn't mean you have to ignore displays of transit incompetency or mismanagement when you see it! 


May 16, 2013 -Reverse engines! Reluctantly but prudently, All Aboard Florida wises-up and agrees to have a Fort Laudedale scoping meeting after all, on May 29th; 5 weeks later, still no response from SFRTA Executive Director Joseph Giulietti about whether or not Hallandale Beach will have a station as part of their proposed Tri-Rail Coastal plan


March 26, 2015 -South Florida has once again redefined the meaning of "Free Ride." But shouldn't we all realize by now that when it comes to #TransportationPolicy in #SoFL, there's no such thing as a free ride? But #Miami pols, @Tri_Rail & @AllAboardFla can't help themslves when it comes to taking taxpayer dollars and taking credit for something BEFORE the facts are ALL in


August 5, 2015 - Common sense questions about public policy, process and public engagement -to say nothing of financial risk- continue to dog @AllAboardFla and the Fortress Investment Group as they seek $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds from the Florida Development Finance Corporation for their planned Miami-to-Orlando express train, via Fort lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Some observations on what we know and what reporters should have been asking all along, but were NOT.


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


So, that said, I could have written the tweets below I sent today to FDOT over a year ago, 9 months ago, 6 months ago or at Christmas, and whenever I did so, it would be 100% true.
Just as it is today.

There's been nothing useful to the general public at the Tri-Rail Coastal website for over a year about the most important and most-anticipated information -the location of stations for the
initial stage of the project.
Instead, they have been content to do ZERO updates and leave it marked "Coming Soon."
No, a year is not soon!

And it's NOT how you properly engage and inform the citizenry about a project that completely depends upon public funds for its creation and maintenance.

Station Refinement Report
This report provides a summary of the planning analysis conducted to identify recommended initial station area locations on the FEC corridor. It also outlines a recommended phasing strategy for subsequent station development to assist project stakeholders with future planning efforts. The report recommendations will form the basis for the alternatives to be analyzed during the next phase (Project Development.) Coming Soon
And though I could have said something particularly critical about it, I chose NOT to comment in my tweets about how the information on their website labeled Station Area Opportunities reads more like like
fiction, esp. the material about Hallandale Beach.
Frankly, it's as if they swallowed whole the city's PR Kool-Aid without blinking, instead of posting objective information because they understood implicitly that area residents and business owners would both rely upon
the information to be accurate.

Station Area Opportunities

The Tri-Rail Coastal Link Station Area Opportunities publication is intended to summarize the station area visions created by many communities for their station areas, as well as provide information about the development potential for the area surrounding each station.

Download PDF (32MB)

So tell me, how can it be that after all this time that FDOT STILL hasn't released the initial locations of Tri-Rail Coastal stations in South Florida, and as it directly affects me and so many of you receiving this email, the location of those sites in NE Miami-Dade and SE Broward?
I know from MANY phone conversations and emails to and from many of you that station locations have been guaranteed by local city officials and Electeds to be part of the initial operation of the commuter line, when, in fact, they WON'T be?

And just as I state below in my tweets from this afternoon, I DO know the names of people who has been misleading the public and Small Business owners, trying to sell them a bogus bill of goods.
People who deserve honesty are instead receiving duplicity from public officials who are supposed to be working for them, not against them.

Another question that comes to mind is WHY is the local South Florida news media, print and electronic, has largely been snoozing on this important storythat directly affects important issues like South Florida's transportation gridlock and the local economy -and parts of local cities near the FEC
tracks that remain in a funk and economically depressed
instead of properly demanding honest answers and a thorough justification from public officials (and consultants) in charge at FDOT for their lack of candor, public engagement and snail-like pace?

Project Manager 

Amie Goddeau
FDOT Project Manager, FDOT District 4
3400 West Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-3421
Read the tweets below from the bottom up.

Twitter: @hbbtruth, https://twitter.com/hbbtruth

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