St. Pete Beach Commission unanimously votes against rapid bus plan

Pinellas County

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – On Thursday, St. Pete Beach commissioners unanimously voted against a plan to bus large amounts of people to the beach, but their efforts aren’t enough to stop the plan altogether.

Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss their resolution and made it clear they don’t want the current Bus Rapid Transit- BRT plan that’s being offered by PSTA, the agency that runs the Pinellas County bus system. 

Mayor Al Johnson said the commission supports mass transit but stressed the importance of talking with all municipalities involved about alternatives that would work best for his city. 

Commissioners are worried about the impact that 60-foot buses would have on the main corridor of Gulf Boulevard and their beach community. 

The BRT plan would connect downtown St. Petersburg to Pinellas County beaches using 1st Ave. North and South.

Right now there are a number of yard signs along that route reading, “SaveOurStreets.net.”

The project will include 15 minute wait times using a dedicated bus lane along 1st Ave. 

Supporters of the plan argue it’s a way to prepare for the future and help reduce the number of cars at beaches.

St. Pete Beach commissioners are concerned this could negatively impact traffic flow and interfere with future construction projects along Gulf Blvd.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman made it clear in a letter to St. Pete Beach commissioners that his city staff is prepared to move forward with or without their support. 

St. Petersburg City Council will meet Thursday at 3 p.m. to discuss putting $4 million toward the plan.

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