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Upcoming Meetings

Category Date Time Location
Town Hall
District 3
September 16, 2019 6:30 p.m. UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Orange County Extension
6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, FL 32812
Town Hall
District 5
October 3, 2019 6:30 p.m. Goldenrod Recreation Center / Goldenrod Park
4863 N. Goldenrod Road Winter Park, FL 32792
Town Hall
District 4
October 17, 2019 6:30 p.m. Renaissance Community Senior Center
3800 S Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando, FL 32829
Town Hall
District 6
November 19, 2019 6:30 p.m. Barnett Park Gymnasium
4801 W Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808
Town Hall
District 2
December 5, 2019 6:30 p.m. To Be Determined

For questions or additional information, please contact mayor@ocfl.net or 407-836-7370.

Past Meetings

August 21, 2019

Transportation

Town Hall Meeting

Lynx Central Station, LCS Room, 2nd Floor

455 N. Garland Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801

AUGUST 21, 2019

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  MAYOR DEMINGS:  All right.  Good evening to all of you.  Let me begin by saying thank you for coming to this very first Town Hall meeting.  Tonight we will be focusing on transportation.  Before I begin let me do a couple of things and have our elected officials be recognized.  

        My very own board of county commission, we have City Commissioner Mayra Uribe, Commissioner Emily Bonilla is here.  And do we have any of the other Orange County commissioners present at this time?  If you'll stand also, be recognized.  Okay.  

        And then we also have from the City of Maitland, Mayor McDonald.

  >> Standing as tall as I can.

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  We have Mayor Eddie Cole from city of Eatonville.  And we have the supervisor from the Soil and Water Board, Ms. Daisy Morales, and I have my very own wife who's here as well, congresswoman, Val Demings.  If I've omitted any other elected officials would you stand at this time.  Okay, then we'll move forward with our program.

        Prior to being elected as your mayor in Orange County I had the opportunity to do a lot of listening from many different citizens, as I attended meetings throughout the county.  There was 1,000 meetings I attended.  One thing I can tell you that I consistently heard from many of the citizens was concerns over traffic, congestion, transportation related issues.  

        And so, since I took office back in December of last year, I've decided that one of my top priorities would be to address the various issues that we've seen.  I heard about roadway congestion, challenges using the Lynx bus system to get to work, the need for an expanded SunRail service and pedestrian safety to just name a few, which is why we decided to have this very first Town Hall meeting here at the Lynx terminal, where every day average citizen would have an opportunity to engage in our transportation system by catching our public transit bus system.

        Today's transportation Town Hall is my effort to expand upon those early discussions that began in a broader community conversation about transportation solutions.  Our agenda this evening will be begin with a couple of brief educational presentations from some of our staff members.  First Ms. Carla Bell Johnson will come up and just give you a broad overview of some of the issues related to Orange County, specifically, and then you'll hear from the interim CEO for Lynx, Mr. Jim Harrison will come forward.  

        This is intended to provide you with some perspective on the state of our transportation system.  Then we'll proceed with our Town Hall.  This is where we will have interaction, dialogue between you and some of the staff here.  So, at this time I'm going to ask Ms. Carla Bell Johnson to come forward and she'll start with her presentation and then I'll come back in a few moments.

        MS. JOHNSON:  Thank you.  Good afternoon, to everyone and it is my pleasure to, as mayor Demings mentioned, give you a brief overview of Orange County's transportation system, in order to frame the more important conversation hearing from you about what you see is important.  

        Just to give you some perspective on Orange County, what is it.  We are a county with a population of about 1.3 million.  By population, we're about the 5th largest in the State of Florida.  And with a land area of nearly 1,000 square miles.  We include 13 municipalities.  So our cities and towns are certainly partners with us, as we talk about transportation.  And interesting statistic is that approximately 87% of our residents live here in the county and work in this county.  So obviously transportation is important.

        We enjoy as a county one of the lowest mileage rates in the State of Florida as you can see here on this slide.  We're at 4.4347, which is certainly an important component of our conversations going forward.  

        And so I want to start with giving you a broad overview of how transportation is currently funded in Orange County.  We basically have five primary funding sources.  Some of our traditional transportation funding sources are the gas tax.  That is the tax that we pay when we fill up our cars.  We have impact fees that are paid by developers to address some of the impacts that development has on our network.  There are some restricted sources, that we use that have a defined purpose and in this case that defined purpose relates to transportation programs.  

        And then of course we have property tax and sales tax which more recently have been used to supplement the traditional funding sources of gas tax and impact fees because those have not met the needs.  How is that transportation funding currently utilized?  I'll talk about some of our transportation program.  There's some primary components that I want to speak about this evening.  Roadways, being one.  Resurfacing because when we invest in infrastructure we have to maintain it and resurfacing is a component of that.  Then talk about traffic signals and intersection improvements.  Bicycle and pedestrian safety, street lighting and transit.  

        So our inventory of roadways in the county spans about 2,700 miles.  There are 2,700 miles of roadways that Orange County is responsible for.  Just to put into perspective the level of investment that we need to make in those roads as we increase capacity, it cost about $3 million in excess of $3 million per lane mile to build a roadway.  If you put that in the perspective of a four lane roadway which we may typically drive it costs more than $12 million per mile to build a four lane roadway.  

        In looking at our existing conditions, approximately one out of every four roadways is failing and that means that if you were giving it a letter grade in school, it would be receiving a F because it's operating above the capacity.  As I mentioned, we do have a maintenance program that is associated with those 2,700 miles.  And the most visible maintenance that you see would be the actual resurfacing or repaving of those roadways.  Right now we're doing that about once every 12 to 15 years.  That cost is about $175,000 per mile.  And when you look at our current program we are resurfacing about 185 miles of roadway just this past year.  

        But reality is we know that we need to increase the frequency of that resurfacing in order to keep up with the life span of the pavement and to avoid higher costs associated with the roads deteriorating.  When I say that I mean rather than looking at a 12 to 15 year cycle, we really need to be looking at something closer to 10 to 12 years.  And in that case that would result in our need to resurface about 270 miles in comparison to the 185 that we're able to do right now.  

        Now let's talk about traffic signals and intersection improvements.  One thing I want to make clear is first we have an expansive inventory, we have 585 existing traffic signals within the county.  The cost to install a new traffic signal is about $350,000 per traffic signal.  And related to that is the technology that goes along with all these signal systems being able to communicate.  Last year as an example installed 240 miles of fiber optic cable to support those signal systems and other communication.  

        The existing intersection improvement program was about 15 locations, this past budget.  One thing to point out when we talk about traffic congestion is many times we experience traffic congestion on the roadway but oftentimes the traffic congestion we experience is at the intersection because intersections themselves have certain amount of capacity and we know they are number of unmet needs relative to intersection capacity beyond just our roadway segments.

        Moving onto bicycle and pedestrian safety we know that is an important topic that we've heard about in the past from the community and certainly from our perspective.  Thinking about a sidewalk, that average sidewalk costs $264,000 per mile about to install.  We were able to install about eight miles of sidewalk last year.  We also know the importance of bicycle lanes and have installed those in some of our roadway corridors, and often hear about bicycle trails and we do have an existing trail system to the tune of about 46 miles of trail.  

        We have completed a bicycle pedestrian safety action plan that helps define some of those safety related needs and priorities based on accident data and we will be continuing to develop priorities moving forward for bicycle and pedestrian safety.                  Street lighting is also an important topic from a safety perspective that we want to touch on this evening.  We have a street lighting program that is associated with the major roadway corridors.  Our existing five year program which we are on the tail end of will ultimately result in about 85 miles being completed.  However we know there is an unmet need that exceeds 190 miles of unlit major corridors within our community.  So, from a safety perspective we know we have a need to meet those unmet needs.

        There are also additional lighting needs at intersections and crosswalks with a focus on pedestrian safety that we will be identifying.  And lastly I want to touch on transit.  Mass transit.  To paint the picture by current scenario Lynx is funded by the county, Mr. Harrison will be up to share more about Lynx.  Currently funded by the county utilizing property tax revenues.  So your property taxes we utilize to support the Lynx system.  

        We also know that SunRail operations in the near future will ultimately transfer from the Florida Department of Transportation to local governments in terms of our responsibility going forward.  And then there have been a number of other additional mass transit options that have been studied in the past and those studies have ultimately not resulted in implementation based on financial constraints.  

        So with that very brief overview on transportation I want to introduce Mr. Jim Harrison, interim CEO of Lynx who can talk more about Lynx.  

  MR. HARRISON:  Thank you, Carla, thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight and share a little about Lynx and talk about it.  And welcome, want to welcome everybody to the Lynx Central Station which this November will have been part of the downtown landscape for 15 years.  

        Lynx has really as an overarching goal, we want to deliver a seamless reliable consistent transit system that adds to quality of life of everyone in this community, and adds to economic viability of this community.  Lynx is creature of the state.  Lynx is set out in Florida statute as the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, serving the tri-county region of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties.  It serves over 2,500 square mile service area and population of over 2.1 million people.  

        Lynx does this by incorporating about 74 fixed routes and a number of more flexible routes that I will talk about again in a minute.  And all of that serves about 25 million trips each year.  You are all probably quite familiar with the Lynx fixed route service.  This is our 40 and 60 foot articulated buses that you see around town.  And Lynx runs these fixed route buses using a fleet of about 300 buses.  

        As an aside on this, I will note that Lynx is committed to being an environmentally sensitive and sustainable agency.  We are working to transition our fleet to compressed natural gas and electric.  About a third of our fleet has been converted thus far.  

        You may not be quite as familiar with the rest of our family of services.  Lynx operates the LYMMO bus system which is the circulator of downtown Orlando, that you see all the time.

We have our very successful and popular Vanpool program which is a car pooling program, that operates region wide.  We also provide road ranger service along I-4.  And we have our access Lynx program which is the door-to-door para transit service for those most in need and disadvantaged in our community, many that don't have the opportunity to access other services.  

        Let me tell you about who rides Lynx and who's using those, making 25 million trips I mentioned earlier.  Almost 60 percent of our riders, majority are employed full time, primarily in service industries.  Half of our riders use Lynx as their primary method to get to work.  Over 60% do not have access to a car.  So I'm not going to through each of these statistics but I wanted to share a quick overview with you here tonight.  

        These riders utilize the little over 4,300 bus stops that are region wide, about 75% of those are in Orange County.  About 1,100 of those bus stops currently have bus shelters.  One of the most important aspects of any useful and successful transit program is that it brings reliable, convenient and frequent service to the community.  

        One of the things that I hear most often about the Lynx service is that our -- about the schedules and the frequency of our routes and that's what you see on this slide here.  I want to share that with the room.  As you can see a large majority of our routes right now are running over 30, have more than 30 minute delay between buses.  And more than a 30 minute headway, if you will.  In fact over half of those are 60 minutes or more.  And of course none of our routes are currently operating 24 hours a day.          Let me talk about how Lynx is funded.  Like most agencies we have operating and capital budget.  I'll talk here about the operating budget that's what affects and is effected by local government funding.  Almost half of our operating revenue comes from the local governments, funding, the property tax funding, that Carla was mentioning earlier.  Another 17% comes from rider fares.  This is accordance with national averages, about what fair docks recovery is nationwide.  Another quarter comes from federal and state grants and the remainder come from flexible funding sources like our advertising, revenue from bus routes and contract services and that kind of thing.  

        Lynx has not had the opportunity to keep up with growth in the region over the years.  Carla mentioned the population region, you all know we live in one of the fastest growing regions in the nation.  This slide shows the snapshot of 2010 to 2016.  Our population increased 12%, at the same time the miles traveled and the miles served by Lynx only increased by about 1%.  So what I show on this slide is kind of a snapshot of how Lynx compares in terms of funding with other regional transit agencies across the state and across the nation.  

        The column in pink represents the dollars invested by the region in transit on a per person basis and as you can see Lynx ranks a little bit lower on this list than a number of other agencies.  With that, again, I would like to welcome everybody.  I will conclude my remarks and look forward to discussion.

Thank you.  

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  Okay.  Now, you've heard from Ms. Carla Bell Johnson and she gave a broad overview of Orange County government.  You heard from Mr. Jim Harrison who gave an update, a snapshot of how Lynx operates.  But before I go forward in the presentation let me just talk to you all.  How many of you by show of hands believes that we have traffic congestion in our area?  How many of you believe that we can do better?  Come up with some meaningful solutions to that.  I want to check here to see if we all are on the same sheet of music.  

        As we talk about Orange County is a large county, thousand square mile county and growing by a net of about 1,000 new residents each week.  The region is growing by a net of about 1,500 people each week.  On top of that, when we look at our roadway infrastructure system we have another 75 million tourists who come here.  And many of them are also driving on our roadways.  

        The good news in all of that is that we are a growing, driving community.  I believe the time is now for us to really adequately address the transportation challenges that we have.  We can only do that by planning for the change.  I don't know if all of you can see in the back there, but when we look at other metropolitan counties throughout Florida and even though right here in metro Orlando, Orange County's current state sales tax rate is 6%.  Local tax for the schools makes half a percent, makes it 6.5%.  When we look at Seminole County, our neighboring county, 7% already.  They also have a local tax for traffic surcharge.

Osceola, already 7.5, Broward, 7%, Hillsborough recently passed transportation initiative, 8.5%, Volusia, school infrastructure surtax as well on top of state tax, 6%, Palm Beach County, another urban county, Lake County, here in region, already have 7%.  

        When we talk about a charter county and regional transportation system surtax that is part of the conversation that I want to have with you tonight.  Because in terms of trying to come up with a solution, we have looked at various ways to try to address the challenges that we have.  And how will we fund this going forward?  One of the reasons why we have decided to explore the potential with you of a surcharge, transportation system surtax is because it's flexible.  Gives us the opportunity to pay for operation and maintenance expenses associated with things like perhaps the Lynx transit system or the SunRail transit system or others to be named in the future.  

        The other good thing about this tax, rather than increasing property taxes, the good thing about a sales tax is over 51% of the people who will pay the tax don't live here.  It's that 75 million group that I talked about who come here, who are traveling our roadways and contributing to some of the congestion that we have.  And we will be depending on them to help us look for a long term funding source.  

        The other thing about a sales tax is it would not apply to a central food, groceries, prescription drugs, utilities, etc.  None of that is included in the calculation for sales taxes.  Now, what's the next step?  Part of what we're doing here tonight is having -- we will here soon have a dialogue with you where we're going to seek input from you.  If we move forward with putting a sales tax initiative on the ballot, it will require a lot of community conversation and dialogue, a lot of community engagement.  Where we will have meetings, I would dare say hundreds of meetings like tonight in various places where we will engage our community in the decision making process that we will come forward with.  

        Then we'll have to develop a plan, a plan of action.  What can we perhaps use the revenues from a sales tax for?  I can kind of give you aspirational things about how we can perhaps use a sales tax.  For example, if we wanted to double the number of routes for Lynx, increase the convenience so that a broader number of people will ride the bus transit system that we have here.  You saw Mr. Harrison say the current budget is about $148 million in terms of operating budget, with little over 300 buses in the fleet.  If we wanted to reduce the wait time between buses, increase the capacity of our system, increase the locations where our members of this community could catch buses, let's say if we doubled it, we would be talking about $150 million expense on an annual basis.  

        Why do I say double it.  When we look at some communities around the country, for example, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, a county that is about 700 square miles, compared to Orange County at 1,000 square miles, has some 700 plus buses in its system.  More than double what we have here.  Their system, average wait time is 10 minutes.  Why?  Because they have increased routes, they have increased capacity.  It's more convenient for the riders there.  

        And since we're here at the Lynx terminal I know some of you maybe are Lynx bus riders and that might be important to you to get you closer to where you work, closer to where you shop, closer to where you live, closer to where you may go to the doctor, etc.  

        After the development of a plan, the next step would be to take that plan before the board of county commissioners.  My colleagues and I will have open conversation and dialogue in public settings about putting a tax on the ballot.  We then report back to you, after that dialogue in a public forum and if successful, the goal would be to put this on the ballot in November of 2020 during the general presidential election.  I'll talk more about this as we go forward tonight.

        What I'm going to do at this time is, we wanted to just frame the issues for you and the potential for what could happen if we had a dedicated funding source through a surtax.  It could potentially produce on annual basis revenue for some 630 plus million dollars.  If we wanted to take SunRail, that already exists in our community, the current SunRail system costs over $400 million to build.  It costs average of about $63 million on an annual basis to operate.  Not robust enough, not connected enough, so if we wanted spurs off SunRail, or something like SunRail, go into different geographical areas of our community, each one of those spurs would likely cost somewhere between 250 million, $400 million to build, very costly to do so.  

        I want you to think a little bit about if we do this, what it would mean to this community.  Potentially a game changer.  Decades from now, 40, 50 years from now, the type of system that we will build will be benefiting generations not yet born.  Individuals who are professional engineers, architects, construction managers, consultants, construction workers, would likely spend nearly a full work career working to see the infrastructure materialize over time.  

        So I'm going to turn it over to at this time to Ms. Jane Watrel.  She's going to moderate the program at this point.  This is where the dialogue occurs between you and the experts that we have in the room, where you can ask questions about the potential.  So, Jane Watrel.  

  MS. WATREL:  We're excited to get to this part of the Town Hall meeting.  This is where as the mayor said we can hear you from.  You heard the state of transportation in Orange County and now it's your chance to help us define what you want in this plan.  So we're pleased, we know you could be somewhere else, so pleased you took time out of your busy day to be here with us.  Go over the ground rules before we start taking comments and hearing your questions.  

        First, we ask you to talk no more than three minutes, we won't cut you off, we want to get to as many people as possible.  Next, this is a live broadcast.  We know you're passionate about transportation, but remember this is a family show.  And there's a microphone, if you haven't seen it right in center aisle.  We would like you to feel free to line up and stand behind it and then I will call on you.  

        We also have two people, if they could come forward with wireless microphones, right there.  In case you can't get to that microphone.  They will come to you.  So, as you give us your valuable input this is one thing I want to point out, there are some easels over there on the other side of the room.  And we've divided all the topics that you're going to bring up hopefully in six areas, public transportation, pedestrian and bike safety, roads, technology, traffic signals and street lights at intersections, and then the final one is other, if there's something we haven't covered.  We are going to be writing down your comments.  That's how important it is to our plan.  So, please come up and talk.  Many of you took a survey when you came in.  And I have some of the comments, cards that were filled out, from the survey.  We want to let the audience at home know that they can also fill out a survey, if they go to OCFL.NET/transportation survey.  If you didn't fill out one here, you can go home and fill one out, we ask you turn your survey in before you leave tonight.  

        And also, this is being broadcast live, hash tag, social media team here to take comments or questions from Twitter, hash tag OCFL Town Hall.

        So, I'm going to read a few of the comments and if someone wants to get up to the microphone, we'll start calling on people.  I know no one wants to be first.  Here's a few comments.  From Nicole.  Trying to make transportation successful for the blind and those in wheelchairs.  That's her comment and one of the things she would like to see.  

        From Joey.  He wants to know if there are plans to make the LYMMO one continuous route, so, that it's more rider friendly to out of town guests.  

        Jim, do you think you could talk about that?  

  MR. HARRISON:  Sure.

  MS. WATREL:  You want to stand up here and address it to our --

  MR. HARRISON:  Certainly.  Good evening, everyone.  LYMMO as I mentioned earlier the downtown circulator, has a number of stops, couple of different routes right now that are designed to provide service to a variety of businesses and variety of folks that need to travel downtown.  There's not any plans on the books right now to make it into one continuous loop.  That's certainly something we could evaluate, if that's --

  MS. WATREL:  Write that down.

  MR. HARRISON:  Yes.

  >> MS. WATREL:  The mayor asked for a show of hands, I'd like to take a show of hands, too.  How many take public transportation on a regular basis?  That's very impressive.  Thank you for taking the time.  

  How many use Lynx?  Good.  And SunRail?  Some of you use both.  Thank you.  Would somebody like to go up to the microphone, Gordon?  

        Ma'am, yes, please go to microphone, can you tell us, what's your experience been like and what challenges have you had, and where do you want to see improvements and we'll write down your comments.

  >> I like SunRail.  Wonderful and I like Lynx, too.  And we need train service, holidays, weekends and nighttime.  And I need to have this bus line on Country Club Road in Lake Mary, that goes from SunRail train to Seminole State College and we need to have it link it to another part of the Country Club Road to go to the Lake Mary prep school.  And we need the bus along Lake Mary road.  And need the bus and train service including holidays, weekends and nighttime, and to please close the gaps, so nobody don't have to sit in hot heat or cold weather or rain or anything like that.  And to have it every half hour, maybe even every 10 minutes, if God's willing, for every bus of the whole United States of Florida.

  MS. WATREL:  You want to see more integration, you want to see more buses running, you say that there's a lot of gaps.

  >> Yes.

  MS. WATREL:  Do you ride Orange County as well?  

  >> Yes.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> Thank you.  

  MS. WATREL:  I'm going to call on you, this is a Lynx rider and SunRail rider.

  >> So I'm also a Lynx rider and SunRail rider.  So, one of the problems is Lynx is not very well coordinated with SunRail.  They're run by two different agencies.  One is a state agency, another is a collection of local governments.  So when SunRail gets managed by our local governments, we need to do a much better job of coordinating bus service with rail service.  So, that's one thing.  

        I would also say the Lynx app has been a game changer.  I would not ride the Lynx if it was not for the Lynx app.

  MS. WATREL:  Positive.

  >> Huge positive.  So, the Lynx app, and I've also noticed most of the riders use it.  So that enables you to -- you can see where the buses are, and you can leave your house or office just in time to catch the bus.  Once you figured out how long it takes you to walk there.  That's a big plus that Lynx has implemented.          But for the most part I would say more frequent service, weekends and night service.  Another item which nobody has mentioned is that Orange County and Orlando leads the nation in pedestrian and cycling fatalities.  That's a horrible statistic for us to be No. 1 in.  So, lot more needs to be done about that.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  Get the microphone to you, you can't get up.  I want to ask how many people here use a vehicle as primary mode of transportation?  Good.  Want to hear from you.  So, ma'am, please step up to the microphone, what problems do you see with your commute and tell us about your challenges and where do you live?  

  >> I live on the east side of Orlando and this is my third time to County Commission in maybe the last three years to talk about the problems that we have on the east side.  Incredible opportunity that's been missed for transportation.  The UCF area, which is technically the young people that you're going to train to use the bus system.  We have problems with the bus stops.  Colonial Drive, which is a gateway to Orlando, the eastern gateway to Orlando, and now that NASA is going to -- the space program is going to explode, we're going to have a lot of people coming in through the east side of Orlando.  And, that is not -- it looks awful.  

  MS. WATREL:  Do you want more bus stops, can you --

  >> I am in favor of increasing the sales tax or whatever it is, the transportation fees that you're going to do.  But I need to see tangible commitments to improving the east side because it's been neglected.  Everything goes to the west, goes to tourists.  And I understand that they're the ATM of our community but at the same time people live here.  If you don't think that affects your pocketbook I can tell you, I've had my house appraised twice and that's the reason why I've showed up to the commission.  And I've had to fight and get second appraisals to get money out of my house, to send my kids to college.  So, it does affect your pocketbook.  

        And the quality of the trip, which Walter Goulash talked about, when I was in planning, is very important because you can have a 45 minute commute, but if it's a quality commute and pleasant it feels like half an hour.

  MS. WATREL:  You think if we got the transportation going more on the east side you'd have a less congested commute?  I see people nodding their head.  We'll get to that.  Thank you.

  >> Other thing is that people don't realize, we have a UCF campus downtown now that has taken all the wind out of the sails of the east side, and it's because there's poor transportation access.  And I would commend and I would tell you that your economic development should cost out economic impact of the UCF area.  When you think about it, there's like five higher institutions of education, Martin Marietta East and Research Park.  It's a Disney in economic impact.

  >> MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> That needs to be tested.  

  MS. WATREL:  Get some more comments.  Someone up front that can't make the microphone.  One of you two.

  >> I'd like to see, first of all, light rail system, like Miami they have metro rail or people mover system.  The people mover would be great for downtown and also the light rail would be great, as well as having the SunRail pass and Lynx pass integrated.  

  MS. WATREL:  That is a problem, you have to have two passes from two different modes of transportation?  So that's a fix that should happen.  That probably costs money, thank you.

  >> I'm resident of Maitland.  Thank you, Mr. Mayor.  I commute to Seminole County, I'm a teacher in Casselberry.  I'd like to be a SunRail rider, I'd like to be a cyclist.  But if you look, the facilities for both for me are inadequate.  If I wanted to come to -- I thank you for opportunity to speak early.  I got to catch a 7:30 train, otherwise waiting for three hours.  

        The biggest problem, what we have to decide what we want SunRail to be.  If it's a commuter train, our largest employers in Orlando are UCF, Universal and Disney, SunRail doesn't go near one of them.  We have 75 million tourists coming to Orlando every year, 45 million come to Orlando International Airport.  SunRail does not connect to that.  I know there's a plan where we can take our bus to the plane, that's great, as long as I leave on a weekday and come back on a weekday, if I want to leave on a weekend, no opportunity to do that.  

        I would love to ride my bike, but number of times I've been riding on bike lane that will disappear and put me out in traffic, I can lose count.  Orange Avenue is a prime example of this, right out here.  The number of times I've been riding along a bicycle lane and have someone parked on the inside and open up their door and I have to swerve in traffic.  Just recently a cyclist in Orlando down near the airport was killed while riding in a bicycle lane.  

        What we need is a plan to address what the people of Orlando need.  We need bicycle lanes that are protected where they won't have to worry about doors or traffic.  We need a rail system, that also connects east west so people from UCF can come into downtown and people living far out on west Colonial can come into downtown.

        My question would be, is Mr. Mayor, and people and leaders here, Osceola County just rejected a transportation tax by a 2 to 1 margin.  If funding isn't there, Orlando and Orange County still needs a plan, because we're going to have millions of more people coming in.  And our transportation system now is not suffice to what we have.  What's it going to do when we double our population?  Thank you very much.  

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  Let me speak to that quickly.  The reason why we have this dialogue is our approach is totally different from the manner in which Osceola approached its issue.  The Osceola Board of County Commission came up with a project this.  And then they put it on the ballot and then moved forward and tried to get the voters to vote for it.  

        So, what we're doing here is, rather than this be driven from the top down, this is going to be driven from you, the community, up.  We are listening, taking notes tonight.  This is a listening session.  We want to understand what it would take for you to support a transportation surtax type of solution.  In order to do that, we have to listen to you.  And our goal is to develop a spending plan, a project list where we would do so in consultation with our municipalities.  

        So we have several mayors here tonight.  We would work with those mayors and their city or town managers to ensure that we are taking into consideration their needs.  We're listening to you to make certain that if this passes, you will be paying the dollars but again, over half of the funds will be paid by visitors.  And so if we use a property tax solution we leave out that 50% or so of people who will be contributing from the sales tax.  We don't have those revenues.  Even today if we increase property taxes by a half million, it would generate about 7 to $2 million.  If it was a full mil, $144 million on an annual basis.  A half penny sales tax, again paid by over 50% by someone who doesn't live here, would produce about $630 million.

        In terms of developing that project list, that geographically would benefit those who may live in east Orange, and north Orange, south Orange or west Orange, it will have a spending plan that would benefit all geographical areas of our community, which is where you come in.  And that's why we're having this listening session here tonight.  As we move forward with these community meetings, we are taking your input, then we will cost out the potential project list and come up with a spending plan.  Okay.  Hopefully that makes sense to you.

  MS. WATREL:  I want you to take a look and see how many people, if you could keep comments succinct, tell us how you commute and what your thoughts are.

  >> If I have a little bit of time.  We have an ecosystem of problems that can only be solved by echosystem solutions.  Our problems in transportation cannot be seen as separate from problems in housing.  The way, the place that both of those connect is land use.  And one of the issues of land use we have a certain suburban zoning code that is not working in an urban area.  

        This code is called off-street parking requirements.  One of the reasons why so many people in Orange County need cars is because the way that we use land, stretches out the uses of land so much that we can't even get from point A to B without cars.  And not only that, but you also need to spend more on a transit system as well because of how disconnected and disjointed everything is.  

        Now, the off-street parking requirement is one problem.  I have a solution to -- ecosystem of solutions that can generate up to $100 million of revenue, decrease costs for people who live here and decrease costs of operations for the county.  

  MS. WATREL:  Can you meet with one of our people with that, because we have our CFO here and people like that, so, can you summarize where -- that's off-street parking --

  >> Three points.  First thing to do is remove off-street parking requirements.  Commissioner Uribe once brought up there's a safety issue in doing that.  The way to get around that, is to charge curbside pricing at exactly enough to guaranty one parking space for every eight parking spaces.  The second thing is eco passes.  Eco pass is a system like how UCF set up with Lynx in order to provide access for faculty and staff.  Go into detail later.  Those are the three things.  

  MS. WATREL:  Come here, meet with Randy Singh and give him, you can meet off.  Thank you.  Next.

  >> Aaron Powell, I teach at Valencia on the west campus and also president of the Orlando Bike Coalition.  So, with regards to Valencia, I want to remind students, faculty and staff of Valencia and UCF that classes are starting next week.  And also if they go to -- students or anyone goes to security office, you can get a sticker that allows you to ride the Lynx bus for free throughout the year.  And a lot of faculty, staff and students still don't know that.  We need to increase ridership as well to justify some of those.  And also because of the downtown campus, students, faculty and staff can get a SunRail pass for free which will allow people to ride SunRail up until, all the way through October.  Please take advantage of that.  

        Wearing Orlando Bike Coalition hat.  I want to echo what Gordon and another speaker said about protected and separated biking infrastructure.  We need to stop this idea that a painted line on John Young Parkway is going to do anything for a cyclist.  I would say that our 7 member board would be very much behind this potential tax increase if we can get some assurance that we're going to be putting some of that to trails, protected and separated biking infrastructure.  But the days of a white strip of paint on a four lane road is not going do it anymore.  And help us get us off that list of being less than desirable city to bike or walk.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  Next.

  >> I'm Donna.  I was born and raised here in Orange County, I've seen a lot of changes.  And I'm going to hold Mayor Demings to -- he said he wanted our input, wanted our involvement.  I have time and time again, I've been studying transportation for 20 plus years.  I've come up with other ways to fund it and improve it, nobody wants to listen to average citizen.

  MS. WATREL:  We do.

  >> That's why I'm telling you what I dealt with in the past.  What I've had in the past, which for the mayor I have left information back there, packet I've handed out.  Talks about transportation, talks about alternative ways to improve it.  In the past I have requested to present things but they wouldn't let the average person talk.  

        The other critical thing we have to talk about, you will never get transportation under control if you don't control the growth.  Growth management is a disaster in central Florida and especially in Orange County.

  >> MS. WATREL:  One of the points to put down is to look into growth.  Anything else?

  >> Yes.  And also because of mismanaged growth we have Lake Underhill and Goldenrod is a disaster.  They built a massive apartment complex, people can't even --

  MS. WATREL:  You made your point.

  >> Lake Underhill and Goldenrod is a mess.  Now people are coming out of a mega apartment complex, having to make a right turn and make a U-turn.  So much mismanagement.

  MS. WATREL:  To put down there, it would be under technology, traffic signals and street lights or roads, that's what you're talking about, would be your major concern.

  >> Yes.  Management and growth, got to get the growth under control or you'll never get control of transportation.  And then you've got to manage the transportation.  We have to focus on solutions, not political desires, not -- I don't think we needed to give Universal Studios $125 million for a road.

  MS. WATREL:  I appreciate that.  Thank you for giving your plan to our people so we can look at it.

  >> I hope somebody will contact me and talk to me about it.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> My name is Eric, I live near Florida Mall.  Thank you for doing this.  I'm originally from Denver, they have awesome light rail system all over the place.  I realize Orlando is not going to get there in this century.  Work on maybe more bike lanes, what people have been saying, and trails that are designated specifically for the bikes.  

        Definitely in favor of raising sales tax up to a penny, you were mentioning half a penny, I'll take a penny, whatever we need to do to get this fixed.  Part of the reason I moved out of Tampa is because they have no vision.  And those three counties there, they can't work together to save their lives.  

        I'm a ride share driver, full time ride share driver, for Uber and Lyft.  One of my biggest things I feel bad for my customers that are low income customers that work jobs like Walmart, fast food, etc.  Spending a 1/8 of their paycheck every day to take Uber and Lyft, because there's not sufficient buses that need to run late.  Weekends, I ask that you run Sunrail weekends.  I'm exited for Virgin Trains coming here.  Definitely get a train that goes from UCF to the west side of town.  

        And, also, I do like what Orlando downtown is doing on the weekends, where they have designated ride share pick up spots.  And one last thing for tolls, I'm not too fond of the idea of tolls on I-4, but if it's a fluctuating one where it actually, you know, like where it's going to help you go fast, I don't mind paying a higher price.  So we should do that on the 417, 408, 528.  To me it's senseless to pay a toll to be stuck in traffic.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  Wireless question in the back.

  >> For those who can see I have a black and white toy Chihuahua, he is my service dog.  He's trained, he will alert me to asthma as well.  The problem that I have is two-fold.  I am an access Lynx, and SunRail user.  Lynx has done wonderful thing here in the bus station by putting audio boxes by the bays for me to know when the next bus is coming.  Thank you.  I have been fighting for that for over seven years.  

        One of my problems I have is I use a wheelchair, and my cane.  With SunRail if I do not have the SunRail staff to assist me, I'm by myself with my dog, I cannot tell where the ramp is for the wheelchair because there is no tactile marking.  One of the things that I would love to see SunRail do, it's a minor thing, please say before the train stops, please allow people to get off the train before people get on.  Because with my wheelchair I have to wait on the conductor to put the ramp down or to use a lift, whichever they choose to do.  The problem is, I have to wait because everybody is going to pile on the train and I can't get off.  

  MS. WATREL:  Is that -- so, you say some good and some bad.  The good is that you're assisted, and the markings are good and the box is good, but the bad is maybe there needs to be more recognition for handicapped, correct.

  >> Yes.  Mayor Demings, you included, I am willing to take anybody on my adventures with me, so you guys can see first hand what myself and my dog go through.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  We'll make sure to get your name and contact information.  Go ahead.

  >> 20 years ago when I moved down here, they declared Pine Hills Road and Silver Star a failed road.  People in Pine Hills work together to stop the county from widening it.  And if they had widened it, would have killed Pine Hills.  So widening is not the answer.  What concerns me is the mayor must put priorities on where he's going to spend the money, before we're going to vote for it.  

  MS. WATREL:  Do you have a suggestion, that's what we're here to write them down.

  >> First, Pine Hills Trail has helped develop more for the community in Pine Hills, Golf Star and Silver Star.  The second thing is if we can improve our Lynx program and get more buses more often, we'll be able to change the urban quality of Pine Hills and all of Orange County.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> Hi.  Thank you.  I'm Vanessa from Organized Florida.  The people I represent are working class people.  A sales tax increase will be a heavy burden.  My proposal for Mr. Mayor and response to your question is, what are we doing to make sure that there's corporate investment?  It doesn't seem equitable or just that the people have to carry the cost, yet these corporations and theme parks make billions in revenue per quarter.  Is that a plan, something we can look into?  

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  That's a fair question.  Remember our corporations will pay the same sales tax as any individual will pay.  And so when you look at the absolute numbers, likely our largest corporations are going to pay significantly.  But I believe that we have pretty good support from our corporations here in the area that we'll see.

  >> There is a plan for corporations that generate, that are bringing tourists here and causing traffic.

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  Those same corporations do pay significantly in terms of the ad valorem taxes we have.  I believe if we look at using ad valorem taxes it will impact the low wage earners more disproportionately.  Why do I say that?  If you're renting and you're already rent stressed, and we move that to real estate property owners and we increase the property taxes, guess who they're going to pass that tax onto, directly to you.  

        I said earlier that over 50% of the revenues from the sales tax will be paid by people who aren't here.  In terms of solutions, many of the things that you're bringing up tonight is going to cost money in order to deal with it.  And yes, Orange County has a $4.4 billion budget and next year projected $4.7 billion.  When we look at that total budget about 53% of it goes towards public safety.  When we take out restricted types of revenue sources that we have here, total budget about 16% of it will be for public safety.  So we have litany of things that are on the potential project list.  We've already endeavored to engage in the community dialogue.  

        So in terms of is there a plan for, to deal with low income or low wage earners, yes.  I think that if we can solve transportation related issues, it does impact even housing in some ways, it creates jobs as a result of the tremendous construction projects and what-have-you that will be going forward in this community, will create opportunities for upward mobility, entrepreneur opportunities, even between higher education to trained individuals for some of the specialized more technical jobs that would be created.

        And so, I believe at some point we'll see a downturn in economy.  But this, if this tax passes, it will insulate us somewhat from that downturn in the economy and keep people working.  Regardless of their income level, keep them working.  So, hopefully that kind of responds to you in a broad way, I think, about how the tax would benefit you directly.  Perhaps, if you're a low wage earner.

  >> Thank you.

  MS. WATREL:  Mayor, we've got some Twitter questions, or some Twitter users wanted to hear exactly where the sales tax revenue would go?  What kind of transparency and oversight might be enabled?  

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  Let me do a couple things.  We hadn't introduced the county administrator, Mr. Byron Brooks is here in audience as well and Byron works to manage the overall county operations on a day-to-day basis.  In terms of oversight, we will obviously if these are public dollars, it would be very transparent because of public records policy here.  Everything will be accounted for.  We're subject to review and audit by the elected comptroller here, that is independent from the board of county commission.  

        And then we will look for, if there are recommendations that will come forward from these community conversations about advisory groups or the like, we will entertain all of that.  So some of this is not yet determined.  It will be determined based upon the input we get from citizens here in Orange County.  Byron, I don't know if you want to add anything.

  >> No.  

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  Thank you.  

  MS. WATREL:  Tell us where you live and what your concerns are.

  >> Thank you, mayor.  I live in east Orange County by UCF area.  Two concerns.  First concern, I have evidence, first concern is can you hear me.  A few of the buses going to downtown have mechanical issues.

  MS. WATREL:  They break down?  

  >> Yes.  Two days ago, time, approximately 5:25 p.m., 104 bus, bus number 813, Forsyth and Colonial, bus broke down, almost caught fire.  And that's a concern to me.  

  MS. WATREL:  That's the age of the fleet and maintenance of the fleet.  Jim, could you talk about that.  And how, you know, how, this could help the plan?  

  MR. HARRISON:  Certainly.  That's a very valid concern, very valid challenge.  These buses, obviously, don't run forever.  The Lynx fleet is increasingly aging.  We try to buy new buses as much as we can, as much as the agency can afford.  And keep them maintained as well as we can.  But certainly the challenges associated with an aging fleet, and a growing community, create issues exactly like this.  We appreciate your comment.

  >> But for the bus to almost catch on fire, there were about 30 people on the bus.

  MR. HARRISON:  Very bad situation.

  >> A concern to me.  I almost called Action 9 about this issue.  But I'm glad that I know that you're -- I can come to you now about this, I'll hold you accountable for these issues.  

  MR. HARRISON:  Fabulous.

  >> Hold mayor accountable as well, I know has nothing to do with it, but still.  He gives money to Lynx.  Lynx is supposed to fix the buses.

  MS. WATREL:  Did you miss work or what did this cause for you?  

  >> I missed a meeting, an important meeting.  It's a concern to me.  And second concern is this.  Having buses run past a certain time.  On the weekends, I tend to do temporary work with some of my other colleagues and buses don't run as often as I would like them to.  

  MS. WATREL:  We're writing that down.

  >> A few of the times, I missed the buses because the last bus would leave about 7:30, and I will get to the station about 10:30, have to call an Uber, which I hate them, have to call Uber from downtown.  Can you kind of -- if Mr. Jim can talk on the issue, see if we can get some more buses running past certain times.

  MR. HARRISON:  Certainly.  That's a very large part of why we're here tonight.  I discussed in my presentation that is a challenge region-wide.  As I mentioned the majority of our bus routes are -- they're more than a 30 minute delay between buses, wait time between buses.  Half of our routes are 60 minutes or more.  A challenge, that's a matter of funding.  More funding, you can run more frequently, run more buses.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> More funding so we can have more buses.

  MS. WATREL:  We've got your comment and thank you.  We've got your comment.

  >> Good evening.  I'm Teresa Patterson.  My concern has to do with disabled.  I have a son that's 22, on autism spectrum.  He's not able to cross streets, vision problems.  In my research to Lynx I'm being told that his fare would be over $4 each way.  What can I do to defray those costs?  And I heard that some students will be able to travel to and from college location, college venues at no cost.  So I wanted to know, what are my options for my son for door-to-door service?  

  MS. WATREL:  Somebody here.

  MR. HARRISON:  Certainly.  If you care to share your information, there will be a person at the back of the room there, a pregnant lady with her hand raised there, who can take your information and look into that.

  >> Thank you.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  Do you ride Lynx, do you commute by car?  

  >> I drive.  Lynx provides services for my mother who's handicapped and my son, I'm grateful for the services they provide.  No complaints.  In my case that's not why I'm here.  I'm not sure everything has to do with Lynx.

  MS. WATREL:  It doesn't.

  >> I have issues when I see pedestrian and bicycle safety, and I know the mayor knows me on this subject.  Why do we not have motorcycle safety awareness as well, with the amount of motorcycle riders we have in the state and losing so many of them.  It should be an inclusion.  

        Second point I wanted to make is, why aren't we cracking down on these tickets for the distracted driving.  If we crack down on that more than just speeding or whether they have a seat belt, I think the state will make more money and we can use that money for whatever we need.  But if we start cracking down, even though it's only $30, maybe that will give us more money.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> My name is Angel, I live in West Orange County, local businessman.  I have supported -- I've lived in Orange County for 30 years.  I supported three tax increases in 30 years, I supported both Orange County Public Schools half penny tax increase as well as half mil, actually four increases.  I supported those because I saw the return on investment, the value of having good schools.  Both of my children have been educated at Orange County Public Schools, I'm happy with the school system.  

        My youngest son is sophomore at Olympia high school.  Here's an opportunity for Lynx for transportation.  My sophomore is a -- my youngest son is a sophomore at Olympia high school in west Orange County.  He's eligible for a program known as dual enrollment.  As a junior he can start taking classes at Valencia, potentially graduate as a senior with dual degree, a college degree, an AA degree and a high school diploma.  However, Orange County Public Schools does not offer transportation to Valencia.  

        So, the decision that my wife and I had to make, should we buy him a car or how do we transport him from school to Valencia.  The cost of a car, buying a car, just the insurance alone is $3,000 a year, plus the vehicle.

  MS. WATREL:  Your question is?

  >> It's a silly question, I would be -- I could be persuaded to support a new tax if Lynx could provide some sort of opportunities for not only my son, other students.  Look at other students in west Orange County, Ocoee High School, West Orange, have opportunities to dual enrollment if they had transportation.  

  MS. WATREL:  If they do dual enrollment and they are a Valencia student, there maybe wiggle room there.  You heard the professor speak and say, but I understand, still logistics.

  >> Right.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> Good afternoon.  My name is Al Howard, I live in west Orange.  I'm a fairly new resident to Orange County, from a bigger city in another part of the country.  I'm here to speak to driving experience.  Not particularly on I-4, but on the side roads.  I'm fortunate enough, I'm a small businessman and I don't have to drive every day to commute.  Yet when I am in traffic, maybe a question why are the lights so long.

  >> MS. WATREL:  I'm hearing some agreement, we got a category for that.  Tell us, tell us about the problems caused with the street lights.  

  >> The city is obviously growing, county is obviously growing.  I would, as I said, I live by Disney in that area and no matter what time of the day, day or night, seems to be no engineer adjustment to how long you sit at a light.  I would hope that the county would spend the money now to actually look at the problem, study the problem, invite an engineering company or someone from the outside to study it, and to make the adjustment because it just, we spend a lot of time.  And as you back up at one light and the next light is not changing or it seems to just create bottlenecks.

  MS. WATREL:  Which street?  

  >> Sand Lake.  

  MS. WATREL:  I see.  Okay.

  >> I was in the other -- can't think of the name of the part of the town.

  >> MS. WATREL:  Apopka Vineland?  

  >> Near Eatonville area, same problems.  So seems to be like no attention to that or I don't know, maybe by design.  

  MS. WATREL:  We've written it down, thank you so much.  We have a question here up front.

  >> Well, I want to say, good job on the Lynx pass, it's easier for me to buy a bus pass in case I'm not able to get downtown before my bus pass expires.  Second, my husband and I are disabled.  He's legally blind and I've had one driver say it's a gray area for him to ask people to vacate the front seats.  And that's -- excuse my language, that's a line of bullshit.  

  MS. WATREL:  Family show.

  >> Sorry.  But --

  MS. WATREL:  You're saying you get on a bus and it's designated for you and people are sitting there?  

  >> Yes.

  MS. WATREL:  Bus driver will say please move but they won't move and the bus driver won't do anything?  

  >> Yes.  

  MS. WATREL:  That's a problem.

  >> Thank you.

  >> My name is RJ Mueller and I live on east side of the county by UCF.  I think strengthening Lynx will help, but people out east are mostly car commuters.  I want to know what infrastructure improvements will come from this tax for car commuters in east Orange County.  It echoes throughout our county but our roads in east Orange County are over capacity and there's no plan.  I'm behind this tax because I don't think there's anything else that will get us out of this.  

        But we have to know that attention will be on the east side and our problems will be addressed out there.  And lastly, I want to echo on the bike issues.  I'm a bike commuter, I'm a bike advocate and active in the community as well as the bike cycling community.  As Aaron said, the days of white lines on four lane roads are over.  Don't waste any more money on those, because no one uses them.  A bill protected bike lanes, and bike commuting can't just be done because a policy mandates it.  It has to be purposefully and thoughtfully laid out.  This area does not have a very good track record when it comes to bike and pet safety.  And I hope this tax can change that.  

  MS. WATREL:  Can you give us an area, you said that commuting is a nightmare, is it the lights, is it the crowded, could you give us something we could write down for you?  

  >> It's the number of cars on the road.  It's Highway 50 between Lake Pickett Road and 408 Expressway.  It was six lanes a few years ago and it's already over capacity.  Alafaya is the same way.  I live on Mcculloch, it's well over capacity.  23,000 cars a day going down that two-lane road, and that's way, way over capacity.  

  MS. WATREL:  Your issue is, let's get some of these cars off the roads, let's figure out how to do that.

  >> Like I said, Lynx will help, that's a long term solution, it's not the solution for car commuters.  We need some kind of infrastructure, plans to address these issues.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.

  >> Joe, I live on the east side.  I can feel his pain from living out in Waterford Lakes for last 20 years, I know where he's coming from.  I'm representing my hoteliers from downtown Orlando.  I'm director of sales of the resident center downtown.  There are billions of dollars in revenue and TDT revenue that we're familiar with that my colleagues hold onto and hold near and deer.  But I think if they utilize the transportation, a little better for out of town guests and coordinate it towards them, they'd be willing to give more of that TDT revenue.  I think it's working together with the hoteliers on that.  We got a downtown hotelier's meeting Monday, I'd love to get you out there, if we could.  I've been present for it, some of my colleagues in downtown area, such as with LYMMO, trying to get LYMMO to work for our out of town guests and generate some of that TDT revenue.  There's billions of dollars, we know it's our largest producer.  And I hope enough of it is going to it.  

        I can speak quickly about my hotel and the transportation issue with the LYMMOs.  I ride it, I'm always on there by myself and myself and usually a few transients.  You know, I recommend it to all my guests, from the time they come in till the time they leave.  And they just don't use it because of confusion getting on and off.

  MS. WATREL:  We're running out of time.  I see a couple people in line.  We will get your comments.  We must thank all of you for being here tonight.  And, Mayor, would you like to say one more thing and we would like to sign off and we will get everyone who's in line to get their comments.  

  MAYOR DEMINGS:  Let me say thank you again to all of you for being here.  This is likely the first of hundreds of meetings like this, that we will engage in throughout the county.  And we'll look at best practices.  I promise you we will come up with the solution that will work for the overwhelming majority of people in this community, whether you live east or west, and thank you again for being here.  Because we are televising this event, we have pretty sharp deadlines and we'll be here for you.  Encourage you to attend some of the future meetings.  They'll be all advertised.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you, everyone.  We done with the live portion.  We're still here.  So, sir, please, step up.

  >> Thank you.  My name is David Moran.  I'm a resident of the City of Orlando, I live in Orange County since 2005 and I've ridden the Lynx bus since 2011.  I'm currently a UCF student and it takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and 30 minutes one way to get from downtown Orlando to UCF.  Once the peak hours end, you start doing the hourly frequency on 104.  And so if you miss the bus because your class runs late or in the case I might be teaching, I have to stay at UCF another hour or so, so it's disappointing to me that the second largest university by enrollment has such a poorly served public transit connection.                  I also just wanted to bring up my concern around the bus rapid transit projects that are currently on the prioritized project list for Metro Plan, we have a really compelling bus route with transit project proposed for Colonial with an express bus that would get people from UCF to downtown quickly and also via east west connector for SunRail.  I don't think it is proposing a dedicated bus lane, but I really think it should.  So I wanted to challenge Orange County to look at these bus rapid transit proposals.  

        And finally I wanted to mention the Central Floridians for Public Transit, a new coalition we started.  We have groups like League of Women Voters Coalition, Ideas for Us, and Lighthouse Central Florida, and many other amazing organizations and community advocates that are getting together to push from a grass roots perspective, how we can truly change our transportation to be something that's transformative, not just the status quo.  And you can contact us at our website which is CFL for transit.org.  Thank you.  

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  Your big thing is a dedicated bus lane, we're writing that down.  Go ahead, sir.

  >> I'm a relative of William, for those who do not know him, he was the one who created the stop sign.  People forget one thing, you're supposed to stop for pedestrians.  And stop for emergency vehicles, that's been since 1870 since we had the horse and buggy.  People forget it.  For every cross road, I created a new stop sign, stop for pedestrians, simple, plain, takes 2 seconds, people, 10 seconds.  Yielding for pedestrians, they don't know what yield sign means any more.  

        And they come in different colors.  Stop for pedestrians, yellow, the original color of the stop sign.  Stop in white, but my organization, emergency response team, want to put these on every crosswalk which is not on an intersection.  In other words, Apopka Vineland, people pass through the crosswalk when pedestrians are in the walkway waiting to cross the road.  I met news, too, news channel, they were in the median.  Guess what I did, threw up emergency lights so they could pass through.  Emergency response team.  That policy as of today, no longer -- we're a public safety team to keep the people safe to all vehicles, especially pedestrians.

  MS. WATREL:  Your issue is that people are blowing through intersections and crosswalks and we're writing that down.  And you'd like to see a better, maybe markings or enforcement, but that's your transportation issue?  

  >> Stop for pedestrians stop sign, I can get these up.  These cost my team around 80 to $90 per sign, we can get these up in a matter of weeks with my team.  If the city and the county, even the State of Florida wants to invest in my signs, www.ERRT.US.

  MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  I know you've spoken before and tell us what your issue is.  There's still somebody behind you.

  >> I live in Orange County and some of the things that I deal with, not enough audible walk lights at --

  MS. WATREL:  Not enough audible walk lights, that make noise so you can cross?  

  >> Yes.  And also, needs to be more tactile markings in intersections.

  MS. WATREL:  What type?  

  >> Tactile.

  MS. WATREL:  Tactile, so you can touch them.

  >> Yes.  I'm an attorney here in town.  I wish to commend the mayor of Orange County as having this forum, easy to talk about problems, but harder to find solutions.  With that said, I have three things, I have a list, quick, three things.  One is integration with development, whether transit oriented development, bus stop or rail, or whatever, needs to be integrated with developmental, whether vertical, horizontal.  Integration of the use, whether bus or rail, with development, people work, live, play in community, sufficient access to transportation.  

        Second is congestion, artificially created.  That's a really easy problem to solve.  How many people have been here, driven down Orange Avenue, have an Uber driver stop the car and let everyone out.  There's an opportunity to educate the drivers, whether be Uber or Lyft driver.  This is where you should stop or this is where you should go.  You're creating a public safety issue, where you're having your passengers jump out of the car.          And third thing is, obviously, access of the rail system from east to west and obviously to airport.  I'm from Miami, I've been here two years, there's a whole another set of problems out there, you're glad you don't have here, but --

  MS. WATREL:  Extending them out.

  >> Absolutely.  Whether to airport or east west, people want to ride the train, especially younger demographic that's moved here.

  >> MS. WATREL:  Thank you.  I think that's everyone.  That wraps it up for us.  We appreciate it.  

END