Planning for Tomorrow
Alternatives Analysis Project Description
The City of Tallahassee is a medium-sized city with roughly 100 square miles of area and approximately 187,000 residents. Tallahassee’s major growth and development began in the post-World War II era and has continued through the following decades. Because of strictly enforced environmental regulations and vast conservation easements to the north, and the development patterns prevalent during this growth period, the city does not have a distinct urban/suburban characteristic of many cities. Tallahassee is also home to three major institutions of higher education. These institutions include two research universities, Florida State University (FSU) and Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU), and Tallahassee Community College (TCC), which is the local community college that primarily serves Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla Counties.
The City’s focus on the integration of land use and development with transportation to increase overall mobility resulted in the designation of the Multimodal Transportation District. This designation is a tool developed through a joint effort by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Community Affairs for jurisdictions to use to focus on multimodal mobility.
This study is focused within the Multimodal Transportation District, hereafter “the District,” which is an 18-square-mile section of Tallahassee encompassing the greater downtown area and the campuses of FSU, FAMU, and TCC, as well as a regional shopping mall. As the name implies, transportation improvements in the District are concentrated on active modes of transportation (bike, pedestrian, transit) including 80% of all traffic mitigation funds generated in the District.
Since the District was designated in 2009, the City of Tallahassee has installed more than 10 miles of sidewalk and dozens of transit shelters as well as adding bike lanes, multi-use paths, sharrows and other bicycle facilities. Additionally, new development in the District adheres to a community code that emphasizes higher densities and buildings located at the street with parking either structured or located in the rear. With so much effort already directed to active transportation and the intensification of land use in the densest area of Tallahassee, the District is the ideal study area for enhanced transit options (Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, Streetcar, or other modes). Transit has also been recently improved with 26 radial routes decentralized to 12 crosstown routes in July, 2011.
Within the District, two parallel highway facilities, US 90 (Tennessee Street locally) and SR 20 (Pensacola Street/Apalachee Parkway), run east and west between TCC on the western edge of the District and Magnolia Drive on the eastern boundary where there is a large public hospital and a major regional shop mall. The area between TCC and Magnolia Drive includes the downtown, FSU, high density student housing corridors, and the denser older neighborhoods immediately surrounding the downtown. East-west travel within the District along US 90, SR 20 and a few other parallel facilities is the dominant direction of travel and the focus for the first segment of fixed-guideway analysis.
StarMetro has long observed that the presence of a large student population, with different travel times than commuters and other users, does not mirror the travel peaks experienced by other cities, as the transit system is used more steadily throughout the day. With TCC on the western end of the District, FSU eastward near the downtown area and housing used by both between them, buses in the District are well used going eastbound and westbound at all times of the day.
The expectation is that an east-west enhanced transit mode would operate as a high-speed, high-frequency service running laterally with regular buses connecting longitudinally.
An Opportunity To Improve Public Transportation Together
StarMetro's “Alternatives Analysis” study is to determine if premium transit solutions would be feasible in the Tallahassee Multimodal Transportation District. Transit options like enhanced bus services, bus rapid transit, streetcars and light rail transit will be considered. On November 6, 2013 StarMetro hosted a Public Workshop. To view the presentation at this meeting, please view the presentation PDF.