Fed-Up Fort Lauderdale Residents Work To Block Streetcar System “The Wave”

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Fort Lauderdale residents who are protesting runaway development in the city have now taken aim at planned streetcar system The Wave.

An e-mail blast and a petition against the trolley have been circulated in the last few days.  The anti-streetcar forces calls The Wave a multi-million boondoggle which would add to the congestion downtown and fail to draw passengers.

Below is one e-mail from Cal Deal, a longtime Fort Lauderdale activist.  His e-mail was widely forwarded by others after it was distributed.

Deal’s e-mail indicates there will be a meeting on The Wave and its problems on June 5,  7 p.m. at the Savor Cinema.

The Wave has been promoted for years by the downtown business community and developers. Millions have been spent on planning the streetcar, but there is still no firm kick off date for construction.  It is now questionable when the millions that The Wave supporters counted on from Washington will be available…if ever.

Here is the e-mail:

 

Petitions are being circulated on the north side of Downtown to stop the Wave streetcar. Stan Eichelbaum, President of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Civic Association,  has sent me a summary of arguments being raised, as well as a copy of a petition that’s being circulated….. Also below is information about a June 5 meeting at the old Cinema Paradiso. It will focus on the Wave status.
 As much as I love the idea of a streetcar, I think the Wave will be a colossal waste of money. Imagine being outside for 20 minutes on a hot, rainy summer afternoon waiting for a streetcar — and dreaming that you could have been picked up at your door by Uber, which did not exist when the Wave was first proposed. 
 Streetcars have not done well in a number of cities…. One study refers to them as government subsidies for developers, because they tend to attract development and do little else.
A good argument against The Wave is the Sun Trolley, which is empty, or nearly so, virtually every time I see it. How many years have they had to build ridership?
We are being charged an annual tax to pay for the Wave and have been for years, yet they have not even broken ground on the rail system. That special assessment should be suspended by the Seiler/Roberts City Commission.
The Wave streetcar started with a lie. They told us it was needed because, among other things, gas would cost $10 a gallon by 2016. They told us the system would be running by 2016, and the Seiler/Roberts City Commission started collecting a special Wave tax. We’re still paying the tax, but they’re not shoveling. They told us it will reduce traffic congestion. Meanwhile, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that they will approve the big Whole Foods Market and 244 apartments for the intersection of super-busy Federal and 17th.
So much for alleviating traffic!
Cal
Scare tactic used by the DDA to push the Wave
warns of $10-a-gallon gasoline … by 2016!
 

Wave status Via Stan Eichelbaum, President, Downtown FTL Civic Association:
There has been considerable negative commenting about The Wave in all meetings. Reality is there hasn’t been a single person commenting favorably about it. Comments center on…
·         Assessments for multi years even though delayed implementing
·         Recent article that it will not alleviate traffic congestion
·         Recent negative publicity and low ridership of new programs in Cincinnati and Virginia Beach
·         Closing of the 3rd Avenue bridge (estimated at 4-10 months) partly for adaption to The Wave needs while monster development schedule is being staged
·         Is The Wave right for Fort Lauderdale’s tight grid
·         Projected as Millennial livability feature, but Millennial’s are describing it as dated and not desirable in age of Uber and soon advent of Pod single destination systems. Flagler Village is likely finding negative majorities to it.
·         City has monster infrastructure fiscal shortfalls. Capital more needed for those issues
·         City has not enforced downtown traffic issues in past years…why faith in The Wave implementation
·         The Wave was pushed as development catalyst for downtown housing. Not having it has not encumbered the monster growth spurt currently being experienced
·         Petitions have started circulating in several buildings. Over 100 signature in two buildings already, post snowbird exit
·         Life safety response is a major concern in the downtown. Construction of The Wave combined with construction staging of 10 to 12 proposed new towers, the proposed two lane-ing of the Las Olas commercial district, the increased train passes with the advent of Brightline furthers concern of what already is an excessive average time for life safety response (recommended under 5 minutes…city reportedly is over 8 minutes now). Obviously like response time concern post construction.


15 Responses to “Fed-Up Fort Lauderdale Residents Work To Block Streetcar System “The Wave””

  1. Sam The Sham says:

    Doesn’t a tracked tram that takes years to plan, tear up roads, have a fixed, unchangeable route and cost million$ sound better than a rubber tired, flexible route trolley that you could have start next week for very little money?

  2. Lane Diet says:

    The reason behind the wave is to have a fixed transit system so that developers can construct high rise building along the route without having to build parking. Banks won’t make loans on projects without parking unless they are on a transit route that can’t be moved.
    What will happen is that people will move in those units and still not give up thieir cars, and those new residents will be parking on our swales and streets.
    The public no longer supports the wave and I think that Commissionr Trantalis will get the commissioners to put it on the ballot and put the project on hold until the March elections.
    By the way, our streets do not support all of the new units that are being approved and our sewers were not built to handle the new growth either.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Absolutely true that The Wave was designed solely so that developers can construct more high rise buildings!!!!

  3. Marie "Miss Peaches" Huntley says:

    The Home Beautiful Park Civic Association is asking the City of Fort Lauderdale to conduct a formal equity analysis of all City sponsored transit initiatives. Most especially in segments where CRA funds are merged with FTA funds.
    We believe that the current and proposed schemes of funding for both the CRA sponsored WAVE Loop project and the TMA Sun Trolley services have created, and will perpetuate disparate benefits and burdens to neighbors residing within the Northwest CRA. While all properties of the NW CRA are being assessed on an equitable basis, the funds allocated for local and premium transit do not appear to be invested equitably. Those most fragile, are effectively subsidizing transit for those more affluent.

    We do not believe that the CRA Board of Commissioners had the legal authority to encumber the CRA Redevelopment Trust Fund with a $7.5 million debt to fund 100% of the WAVE Loop Expansion, and that the existing NEPA equity analysis for this investment is both shallow and faulty. The approved and adopted CRA Redevelopment Plan contained no language that suggested the CRA would invest in mass transit of any type. Public input on the plan amendment supporting the project was not taken until after the debt was incurred.

    Then, without taking any additional public input, the WAVE’s Environmental consultant declared that the WAVE Loop would provide a positive impact stating: “the low-income population will be provided greater access to the Wave Streetcar system and connectivity to destinations and employment opportunities along the alignment.”

    We further understand these funds were suddenly and desperately needed to ameliorate a budget shortfall in the initial WAVE project. Members of the WAVE consulting team reported that this “betterment” would build confidence in the overall project at a Federal level. If betterments were needed, why was the community not substantially consulted?
    Those of us living west of the tracks are hard pressed to see how these investment of our Trust Funds will benefit us, or how they are justified as a meaningful and equitable means of removing slum and blight from our neighborhoods. We see that the WAVE Loop will conveniently pass by a number of properties owned and operated by insiders serving as TMA, DDA, and CRA Advisory Board Members. We see those same insiders moving to reduce trolley coverage, charge us fares intended to discourage our ridership, while requiring us to subsidize premium transit that will now offer front-door service to their properties. We see those same insiders moving to grow their franchise “wherever the WAVE goes”. We say enough is enough and call upon the City to perform an open and interactive equity analysis as required under Title VI.

  4. Tired of It says:

    All of you bellyaching zero old hippies with complaints about traffic, go move north to live with your uncle daddy relatives in nowhere land. Get your sticky hands out of my pocket and leave us the hell alone to make a living. Broward is going to grow with or without you. Take your love beads and ponchos, your selfish small minded arguments, and get the hell out.

  5. Chaz Stevens says:

    @3. Excellent response. Excellent.

    I’d personally have added “in summation, hey Seiler go blow a donkey.”

    But I’m just classy like that.

  6. Charles King says:

    So fresh off their big loss on opposing the airport runway this bunch what to stop The Wave now? What will they be protesting next Whole Foods and sidewalks?

  7. rightwing says:

    fort Lauderdale likes to promote itself as some chic, hip pseudo modern urban center.if the wave is rammed thru (like the courthouse), it will be a traffic nightmare. if you work in downtown ftl currently, and you think you’re on time or ahead of schedule for work think again. any of the 3 bridges are likely to go up as the boat captains guide their pleasure crafts down the new river. and eventually youll have to deal with a 100 car, slow moving fec freight train. you can text ALL your friends while you wait that out. thankfully i’ll be retiring soon. best of luck to the rest of you.

  8. A reader says:

    Congratulations to all who are exercising their right to free speech to express their opinions about the WAVE.

    FYI
    There is an election in 2018 for seats on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. One candidate for the seat in District 4 has thousands and thousands of dollars in donations from builders who have helped to create high density projects. Those projects have been built with no regard for a crumbling water and waste water system. Andrews Avenue between Sunrise and the Andrews Ave. bridge resembles a cow path.

    People who live in District 4 in Fort Lauderdale, vote for whomever you want to represent you, but choose carefully if you are tired of the same old same old group of people affecting your quality of life negatively.

  9. Multiverse says:

    I happen to think The Wave is a fantastic project. Growth is inevitable and anything that gets cars off the road is a positive.

  10. Kim O'Steen says:

    I’m picturing hundreds if not thousands of people driving toward Downtown from points west, looking for a place to park their cars, standing outside while they wait for a street car so they can pay $3-$5 to ride the last few blocks in to work.

    Now picture cables strung above the streets with hurricane force winds, and tracks filled with water.

    A fleet of Trollies would make so much more sense, if they were more dependable, and trackable, as their App was designed. Put some on a clockwise and others on a counter clockwise route.

    I’ve had Family in town who wanted to use them, but the App didn’t work, and they were not the least bit user friendly.

    We need to inject a little common sense into this situation.

  11. Alex says:

    Will still need a car to get to the beach. No one will ride this thing.

  12. FTL TIRED says:

    You’re looking for that special assessment should be suspended by the Seiler/Roberts City Commission? LOL Don’t hold your breath. Seiler never met a tax he didn’t like/

  13. AJ Anderson says:

    Projects, like the Wave, that directly effect the quality of life and the livelihood of (especially property tax paying)citizens, must be passed by a citizen’s “referendum vote”.

    It is clear that tax paying citizens would not have allowed the WAVE project as just one example of several. All Aboard Florida to run through the middle of town is a disastrous project. It would be a bad idea on the western rail, but not as bad as it is through town.

    A petition for “referendum voting” must be a priority to help solve these misdirected decisions by a small group of government people who would otherwise not be highly employed.

  14. just saying says:

    @9 Multiverse

    Is that you Ann Castro?

  15. Dear #8 says:

    Take a look at a Bruce Roberts donor list, every major developer around. His campaign is run by a developer favorite lobbyist Judy Stern.

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