Applauding Pending Death Of “The Wave” Streetcar




Fort Lauderdale Against The Wave (FLAW) is applauding the pending death after Tuesday’s election of the long-planned streetcar system, which is expected to cost $100s million.

Noting that all six candidates in the Fort Lauderdale commission and mayor’s election are against the streetcar, “no matter who wins the March 13 election, it appears that The Wave, as currently planned, is headed for termination,” states a news release from the organization, which gives no membership numbers.

Computerized illustration of The Wave project that was used to promote it.  



FLAW says “one of the viable alternative(s) appear to be electric buses, favored now by most cities over dated streetcar technology.  According to officials from (bus companies) Proterra, American Flyer and Gillig, among others, statistics indicate these buses would cost approximately $2 million each, and be produced within a two-year time frame.  In addition to obvious cost savings, routes can be easily changed to accommodate population shifts and needs,” a second statement from the group contends.

“Additionally, autonomous buses are expected to be available within approximately six to 10 years, around the same time WAVE is scheduled for competition — if construction even begins,” FLAW continues.

The number of Fort Lauderdale residents opposing The Wave have increased in recent months.

Envisioned decades ago when the downtown was less crowded, The Wave is still in planning stages, yet cost estimates have already skyrocketed by tens of millions of dollars. There is suspicions that the ridership projections are no more accurate than the original cost estimates.

In addition, residents now realize the project will take up traffic lanes on already overcrowded roads and that there are no money to complete the promised connections to the airport or other areas. Plus, WAVE supporters admit that operating the streetcar will require additional taxes.

The WAVE project was approved by the Broward County Commission, 5-4, and by the outgoing Fort Lauderdale City Commission, 3-2, a few months ago.   The operative word here is “outgoing.”

Below is the latest news release from FLAW:





With soon-to-be newly elected leadership, Fort Lauderdale can expect better mass transit than proposed Wave, an estimated $250-million, 2.8-mile streetcar project that has been in discussion for over 15 years.  There are several systems that will be faster, cost less, and have the necessary flexibility to community-servicing needs that don’t require tracks, cause the removal of hundreds of trees, and don’t require overhead wires.

The six candidates in the final run-off for mayor, and the district 2 and 4 City Commissioner seats reconfirmed their intention to overturn the current commission’s 3-2 vote to fund the Wave at a FLAW (Fort Lauderdale is Against the Wave)-sponsored symposium Wednesday, March 7, either in person or through submitted statements.  Consistent with prior debates and forums throughout the city during the past month, mayoral and district commissioner candidates cited excessive costs, dated streetcar engineering and technology, routing and other issues as well as the unpopularity of the project they discovered while campaigning.

FLAW has in paid newspaper advertisements encouraged termination or a public referendum before any further expenditures. The project is championed by developers and the city’s Downtown Development Authority but has never been voted on by the city’s residents themselves. Meanwhile it is generally admitted that the Wave will not actually alleviate traffic congestion but is really designed to be an economic development catalyst in the now very active Flagler Village neighborhood.

FLAW wants the best possible public transportation system for the city, and coordinated the March 7 symposium at the South Side Cultural Center to spotlight displays and feature speakers describing over 12 systems that can be activated years faster than the Wave (estimated to take six years to build) at dramatically lesser cost, with likelihood of much higher ridership, and with virtually no negative impact on the city infrastructure or aesthetics. Additionally, the alternative systems reviewed at the event mitigate concerns about the city and county being liable for the Wave’s inevitable cost overruns.

Besides the cost, technology and limited servicing issues, there has also been questioning of use of NW CRA funds diverted to the project in conflict to the intent of the funding.

With all six candidates reaffirming their opposition, no matter who wins the March 13 election, it appears that The Wave, as currently planned, is headed for termination. The six candidates endorsing termination assure a three-vote majority against funding after the election.  Across America, numerous cities are currently reassessing transportation options with the advent of lower cost/better technology systems, and the transportation industry is moving quickly towards autonomous vehicles. FLAW is encouraging immediate review of the many options available citing that The Wave planning has limited city provision of adequate mass transit for Fort Lauderdale for over 15 years.


6 Responses to “Applauding Pending Death Of “The Wave” Streetcar”

  1. A reader says:

    YES !!!!! Common sense prevails at last!

  2. Ha Ha Ha says:

    FLAW is exactly right. Autonomous buses are the future, and the sooner Broward starts building a countywide fleet of them the better.

  3. Bobbi says:

    Brilliantly written…BRAVO!

  4. DDA Old Men says:

    The old DDA members are stuck in a time warp as they still stick to an obsolete notiion that an electric fixed rail streetcar is the way to go. Time to sunset the DDA as they are no longer needed and should remind us of the danger of giving an unelected body the power to tax.

  5. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #2 is right.What i don.t understand if u can run a car basically on a battery( look at the Tesla car) then why can.t u accommodate(right size lithium batteries etc) to run the carts.No we get over head wires.Routes that go nowhere.We ad to the existence of more gridlock.Total waste if time.Over the past 5yrs.thats all was at these meetings( ft.lau) the Wave etc.Look at the money thats allready been spent is the real story here.Some of these elected officals just don.t listen to the resident’s.As u can see alot of them are not getting re-elected.Case in point look at Fl .lau.Congrats Dean.U won fair abd square.Yes, im early to the party.It would take an epiphany for Roberts to prevail..

  6. Stormwatch says:

    It should be elevated like the one in downtown Miami.