POMPANO BEACH: NEW FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE WILL GET FDOT FUNDING
BY MARIE PULEO | POMPANO BEACH NEWS REPORTER
POMPANO BEACH SHUTTLE: The City has been awarded an $833,000 matching grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to help fund a new shuttle service/park-and-ride system that will connect residents and visitors to various destinations in the beach area and along Atlantic Boulevard via golf cart and trolleybus.
The City Commission approved the grant agreement with FDOT at its July 28 meeting. The City will contribute $833,000 in funding to meet the matching grant for the new transit service.
“Our overall objective of this service is to reduce emissions and traffic congestion on the barrier island, as well as the Atlantic Boulevard corridor,” Jeff Lantz, the city’s parking operation manager, told the City Commission.
According to a presentation Lantz made to the East CRA Advisory Committee earlier this year, the first phase of the transit system will be a free service using electric golf carts that hold 5 to 7 passengers, including the driver. The route will go up and down the barrier island, as far north as the Hillsboro Inlet Park, and south toward Atlantic Boulevard, where it would cross over the bridge and go to the Harbor Village Shops.
The golf carts will make pickups anywhere along the route, stopping at locations such as the Marriott hotel and the Residence Inn on A1A, the Beach House and Oceanic restaurants, the Pompano pier, the Pier Parking Garage, the Briny Pub, the Foundry restaurant, the Pompano Shopping Center where Publix is located, and the 26 Degree Brewing Company. The itinerary could eventually include Alsdorf Park.
To catch a ride, residents and visitors will be able to wave down a driver as the golf cart is approaching. They will also be able to use a mobile phone app to request pickup at any location along the route, including their residence or hotel, for transport to and from area restaurants and other amenities.
The City is soliciting bids for a company to operate the golf cart service. With the time required for the bid evaluation process, subsequent negotiations and execution of a contract with the selected company, Lantz anticipates the golf cart service will be operational by January or February of next year. The plan is to start out with two or three golf carts, with the possibility of adding more if needed.
If phase one of the new transit service is successful, and there is demand, a second phase would be implemented, using a trolleybus, or some other shuttle vehicle with greater seating capacity, that is electric, or that uses propane or compressed natural gas. In all cases, low-emission or no-emission vehicles will be used, said Lantz.
The second phase of the Pompano Beach shuttle service/park-and-ride system would run further west along Atlantic Boulevard, all the way to Old Town, City Hall, the Cultural Center, and the future Innovation District. It could potentially go as far west as the Isle Casino.
Based on demand, the size of the shuttle could be for 16 passengers or more. This portion of the shuttle service may or may not be free, but a monthly fee or day pass could be offered.
The plan is to have multiple lots in the Atlantic Boulevard corridor where people can park and connect to the park-and-ride system. This would provide a parking alternative for employees working on the barrier island.
According to the grant application the City submitted to FDOT, it is anticipated that once the Pompano Beach Fishing Village is completed on the barrier island, it will produce over 500 employees.
Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin said “there is always angst in the community about traffic on our streets.”
As development takes place in Pompano Beach, “we are not blind to the fact that we’ve got growing pains,” said Hardin, and the new shuttle service/park-and-ride system is an attempt to accommodate some of those growing pains and alleviate traffic issues.
City Manager Greg Harrison indicated the City will seek additional grants to help fund the new Pompano Beach shuttle transit service. Other funding is expected to come from advertising on the golf carts.