South Florida Business Journal by Kevin Gale, Editor in Chief
Date: Monday, November 12, 2012, 10:05am EST – Last Modified: Monday, November 12, 2012, 10:37am EST
All Aboard Florida is proposing two locations in Fort Lauderdale for a station: One is arguably the best spot and the other could impact public safety.
The north option, outlined in an environmental impact study, would close Northwest Second Street, which the study notes is a local street, rather than a state of federal thoroughfare. The problem I see is the city’s main fire station is just west of the site on Second Street and would be blocked from direct access to the city’s downtown, which is to the east. (My father is a retired fire chief, so I tend to notice these types of things.)
Instead, emergency vehicles would have to circle up to Northwest Fourth Street or go down to Broward Boulevard, which is a nightmare during rush hours and backs up anytime a train comes through. There would, of course, be a lot more trains coming through the crossing once All Aboard becomes operational.
Integrating the station with Las Olas Riverfront makes a lot more sense if the goal is to have the stop close to the heart of the central business district and cultural attractions. Moreover, the study says one goal of the station is to revitalize the area south of the New River. Putting the station on the north shore seems logically better positioned to do that than putting it several blocks further north.
The northern end of the Riverfront station platform would be near Broward Boulevard, so there still might be a way to closely link the service to Broward Country Transit’s Central Terminal. Some of the maps of The Wave streetcar system also show it stopping at Las Olas Riverfront.
Another advantage of the Riverfront plan is that there would be one central platform, avoiding any confusion about which side of the tracks passengers should be on.