The Wave Streetcar is Coming to the City of Fort Lauderdale
The need to invest in transit in downtown Fort Lauderdale first came to light in 2004, and the idea of a streetcar was born soon after. An environmental impacts study was undertaken, funding sources were identified and partnerships were built to transport the idea to reality. The construction of the Wave Streetcar is scheduled to begin in early 2018. For the latest information on the procurement process click here.
The Wave will serve downtown Fort Lauderdale, spanning the New River to connect the hospital and courthouse districts on the south side with the downtown business core and government, education, shopping, recreation and entertainment centers on the north side. The design of the 2.8-mile route was expanded in October 2015 to include a loop on the north end in Flagler Village to capture recent and future residential and retail development in that area. The addition of the loop, the extension to SW 18th Street on the south end to the streetcar’s operations/maintenance center and storage yard, the addition of more sophisticated train and traffic controls, the hurricane protection upgrades to the Operations Center and the refinement in design has brought the current budget to an estimated $195 million.
The Wave Streetcar will be powered by overhead electric lines, operate on embedded tracks in mixed traffic, and share the traffic lane with other vehicles. Once the system has been constructed and has completed testing, Broward County Transit will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the Wave Streetcar.
The partnering agencies are committed to the success of this project which will create jobs, encourage private investment, help direct growth to the urban core, connect points of interest, link to regional transit, increase foot traffic and serve as a catalyst to advance a regional transit system.
The Wave Streetcar brings a modern transit service to Downtown Fort Lauderdale and is part of a planned regional transportation system. It will integrate with a full spectrum of mobility options including rail, commuter and community buses, rideshare services, biking and walking. Extensions to other major destinations within the County are already being planned.
Modern streetcars operate on steel embedded tracks and are generally powered by overhead power lines. Typically mixed with automobile traffic, the streetcar acts as an urban circulator using the existing street system to navigate its travel. Many cities, such as Portland, Kansas City and Seattle, have successful modern streetcar systems in service. The streetcar differs from light rail in its smaller vehicle size and single-car operation.
- The Wave Streetcar brings a modern transit service to Downtown Fort Lauderdale and is the first project of a planned regional transportation system within Broward County.
- This streetcar transportation system will be a vital component of the overall transportation network and will create options that support mobility in the region.
- The Wave Streetcar is part of an integrated approach to public transit and will complement the full spectrum of mobility options including Brightline, Tri-Rail, Sun Trolley, buses, ride-share services, water taxi services, biking and walking.
- The Wave Streetcar has strong support from all the project partners, Federal, State, County, and City. The Broward MPO, DDA, and SFRTA also continue to be active and supportive partners in both project approach and funding.
- The Wave Streetcar supports and directs growth to the urban core of the County, where increased development intensity is not only permitted but planned and encouraged.
- Investment in the Wave Streetcar has helped spur major private investment in Downtown Fort Lauderdale with more than $3 billion of real estate development planned, approved, under construction or completed within the past five years. The system is already beginning to pay for itself through increases in property value and real estate investment.
- This first project phase will include the latest battery powered technology to allow the streetcar to go off wire for approximately ½ mile during the 3rd Avenue bridge crossing. The streetcars will have the capability to be upgraded as technology evolves and the system expands.
- Recent streetcar systems across the country have realized significantly more riders than projections originally predicted, which is anticipated for the Wave Streetcar as well.
- The project is scheduled to be awarded to a contractor in early 2018. There is a complete funding plan in place which includes an executed Federal TIGER grant and Federal Small Starts Grant.
- The Wave Streetcar project partners are excited to bring this new premium transportation service to South Florida.