The City of Hollywood is hoping that the Tri-Rail Coastal Link will place one its stations in the City.
“We would like to be one of the first train stations for the Coastal Link and we believe Hollywood would be a good place to locate a train station,” said Raelin Storey, spokesperson for Hollywood.
This commuter train service would connect up the downtowns of coastal South Florida and Hollywood is one of the cities that is being considered for a train station to be located in Downtown Hollywood on 21st Avenue and Taylor Street.
“Hollywood is an ideal location for a stop because the rail corridor is immediately adjacent to our historic downtown. The land use is already in place for a regional activity center. This creates a very walkable, transit and pedestrian friendly stop. There is existing residential with 600 more units planned along with existing retail and office development all within a one fourth mile of this proposed stop,’ said Susan Goldberg, deputy director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
Also there is discussion underway for the expansion of the existing higher education facility, Barry University, which will further the area’s appeal for creating a true transit-oriented development.
The unique character and historic identity of Downtown Hollywood will draw people to get off the train at the Hollywood Station and patronize local shops, galleries and restaurants. The City hopes the convenience of nearby transit will spur additional office and retail redevelopment. In the section along Dixie Highway, a mixed use corridor is envisioned with retail, office and residential within the same building. Increased daytime traffic would help support successful redevelopment in the area. Mayor Peter Bober believes a train station is important to Hollywood. “This will reduce car trips, encourage the redevelopment of Downtown Hollywood and will be great for the City,” he said.
The effort to bring a commuter train service to the FEC corridor is being led by the Florida Department of Transportation in conjunction with the South Florida Regional Transit Authority and partnering agencies: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), the Southeast Florida Transportation Council (SEFTC), and the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils. This commuter train service would connect up the downtowns of coastal South Florida, according to Goldberg.
The City of Hollywood and Hollywood CRA hired Kimley Horn and Associates to develop “Complete Streets” designs for several key corridors in Hollywood including the FEC corridor from Sheridan Street to Pembroke Road. This design allowed the CRA to apply for the county to designate this a “Context Sensitive Corridor,” which is a designation that recognizes that this is a roadway that should be share by all forms of transportation: mass transit, pedestrian, vehicular, bicycle. It also recognizes that this roadway is currently designed for a higher capacity of traffic than it actually has. This creates flexibility when it comes to recreating this roadway, according to Goldberg.
The Tri-Rail Coastal Link project is ready to move into the project development stage. This is expected to happen as soon as November or December of 2014. Project development is expected to take two years, this will be when all of the initial station locations are finalized, environmental assessments are done and options for cost sharing are developed.
The work done in the project development allows the FDOT, SFRTA to purse federal “new start” funding to help pay for the construction of train stations, parking areas, etc. This transit project would be competing with transit projects around the country for these federal dollars. Typically the funding breaks down, 50% federal, 25% state, 25% local; county and city. Initial market analysis of the benefit of the stop to the City of Hollywood, show that a train station in Downtown Hollywood would generate between $1.3 and $1.5 million dollars just in added property tax value.
“It’s important to keep in mind that this is long term vision for this corridor, planning and implementation (if Hollywood is selected for an initial stop) is several years away. Still, cities have to be a part of the planning now, if they want to receive funding and be part of the project later,” said Goldberg.