Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - July 26, 2016
July 26, 2016 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #87

Lakewood Ranch Service Development Grant


Contact and/or Presenter Information

William Steele, Transit Division Manager, William.Steele@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621, x7440

Chad Butzow, Public Work Deputy Director, Chad.Butzow@mymanatee.org, (941) 708-7432

Action Requested
Authorize the Public Works Director to submit a formal written request to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to amend the Lakewood Ranch Service Development Grant scope of work for improved service frequency on the Cortez Rd/SR 684 corridor.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statutes 341; adopted Manatee County Ten-Year Transit Development Plan (TDP)

Background Discussion
  • In FY 2011, Manatee County was notified that FDOT selected Manatee County for Service Development Grant funding to establish new service for the Lakewood Ranch area of Manatee County, and this grant funding is programmed in the FDOT Five Year Work Program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The concern of County Administration and Public Works/Transit Division staff is that service to Lakewood Ranch is not justified at this time, due to limited ridership potential.
  • In January 2015, the County extended service along SR 70 in Manatee County to Lakewood Ranch and to the campus of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) located on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. This new transit service to Lakewood Ranch Boulevard is an extension of the existing MCAT Route 6 service, which operates along the Cortez Road corridor; and service now extends east from Desoto Station along SR 70 to Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. Unfortunately, that new Lakewood Ranch service extension has experienced very low ridership levels, especially along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and at the LECOM facility.
  • During the past several months, the Transit Division staff, utilizing analytical ridership and operational information, developed several potential service modifications. The intent of this effort is to optimize service delivery and, when possible, repurpose fixed route service hours to increase service frequency on "core network" routes; in particular, service along the Manatee Avenue/SR 64 and Cortez Road/SR 684 corridors.
  • Staff introduced the performance analytics and study approach for the Fixed Route Optimization and Restructuring effort, along with the objectives for the study, with the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in a Work Session on February 16, 2016.
  • Given the effort to optimize its existing fixed route transit services, staff would like to formally approach FDOT to discuss the potential reallocation of the FDOT grant funding programmed for Lakewood Ranch to a more transit-supportive route corridor, which will result in more ridership-productive transit service, while still conforming to MCAT's adopted in 2013 Transit Development Plan (TDP) Major Update. Specifically, Manatee County would like to prepare a formal request to FDOT that the Lakewood Ranch grant funding be reallocated to improve the service frequency on the Cortez Road/SR 684 corridor, between Coquina Beach and the Desoto Transit Station.
  • Staff is concerned that further investment in transit service to Lakewood Ranch is unwise at present and advised County Administration that a new scope of work for the FDOT grant should be considered. That new scope of work has been defined by staff as enhanced service frequency, from every 60-minutes to every 30-minutes for weekday service, on the Route 6/Cortez Road corridor between Coquina Beach and the Desoto Station. Community benefits provided through the proposed Route 6 enhancement include the following:
    1. The enhancement is consistent with the service implementation plan in the County's adopted 2013 Transit Development Plan (TDP)-Major Update. Route 6 is the fourth most ridership productive route corridor in the MCAT System.
    2. The Route 6 Cortez Road service enhancement creates a strong "core network" of MCAT fixed-route bus service comprised of 30-minute frequencies on US Highway 41, Manatee Avenue, and Cortez Road that will bolster system-wide ridership over time, and complement the 20-minute service frequency on the Gulf Drive corridor (i.e. the Anna Maria Island Trolley).
    3. Increased frequencies will facilitate travel to and from the Anna Maria Island (AMI) beach communities which continue to struggle with congestion related issues. Combined with the very ridership productive AMI Trolley service and improved service frequency on the Manatee Avenue/SR 64 corridor, the additional capacity along Cortez Road/SR 684 and connecting service to the beach areas will help facilitate travel and alleviate some of the traffic congestion on an already constrained beach corridor.
    4. The ridership productive Cortez Road/SR 684 corridor is identified by the County as a major "Urban Corridor." Therefore, the County is working on land development regulations to improve opportunities for infill, redevelopment, and development along specific "Urban Corridors" that will result in increased densities and mixed-use development patterns that are transit-supportive and pedestrian-friendly.
    5. These efforts to enhance transit service on the Cortez Road/SR 684 corridor are consistent with requests from the elected representatives of the Anna Maria Island beach communities, and a priority of the Sarasota-Manatee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
  • The local match for the service development grant would be reallocated from existing service using operational savings achieved through the Service Optimization Plan, as well as from funding available from the Southwest Transportation Improvement Fund (TIF). After the three-year service development grant fund period concludes, the TIF program completely funds the enhanced service along the Cortez Road/SR 684 corridor; reducing dependence on the County Budget for transit operations.
  • Staff recommends that the Board authorize the Manatee County Public Works Director to submit a formal request to the FDOT District Secretary requesting a change in the scope of service for the Lakewood Ranch Service Development Grant; and instead fund the improvement of service frequency on the Cortez Road/SR 684 corridor, operating between MCAT's Desoto Station and Coquina Beach.
  • If the BCC does not wish to request FDOT to authorize a change in scope of service, staff recommends the BCC send notice to FDOT of the intent NOT to enter into a Joint Participation Agreement for implementation of a Lakewood Ranch transit service at this time.

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Please forward a copy of the Board Action/Approval to Ryan Suarez, Transit Planning Division Manager, Ryan.Suarez@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621, x 7622.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  BCC Regular Meeting_LWR_Route 6 _072616 (2).pdf