Well as promised
, Tommy of Sticks of Fire has returned from his trip to Orlando. He integrated local commuter rail service and reported back at SOF how it all went
. It was work for the cause considering he deliberately passed up faster transport options to bring back the story!
The lesson seems pretty clear. If the connectivity between rail and the ultimate drop zone (e.g., one's destination) is fragmented and underfunded, the rail solution itself can feel like a complete flop. Local rail planners, in addition to thinking regionally, will hopefully be thinking systems
. Knowledgeable connection centers are one thing, but there are other issues. For instance, Tampa is the lightning capitol of the nation. Will awnings or covered walkways stretch from light rail platforms to real buildings so people can hover in until things calm down? You might not need this for a light rail station in St. Louis, but you sure as heck need such things in this town. Speaking as a lightining-phobic, that is. :)
It seems like the battle for rail can be taken as a battle for the prevailing core transportation system, period. The core in most Florida cities is usually the road, even in those lucky areas with hardcore fixed guideway solutions
. The ancillary support components such as information systems to the public, all follow the core. How else can you explain approaching a train station clerk, asking them about a connecting bus route and, incredibly, drawing a blank stare in response? I bet it would have been different had he had asked for the nearest car rental facility.