Archive for category: Transportation

Will Central Florida’s Sunrail Work?

Commuter rail trainAs a long-time Central Florida resident and lawyer who has worked in downtown Orlando for my entire career, I was personally very excited about the approval of SunRail. I have always enjoyed using public transportation when visiting New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, and have often wondered whether public transportation would work in my hometown. I’ve even experimented with the concept by riding the Lynx bus system for a week, and wrote about it in this blog. But I am a realist when it comes to Orlando and mass transportation. I believe that, although SunRail has the potential for great success over the long term, there are several factors that may keep it from gathering the ridership it needs to be successful in the short term.

First, the factors that have the potential to quickly increase public acceptance and ridership:

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Would You Ride the Bus?

Photo courtesy of Lynx

Orlando – my city – and the surrounding Central Florida area – is at important crossroads with respect to transportation.  The area has grown largely through car ownership, with sprawling suburbs, multiple highways and, at least historically, anemic public transportation options.  To get most anywhere in Orlando requires that you get in a car and drive there, because a car is the fastest option, and in many cases, the only option.  These days, Interstate 4 often is a slow-moving parking lot during work commutes.  If you are traveling to the attractions area (Disney, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, etc.), the stretch of Interstate 4 to get there is crowded more often than it is not.  Like frogs in a pot of water being brought to a boil, most Orlando car drivers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable, without realizing that in the long term, they’re not going to last in their cars.

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