CLEARWATER, Fla. — For all residents living in Clearwater, a deal for a new transit center has been finalized after city leaders and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority came to an agreement Thursday evening.
After more than a decade of discussion and negotiations, Clearwater's City Council was able to vote unanimously to approve an agreement to transform transportation in northern Pinellas County. It became official during a signing of the agreement on Friday.
This agreement provides land that will be home to a new Clearwater Transit Center which will "serve as a hub for more than 700,000 people who use buses, rideshares, bikes, and scooters to get to and from Downtown Clearwater, area beaches, and beyond," city leaders explain.
"The new transit hub is a much-needed replacement for PSTA’s 40-year-old station at Park Street, which is functionally obsolete because it is unable to accommodate the current routes," CEO of PSTA Brad Miller said in a news release. "Not only that, but the newer hybrid and all-electric buses cannot fit under the old, leaky roof. The center has been in need of upgrades for more than a decade."
The new center will support downtown businesses and relieve area traffic congestion while also replacing a 40-year-old facility nearby. It will include 16 bus bays, bicycle and scooter storage, ride-share connections, ADA board equipment and a "green" design including solar panels and electric bus charging stations, PSTA said.
During the city council meeting, the vote that occurred also approved a "land swap" with PSTA which allows it to build the center on a vacant city-owned lot at the corner of Court Street and Myrtle Avenue.
PSTA was awarded $20 million in federal grants by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Funding for the new transit center will come from grant, the city of Clearwater, FDOT, Forward Pinellas and PSTA.
Construction is set to begin next year.