Electronic Streetcar Coming to Broward County

the wave streetcar.jpg
A Streetcar Named "The Wave" will operate via overhead electrical wires and batteries.

Streetcars conjure up visions of San Francisco, New Orleans, Uncle Ben's Rice, and that Marlon Brando movie where he pleads for his wife to return to him after he beats her.

But now, it will also conjure up downtown Fort Lauderdale and, also, the future, because the Broward County Commission has unanimously approved an electronic streetcar "of the future" that will run through the downtown Fort Lauderdale area by 2016.

Does "of the future" mean that the streetcars will fly around buildings, like in The Jetsons?

No.

To be fair, "of the future" are our words, mainly because Modern Electronic Streetcar makes us think of future stuff.

Either way, the streetcar, dubbed "The Wave," will operate in part via overhead electrical wires in some areas and by battery power in others. It'll supposedly traveling a 1.4-mile loop around inner downtown Fort Lauderdale.

And depending on federal help, the route will eventually expand to 2.7 miles, encompassing Sistrunk Boulevard to the north and 17th Street to the south.

The total cost for building the 2.7-mile "Wave" is approximately $143 million and will come from federal, state, and local sources.

"This is a gigantic step in public transportation for Broward County," Mayor Kristin Jacobs says. "This project will move our county into the next dimension of convenient, accessible, and desirable commuter services. It also brings with it amazing economic development opportunities which will empower us to expand and move forward in a new and bold way."

Jacobs, who is a longtime outspoken advocate for progressive public transportation, says that once federal funding starts rolling in, the financial impact will be felt all over Broward.

"They are looking at the economic development that occurs along the corridor. This is, indeed, a very first step of a longer vision and beyond that," she says.

The county's portion, which funds operation and maintenance costs, is $2.5 million annually beginning in 2016.

Funding partners to build the transportation system include the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority in coordination with the Federal Transit Administration, and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Broward County will be responsible for operational costs once the project is up and running.


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8 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

i have completed the extent of my inquiry and from ALL in the know say the name says it all.............the  WAVE  ......... named such because we can all WAVE GOOD-BYE to the $143,ooo,ooo

a person could WALK to eight of the initial eleven spots QUICKER THAN the transportation allows AND if the draw-bridge is UP no one goes anywhere for twenty minutes at all = period

the dozen hobos, miscreants and vagrants who will actually ride it will be very very impressed that broward county has created yet another way to keep the wheels greased - not quite in league with ROTHSTEIN who had BSO on his payroll - this WAVE should get at least two of the commissioners indicted for fraud and a host of BCT management to retire early

sunny skies and shady people all in the name of green public transportation !

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

there we have it..........a few miscellaneous posts and BCT could improve significantly if only these ideas were put in place.......as it stands BCT is in such a disorganized state of operations they have recently come to blaming either 1)traffic or 2) passengers boarding activity (yellow line violations)

well guess what a bus system is supposed to deal with ?

YUP, you got it: 1)traffic AND 2) passengers boarding activity

BUT just like counting VOTEs, somehow inexplicably, BROWARD has a problem whereas the rest of the country, if not the entire free world, has already solved these issues, and typically deals with them, by overcoming them with approriate response and effort

BCT would rather just give excuses.............like "traffic".............as if BCT was the only bus operations to ever encounter "traffic"

IN GERMANY if the TIME on your WATCH differs with the rail or bus or transportation systems ACTUAL arrival / departure TIMES = reset and change YOUR WATCH !

certainly NO employees or students or anyone with a time commitment to meet can utilize the BCT system which is why it is a system run by monkeys to shuttle hobos and miscreants around

mikemoskos
mikemoskos

While the electric streetcar is nice, what Broward really needs is shorter headways (times between buses). I used to take the Tri-Rail up to Broward and move around up there (I live in Miami). Compared to Miami, Broward's headways are awful and many of its buses are packed to the gills. It takes A LOT  of time to move around in Broward by bus. Obviously, it's a budget shortfall. Broward should look at what laws they have that prevent the kind of privately run city bus systems we have in Miami and eliminate those laws. There are many routes in Broward that could be well served by private bus companies, running buses just like the County does. 

In Miami, the private systems use converted vans or those mini buses the car rental companies use. Yes, their vehicles are a little run down, but all that really matters is that they get you where you need to be (like work on time). In some cases, they run portions of the same route the county does and simply shorten the time between buses. Fares are usually $2, just slightly under county rates. 

One final thing: it's a shame they have to put any wires at all. They're really ugly. Maybe by the time the system is bid out, technology will improve and the batteries can be charged at the end points or perhaps they could use something like Better Place's/Shai Agassi's plan for swappable batteries in cars. 

Also, Broward could really improve its system by making its schedule/bus GPS data public so you could easily figure out when a bus is likely to arrive. Download the free "the Transit App" for the iPhone and you'll see how incredibly useful it is. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................another $143,ooo,ooo.00 of taxpayer money being flushed down the drain and possibly lining the pockets to those future fraudsters that ALWAYS seem to be attached to these cataclysmic amounts of spending for relatively little if any benefit to the public (and THAT's why it will get spent !)

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

personally, in just the last few days, i have waited two hours at one BCT route 12 southbound stop for a bus that should come every half-hour, but as a northbound bus it was turned around at BC and therefore never made it to the west terminal to come south, missed numerous connecting buses being late on the initial buses, waited more than 55 minutes for a bus that should come every fifteen minutes, called for HELP after waiting forty of those 55 minutes only to be told by the recording the next available operator will be on the line in twenty-nine minutes, witness in a single day, on a particular stop only a mile or so from the central terminal, on the northbound number 1 route, buses which are to be scheduled fifteen minutes apart, THREE come by at 3:07PM,  and later THREE more pass at 5:07PM, actually following one behind the other, so that when one stopped they all stopped, like a train, all over one hour late

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

the OTHER invisible hand is the taxi cab cabal has no interest in ever allowing public transportation in broward country to be efficient and on time and an appropriate and acceptable alternative

currently except for those with no particular place to go and all day to get there the BCT is a joke of a bus transportation system

just try and get around from the airport to tri-rail to downtown in any fashion or order and it will take an inordinate amount of time to go just those few miles

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

it will be another hobo shuttle, and of no use by either tourists nor business people nor students

the broward county bus system is the least professional mode of transportation I, for one, have ever experienced, and i see this WAVE as just another extension of an already disfunctional operation

no one with a scheduled job, or attending scheduled class, or going to a scheduled appointment, or traveling as a tourist on a time budget, or otherwise needing reliable and TIMELY transportation, can EVER rely on BCT,  it's just impossible, and this WAVE will probably be no different

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII topcommenter

@frankd4  Shhhhhhhhh. Suppose it comes out of the projected Dept. of Offense budget? Problem with that. How about if it comes out of Federal fuel tax fund?

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