Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes. Park-and-Ride lots are valuable transportation facilities and key features of a multi-modal transportation network. Express bus riders in South Florida typically need a convenient place to park their cars where they can access the bus. These facilities serve a broad range of use from being a small, simple place to park a few vehicles temporarily, to an upscale, grand multi-modal hub. Park-and-Ride facilities are mainly utilized by commuters as a convenient means in the pursuit of ridesharing, carpooling, vanpooling, bus, or rail transit in order to reach their commute destination. When considering the relatively low cost of implementing a Park-and-Ride facility, many communities have found it to be an attractive improvement option.
Providing multimodal options for travelers is a critical pillar in any efficient transportation system and especially beneficial in congested areas. Park-and-Ride facilities provide travelers with a place to park their motor vehicles and then transfer to other modes of travel such as transit, or in some cases, join a car or vanpool. With regard to overall commuter convenience, creating a network of well-placed Park-and-Ride facilities will offer many benefits for communities and transportation systems.
What analysis was done to determine the park and ride location at the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard interchange?
The need for park and ride lots is based on several factors. One of key factors used was commute origin and destination location of workers. According to LEHD 2015 data, 1,200 people live in the City of Weston who work in Downtown Miami. In all, 9,700 people live in Weston and work in Miami-Dade County.
Other locations were also considered within the City of Weston’s limits but were ultimately ranked lower than the location at the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard interchange because of their relatively high impact to existing land uses and access to I-75 to/from the locations.
An on-board survey of existing 95 and 595 Express bus riders utilizing the park and ride lots in Broward County was conducted in Spring 2019. Park and ride users drive long distances (up to 10 miles) to access the direct bus services to downtown Miami and Civic Center areas. The survey indicated that these riders are generally very satisfied with the quality of rides and services they are currently receiving. The survey also indicated that currently, several City of Weston residents drive to BB&T Center Park-and-Ride Lot and the park-and-ride lot CB Smith Park to access 595 and 95 Express bus service.
The project has been part of FDOT’s plan to improve mass transit service between western Broward County and locations surrounding the Miami International Airport. The 170 space park-and-ride at the city’s I-75 /Royal Palm Boulevard interchange would feature express bus service to the Inter-modal Center next to Miami International Airport where commuters would be able to connect to destinations using other forms of mass transit. Buses would take advantage of new express lanes on I-75, and there will also be spaces at the park-and-ride for people to carpool. The current plans call for eight (8) morning buses between 5:40 a.m. and 9:40 a.m., and eight returning buses leaving the airport center between 3:45 p.m. and 7:20 p.m.
The 75 Express Bus services commenced in January 2020, with service originating at BB and T Center in the City of Sunrise and Miami Garden Park-and-Ride Lot in the City of Miami Gardens. The current schedule and route can be found at broward.org/BCT/Schedules/Pages/default.aspx.
The Florida Department of Transportation evaluated traffic impacts of the Park and Ride Lot for AM peak hour, PM Peak hour, and off-peak hours. In 2040 under No-Build conditions, the intersection of Royal Palm Boulevard and I-75 southbound off-ramp will operate at Level of Service (LOS) E with an average delay of 71.8 seconds during AM peak hour. The intersection will operate at LOS B during PM peak hour. The 95th-percentile queue length on I-75 southbound off-ramp will be 705 feet and 349 feet during AM and PM peak hours, respectively.
With the proposed Park and Ride Lot, this intersection will operate at LOS E with an average delay of 74.9 seconds during AM peak hour and LOS D during PM peak hour.
The average delay will increase by 3.1 seconds compared to the No-Build Alternative during AM peak hour. The 95th-percentile queue length on I-75 southbound off-ramp will be 657 feet and 437 during AM and PM peak hour with the Park and Ride Lot in 2040, respectively. The length of the existing I-75 southbound off-ramp is 1,938 feet. The queue on I-75 southbound off-ramp will not extend to I-75 mainline.
The intersection of Royal Palm Boulevard and Weston Road will operate at LOS F during AM and PM peak hours for the No-Build Alternative in 2040. With the Park and Ride Lot, the intersection will operate at the same LOS with an additional delay of 3.0 seconds and 1.8 seconds during AM and PM peak hours, respectively. In summary, based on the operational analysis, with the proposed Park and Ride Lot, the queue on I-75 southbound off-ramp will not extend to I-75 mainline. The proposed Park and Ride Lot will not cause degradation in LOS on I-75 ramps, the ramp termini, and the adjacent intersection. District 4 will closely monitor the I-75 ramps and intersections operation conditions after the Park and Ride Lot is built. Improvement and modification will be made to the Park and Ride Lot if issues arise.
Simply put, impacts will be so minimal, that they will not be noticeable by most members of the general public.
Will the park and ride lot at the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard Interchange block the City entrance?
No. The park & ride lot will be located adjacent to the southbound ramp existing the City of Weston onto I-75. Additionally, the park & ride lot’s elevation will be similar to the exit ramp which is typically lower than the Royal Palm Blvd overpass. Therefore, the proposed park & ride lot will not block the entrance to the City.
How will buses entering the park and ride lot at the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard Interchange traverse the intersection and not impact traffic?
The proposed signal control will be a semi actuated signal. Therefore, the signal phase for bus to access will only be trigged by vehicles from I-75 southbound off ramp (through movement) or Royal Palm Boulevard westbound (left turn movement). This will cause minimal impact to intersection operation. In 2040 under No-Build conditions, the intersection of Royal Palm Boulevard and I-75 southbound off-ramp will operate at LOS E with an average delay of 71.8 seconds during AM peak hour. The intersection will operate at LOS B during PM peak hour. With the proposed Park and Ride Lot, this intersection will operate at LOS E with an average delay of 74.9 seconds during AM peak hour and LOS D during PM peak hour. The average delay will increase by 3.1 seconds compared to the No-Build Alternative during AM peak hour.
Even though currently, there is no Express bus service originating from the City of Weston, Weston residents drive north to BB&T Center Park and Ride Lot and west to CB Smith Park to access 595 and 95 Express bus services. The 2019 on-board survey shows 115 daily trips on 595 Express Bus from riders residing in Weston and another 30 daily trips on 95 Express Bus at CB Smith Park from riders residing in Weston.
While all FDOT-owned park and ride lots are available for use by the general traveling public, the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard Interchange park and ride would be especially beneficial to Weston residents who are looking for alternate modes of commuting to Miami in order to avoid hour long commutes and save costs in toll and parking. Express buses help provide additional capacity to the congested highways and alleviate traffic by avoiding drive alone automobile travel.
The project cost, based on FDOT Long Range Estimate (LRE) analysis is $12,178,871. The additional cost for wrong-way prevention will be another $150,000, resulting a total cost $12,328,871.
Were any public meetings held for the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard Interchange park and ride project?
A series of public meetings were held consistent with the I-75 managed lanes Project Development and Environmental (PD and E) study where information was collected and shared regarding the alternatives for implementing managed lanes on I-75 (including park and ride lot locations). The park-and-ride project information was also shared at a public workshop in March 2019 at City of Weston Branch Library.
Express buses travel in the express lanes and often times travel at speeds that are faster than the cars sitting in traffic in the general purpose lanes on heavily congested I-95, I-75 and Palmetto Expressway. Riders utilize their time in the Express bus (often times more than hour long commute by automobile) by either relaxing or doing productive work in the [free] Wi-Fi equipped buses. Riding the regional express buses also represent significant cost savings for most riders by avoiding wear and tear on their cars, purchasing gas, tolls and parking costs at their destination.
Over 95% of existing express bus riders own or have access to a car but choose to ride the express bus.
There are already park-and-ride lots in the City of Sunrise and Town of Davie. Can those be expanded?
The existing lots that serve express buses are very well utilized and the growing express bus demand warrants additional park-and-ride lots in southwest Broward County. To meet the growing demand for express bus service, Davie Park-and-Ride Lot was recently expanded by FDOT.
The lot in Sunrise has approximately 340 spaces designated for park and ride. But for most Weston residents who are commuting to Miami, driving to the Sunrise lot is not desirable as the lot is in the opposite direction from their destination.
The park-and-ride lot will be maintained by FDOT.
How will safety and security be addressed at the park and ride lot at the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard Interchange?
FDOT will install 911 call boxes, lighting and cameras at the new Park and Ride lot.
There are 8 express bus park and ride lots in Broward County. They are BB&T Center Park and Ride, Miramar Regional Park, C.B. Smith Park and Ride, Ansin Sports Complex, Davie Mobility Hub, Sheridan Street Park and Ride, Broward Blvd Park and Ride and North Perry Airport. They are all very well utilized. Over the last three years, vehicle counts conducted at these lot indicate 80+% utilization rate (observed vehicles over number of available spaces). In comparison, nationally, park and ride lots averages approximately 65%.
Why invest in the park-and-ride when Broward County Transit (BCT) ridership continues to decline despite the County’s growth as other superior options are available such as BCT own TOPS service as well as UBER, LYFT and RIDE SHARE?
While transit ridership in recent years has declined nationwide, Broward to Miami Express bus services and park and ride lots usage continues to grow. This has mainly to do with the commute challenges one faces while traveling from Broward to Miami. With growing congestion, these challenges are expected to increase. Park and rides form one part of the several solutions that FDOT is investigating to provide commute options other than driving alone.
Was the park and ride lot at the I-75 and Royal Palm Boulevard Interchange originally planned for Griffin Road?
No. The PD and E study completed in 2011 recommended five (5) separate park-and-ride lots along I-75 including both Griffin Road and Royal Palm Boulevard.