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Sunrail: Redefining Orlando

New rail transit systems historically have offered communities a host of new growth management opportunities - from creating pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented housing near station stops to redeveloping struggling commercial and retail areas. Scheduled to begin operation in 2014, Central Florida's SunRail is no different. With Jacksonville's train still sitting in the station, Metro Jacksonville shares the community vision of redevelopment around Sunrail's phase one stations.

Published October 26, 2012 in Transit      21 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

From DeLand to Poinciana, local communities and local elected officials have a tremendous opportunity to redefine their growth destinies by offering residents a new transportation alternative to the automobile. In 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation facilitated an update of the 2007 TOD Sketchbook, which provided a community vision of redevelopment around SunRail station stops.

Sunrail System Map



Sunrail Educational Video


DeBary


Sanford


Lake Mary


Longwood


Altamonte Springs


Maitland


Winter Park


Florida Hospital


Lynx Central Station


Church Street Station


Orlando Amtrak Station


Sand Lake Road



About Commuter Rail

Commuter rail transit (CRT) uses steel-wheeled technology similar to a traditional train and is generally powered by a diesel locomotive. Existing CSXT railroad tracks will be utilized for SunRail's planned route. SunRail trains will consist of 1-3 cars, in addition to a locomotive, and can carry about 150 seated passengers per car. Maximum operating speed is generally between 65-79 mph.


Sunrail passenger car under construction


About Sunrail

SunRail proposes to use existing railroad tracks as its main artery. This route would consist of 61 miles of service to DeLand, through Orlando and downtown Kissimmee to Poinciana. Phase 1 is 31-miles and will connect DeBary to Sand Lake Road in Orange County. SunRail trains will operate every 30-minutes during "peak" morning (5:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.) and afternoon (3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.) rush hours; and at two-hour intervals during non-peak hours.

Information courtesy of http://www.sunrail.com/














21 Comments

If_I_Loved_you

October 26, 2012, 08:37:21 AM
I enjoyed reading this very much and watching the video good job MetroJacksonville. :)

JeffreyS

October 26, 2012, 08:54:01 AM
These are going to be the hot areas of Orlando real estate over the next decade.  They have defined their growth patterns and style not just leaving it to chance. 

Tacachale

October 26, 2012, 10:23:02 AM
A good move, but we'll see how well it really works out. This is Orlando after all.

thelakelander

October 26, 2012, 11:13:59 AM
So far so good.  Winter Park, downtown Orlando are already destinations and the two hospitals are major employment centers that can significantly increase their density because of the rail line.  I'm really excited to witness the transformation of Urban Orlando over the next five years.  Since the State owns the rail line, it would be nice if they considered adding a multi-use path along this corridor.  This would enhance connectivity to neighborhoods and destinations that may not be adjacent to rail stations.  Also, extending Sunrail to the airport and AAF would provide a major boost to ridership.

Bridges

October 26, 2012, 12:49:15 PM
My jealousy! It burns!

Adam W

October 26, 2012, 01:07:47 PM
So far so good.  Winter Park, downtown Orlando are already destinations and the two hospitals are major employment centers that can significantly increase their density because of the rail line.  I'm really excited to witness the transformation of Urban Orlando over the next five years.  Since the State owns the rail line, it would be nice if they considered adding a multi-use path along this corridor.  This would enhance connectivity to neighborhoods and destinations that may not be adjacent to rail stations.  Also, extending Sunrail to the airport and AAF would provide a major boost to ridership.

What is a multi-use path?

thelakelander

October 26, 2012, 01:40:38 PM
A paved path for bicycles and pedestrians.

Adam W

October 26, 2012, 01:51:42 PM
Thanks!

JeffreyS

October 26, 2012, 03:48:37 PM
My jealousy! It burns!

I'm with ya.

JayBird

October 26, 2012, 10:34:44 PM
Great article, so jealous that O-Town is once again getting the good stuff first!  However, I do have one question for Ock or Lake or any other of our knowledgeable rail people here ... I noticed reading the JTA report on Commuter Rail, it proposed rail headways at 30/60min for peak/off-peak service on all three lines and 15/30 on the northern enhanced line.  SunRail, which I would assume has a greater density and would have tourists to contribute to day rides is proposing 30/120 headways.  So are they not planning for tourists and grandma going to bingo or is JTA trying to get more than what we need?

thelakelander

September 13, 2013, 05:15:57 PM
I'm just getting back to Jax after attending the American Planning Association's statewide conference, which was held in Orlando.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to tour Sunrail construction sites.  The first phase of the 61-mile commuter rail line is scheduled to begin operations in May 2014.  Here are a few images from yesterday.



The existing Amtrak station in Winter Park is being rebuilt to accommodate both Amtrak and Sunrail.




Sunrail platforms under construction at the Orlando Amtrak Station, just south of downtown.




A glimpse of LYMMO BRT crossing tracks with Sunrail's Orlando Central Station's (downtown) platform under construction in the back ground.




Look hard and you can see an Amtrak train passing by on the tracks that Sunrail will run on.  Transfering between bus and rail should be pretty simple at this station.




The Church Street station platform under construction in downtown Orlando.




An Amtrak train passes through Sunrail's Florida Hospital Station.  Florida Hospital is one of the region's largest employers and they are in the middle of turning their entire campus into a mixed-use TOD district called "Health Village". 




Florida Hospital is building a new administration office tower at their station.  The first two floors will contain several shops and restaurants.  Across the street (yellow crane), construction has recently broken ground on a medical highrise.




Florida Hospital's station under construction with the downtown Orlando skyline in the background.

thelakelander

September 13, 2013, 05:18:05 PM
Don't get any ideas JTA ;).. but we toured the project on a bus wrapped to resemble a Sunrail train.

Jason

September 16, 2013, 05:01:31 PM
Thanks for the images Lake.  I have some I need to share as well.

The station platforms are "no frills" and pretty simple.  Just the way we should be implementing our systems (if they ever happen)....

Ocklawaha

September 16, 2013, 09:56:49 PM
...But it won't make money!

thelakelander

January 22, 2014, 10:49:47 PM
Time flies.  April's start up date is coming pretty fast:









More pics here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1020951&page=29

spuwho

January 22, 2014, 11:00:56 PM
Flew out of Sanford over the holidays. Saw the Lake Mary Station work. Looking forward to taking a ride.

Tacachale

January 22, 2014, 11:04:15 PM
It will be interested to see how this pans out. A lot of folks I've talked to in Orlando are skeptical - not necessarily of the overall concept, but because of the layout and where some of the stations have been put. Orlando doesn't have a great record with transportation planning. But best of luck to them, I hope it works out and eventually we see well-designed rail in Jax in the future.

spuwho

January 22, 2014, 11:08:02 PM
It will be interested to see how this pans out. A lot of folks I've talked to in Orlando are skeptical - not necessarily of the overall concept, but because of the layout and where some of the stations have been put. Orlando doesn't have a great record with transportation planning. But best of luck to them, I hope it works out and eventually we see well-designed rail in Jax in the future.

I would say come back in 20-30 years and see how much TOD Orlando was able to zone around the stations. At least its built. Meanwhile we still sit on our hands waiting for the second coming of Henry Flagler.

prahaboheme

May 14, 2014, 03:00:26 PM
SunRail ridership tops 95,000 during first nine days

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/sunrail/os-sunrail-ridership-numbers-20140514,0,143813.story

"SunRail has carried more than 95,000 passengers through Metro Orlando during its first nine days of operations.

No one paid for the rides, which remain free through Friday. The base one-way fare of $2 goes into effect Monday.

The $1.2 billion commuter train has averaged more than 10,500 riders a day, more than double the 4,300 SunRail officials had anticipated."

thelakelander

June 23, 2014, 04:10:01 PM
Infill TOD around Sunrail's Florida Hospital station, as of a week ago:





spuwho

June 23, 2014, 06:12:11 PM
There may be infill on the inside, but this came out today which I take as the voice of the commercial development crowd. I find it difficult to imagine Orlando having a real estate problem.

Per the Orlando Business Journal:

C. Fla.’s looming office dilemma: How a lack of big spaces could keep us from growing the local economy

http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/print-edition/2014/06/20/c-fla-s-looming-office-dilemma-how-a-lack-of-big.html

Central Florida has a real estate problem on the horizon — but if we act now, we may be able to head it off.

We don’t have enough large, modern contiguous office spaces available with plenty of amenities to lure major companies looking to relocate. And that means we’re missing out on opportunities to snag “corporate immigrants,” who would bring high-wage jobs and an economic boost.

In fact, the region earlier this year lost a potential deal when Cancer Centers of America moved from Schaumburg, Ill., to a 75,000-square-foot facility in Boca Raton.

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