Tampa Bay columnists
Mary Jo Melone
World & Nation
AP The Wire
Comics & Games
Home & Garden
Advertise with the Times
Letters to the Editors
Existing rail line could help move commuters
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 31, 2000
Re: Committee puts transit solutions on track, May 14.
I was happy to read recently about the Metropolitan Planning Organization's study of light rail or monorail for Pinellas County. Thank God!
We live in the most congested county in Florida and have no other means of transportation other than cars and buses. Granted, the bus system is greatly improved, but it still adds to the congestion.
All of the suggestions would be acceptable: streetcar, light rail or monorail. All would be a considerable improvement over what we have. Another point to consider is the appeal of any of these systems to the tourist trade. Look what the cable cars do for San Francisco or the streetcars for New Orleans.
We have a ready-made, off-street system already in existence, the CSX rail line. It is very lightly used and runs the length of the county right through areas that we would try to reach. It also runs alongside Tropicana Field, perfect for moving fans.
Perhaps CSX would sell it to the county or allow daytime use for light rail and nighttime use for the railroad. This would be an efficient use of an existing system.
Whichever system or combination of systems we decide on, please get started. We are overwhelmed by traffic in this county.
Downsize those big buses
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that no one seems to be riding the mammoth PSTA buses in Pinellas County? I have been a resident since 1980 and don't recall ever seeing more than a few passengers on the buses at any given time.
Now I'm a sensitive guy and understand that we must provide some type of transportation for non-drivers and people without cars, but couldn't we use vans? Surely this would be much more cost-effective for taxpayers and less of a strain on roads and air quality.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.