Lessons from South Florida
I can't believe it took me this long to find this link, but I finally got it.
Some South Florida leaders are itching to introduce something new to the region's commuter rail service: a train that takes people somewhere they want to go.
As it stands, Tri-Rail rides on tracks beside Interstate 95. The agency's trains go through no downtowns, and provide only indirect service to the region's airports. Getting where you want to go generally involves a second trip via bus, bike, taxi or Metrorail.
The CSX line currently being used by Tri-Rail requires transfers to shuttle buses to get anywhere useful, just like the proposed Austin commuter rail line.
This article talks about efforts to get Tri-Rail service on another existing rail line which actually runs through the downtown areas of the major cities in the region (allowing people to walk to offices, basically).
In a telephone interview, Winton said the FEC line would offer a serious alternative to driving for the growing number of people who commute between counties.
Now, a Broward commuter who works in downtown Miami would have to drive to a Tri-Rail station, take the train to a Metrorail station, take Metrorail to downtown, and possibly take Metromover after that.
In contrast, a passenger service on the FEC line would link downtown Miami with, for example, downtown Fort Lauderdale, which has thousands of new apartments and condominiums either built or on the way.
In hindsight, the decision to put Tri-Rail on the CSX track was probably unwise, Winton said.
''I think it was a huge mistake,'' he said. ``It doesn't seem logical to me. It clearly hurts ridership by a ton.''