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VIDEO: What Should Be The Future Of The Pier?

The decision on the future of The Pier is out of voters hands, but residents and visitors have strong feelings about the iconic structure's fate.

What should be done with ?

Patch headed out to ask St. Pete residents and visitors from out of town what should be done with the iconic structure.

Red August 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Linda , the city council has opted out of being public servants. Instead the group has decided to govern as they just don't trust the ones that elected them. We voted them in ,so how good can our judgement be? The way things are going perhaps Gov. Scott will follow the lead of the other conservative Governors and just take away the vote altogether. His suppression IS a start. Don't you think so?
Dharma August 11, 2012 at 01:26 PM
It’s time for a drastic change, the past if over when governing big, medium or little over ran what the people want and need. it’s time for a change and I want to know how to get rid of those who have distanced themselves from the people’s needs and requests. We stand together not separate in two or three different groups. Us against them not them against us. As one of the council members said they were striving to make this the NY city of the south. If we wanted that we would live there. How do we get rid of these people now?
Jeannie Cline August 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Thanks for your continuing coverage of the Pier issue. Based on the efforts of the Vote on the Pier group thus far, I'm sure that they are working on another strategy to get this issue into the hands of the voters. I would like to see this pier integrated into a mass transit station with a municipal water taxi going to Tampa's Channelside area and a real streetcar on the lands' end portion of the pier, with the debris from the implosion of the approach bridge used to build out the land which will shorten the approach and walk to the restored pier. The City of St Pete has said that the Lens concept does not include any boat over 30 feet long. This in, yet another, example of the hijacking of the wishes of the people for their pier. Most I talk with are very intrigued and supportive of a water taxi and streetcar. Once again, everyone but the elected representatives on council and in other areas of local government.
Linda Hersey August 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM
There certainly seems to be popular support for finding a way to keep the existing Pier. There also seems to be more of a public conversation going on about the Pier's future than there has been in previous months.
Red August 11, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Dharma, If we can still vote when their term is up maybe new people can take their place. That's a BIG if. Look at the voter suppression that's going on right now.
Jack Sprat August 12, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Water taxi? Would you be willing to pay the actual cost of taking a water taxi to Tampa? Close to $25 each way? People say they want a better bus system or a real streetcar or even a train to Clearwater - but they would expect taxpayers to pay the majority of the cost. Is that fair? Less than 3% of the population uses the bus while 97% pay almost all of the costs - and those costs keep going up every year even though the number of riders is statistically flat.
Jeannie Cline August 12, 2012 at 02:35 PM
The idea is to integrate a water taxi service into the municipal lines like any major city does throughout the world. Buses are a whole different thing, nobody really likes them. There has been a tremendous leap in boat technologies so your figure of $25 per person is outdated. Streetcars have paid for themselves ahead of schedule and actually reduce the number of buses needed as they are on one central line. Comparing buses to aesthetic/tourist friendly transportation is apples to oranges. It's a qualitative thing, not quantitative.
Jack Sprat August 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM
It would be great if you are correct. Then a private company would be all over the opportunity and start providing service tomorrow because that is what private companies do - they provide goods and/or services at a profit, employing people. All "public" transportation in the world (except Hong Kong) is highly subsidized because private companies cannot make a profit providing the service. No matter how "qualitative" the mode, it is still paid for by taxpayers in an area like Tampa Bay - anywhere in FL for that matter - because our population density is insufficient to support an economically viable system. Here's a small scale proposal from Sarasota - the objective was to justify "Funding sources include federal and state grants that are available or potentially applicable to cover capital and operating assistance for water taxi service...." http://www.mympo.org/PDF/final_report2.pdf "Fares would likely cover no more than 50 percent of operating costs...." means that taxpayers are responsible for the other 50% (75% for PSTA) and ALL of the capital costs (we also pay for ALL PSTA capital costs). Public transportation is just another way to take money from people and give it to other people. What percentage of the population would ever use a water taxi? If totally used to capacity and operating 24/7, the maximum capacity might approach 1% and it would cost taxpayers (the other 99%) millions of dollars every year..
Jeannie Cline August 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Let them eat cake....right Mr Sprat? OMG, we are never going to get anywhere with your attitude that public transportation is a negative. Wow, let's keep subsidizing the oil industry and the roads (the most expensive public transportation system out there) have a nice day.....
Joshua Streeter August 12, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Vote on the Pier was and is totally unprofessional and cannot get anything done. It was run by a resident of Palm Harbor who wanted to put a roller coaster on the Pier. Total conflict of interest. The time to get involved was 3 years ago, when meetings started. This is a good reminder of why we should stay involved with what's happening in our city on an ongoing basis.
Jack Sprat August 12, 2012 at 06:55 PM
@Jeannie: You previous commented, "Buses are a whole different thing, nobody really likes them." Of course they don't "like" them - primarily because they are so inefficient. The riders love the price (which averages $1/ride) but they do not like the time it takes, the limited service that is available, the uncovered bus stops and on and on..... PSTA is wasting taxpayers money - almost $60 Million every year, projected to increase to $70 Million in 2016. PSTA is much like the WPA of years gone by: the average salary & benefits in 2016 will be $78,000 or 62% of operating costs, assuming the same number of employees since ridership is not increased substantially. Oil company subsidies? Oil companies earn a net profit of about $0.03 per gallon. Various local and federal taxes total about $0.53/gal in Florida. And those are tax dollars coming from everyone, every company, that buys gas. By the way, buses are much more expensive and much more polluting than automobiles. PSTA buses cost $0.63/passenger mile vs,. a national average of less than $0.20/mile for a typical automobile. Buses use 5,541 BTU/passenger mile compared to 3,437 for a car (i.e., 60% more). From http://www.psta.net/history.php : "Funding: Federal and State grants (22%); passenger fares (22%); advertising, miscellaneous revenues, and other (3%); and Ad Valorem taxes (53%)" 22+53 = 75% paid by taxpayers. That's operating costs. ALL capital costs (new buses, buildings, etc.) are paid for by taxpayers.
Jeannie Cline August 12, 2012 at 08:31 PM
$0.03 profit per gallon is pretty grand, considering the volume of gas sold every hour of the day, everyday of the year.....and, Mr Sprat, did you factor in the costs of road construction, maintenance, security and the countless gallons of gas we idle away in traffic jams? Agreed, PSTA is not efficient and they need to improve yet, let's not "throw the baby out with the bath water!" Have a great Sunday. I'm going to drive my car to the store right now!!!!!

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