Friday, August 23, 2013

Transit Plan Gets the Greenlight to Move Forward in Pinellas

After a summer of close examination and public meetings, the Greenlight Pinellas transportation plan was approved on August 22 by the Greenlight Civic Committee and Business Committee. These volunteers, average citizens and business leaders alike, voted overwhelmingly to move the plan forward to the next level of review.
WHAT IS GREENLIGHT PINELLAS? Pinellas County and Tampa Bay lag far behind other cities in the U.S. in public transit and cyclist and pedestrian safety. Concerned that our lack of transportation options other than cars results in tailpipe emissions generating more smog here than power plants, Sierra Club organized the huge demonstrations of public support needed for the County to move forward with its new transit plan, and has partnered with PSTA (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) in the Greenlight Pinellas education campaign.
The Greenlight plan advocates we reduce Tampa Bay's main source of air pollution by improving bus service, doubling the current fleet so that buses run earlier, later, and more often 7 days a week. Soon buses will get riders to work, school or play within half an hour, vs. today’s typical ride of two hours or more. A few years later, PSTA would begin running light rail service between the county’s major employment centers where 100,000+ now work in downtown Clearwater, Gateway/Carillion, and downtown St. Pete, with a clear path across the bay to Tampa.
At the Civic Committee’s final meeting, votes were cast (26-1) to approve the plan. Citizens also prioritized the many benefits of investing in a modern transportation system:

 Former Sierra organizer Darden Rice reviews votes of the Greenlight Pinellas Civic Committee approving the plan and prioritizing its benefits. Ms. Rice represents St. Petersburg on the board of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. 
      ·         Growing our economy by creating and attracting new jobs
·         Investing in our future generations
·         Protecting our environment
·         Creating livable communities (the top choice), or
·         Expanding transportation choices.
At the Greenlight Business Committee’s final meeting, the county’s top business leaders were asked if they agreed this project is worth doing; is it worth the effort to work for in the next year? The answer was yes!  Leaders agreed that Greenlight is a viable, credible plan that’s both transparent and inclusive, a plan that makes sense for Florida’s most densely populated county.
The business leaders also committed to support a campaign that will go neighborhood by neighborhood to explain to all residents what’s in it for anyone, regardless of where they live, go to work or school, or their stage in life.
Next stop is a vote by the Greenlight Government Committee (Advisory Committee for Pinellas Transportation) at its meeting Monday 9/9, 1:00 pm, at PSTA, 3201 Scherer Dr., St. Pete, 33716. The public is welcome to attend to show support for this great plan.
Sierra Club’s Florida Healthy Air Campaign says THANKS to our Suncoast Sierra Club members who served as members of the Greenlight Civic Committee: our Suncoast Chair Lisa Hinton, Cathy Harrelson, Suzanne Zeller, our Young Professionals Team: Savanna DeLuca, Heather Atwell, Megan Proctor Burford and Jennifer Winter, along with our great allies from Awake Pinellas and FCAN!

Get all the info on the Greenlight Pinellas plan here