GETTING THERE: New transit center for Clearwater Beach

By Chuck Henson, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 3:16 PM EST

Crews are working hard to get the newest way on and off Clearwater Beach ready before spring break.

Next month, the Clearwater Beach Transit Center will open on State Road 60 just before the roundabout.

It's a big deal and something that Brad Miller, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s CEO, is very proud of.

"And what that will allow is for all of the trolleys that currently go from the mainland and let people not have to take their car to the greatest beach in the world, an option to get right to where all this action is," Miller said. "Right here on Clearwater Beach, rather than having the trolleys all just go to Island Estates and transfer."

The transit center will open just in time for PSTA to offer free rides to and from the beach during spring break, from one of two Park-n-Ride lots -- Harborview-Coachman and City Hall.

Trolleys at the transit center will have the ability to trigger a dedicated signal to exit the bus area in front of waiting traffic.

If everything goes as planned, the transit center could play a key role in getting people from Tampa International Airport to Clearwater Beach.

"We have thankfully received from the state DOT a million dollars already to design the dedicated lane across to Clearwater Beach," Miller said. "So, that design is underway right now at the Department of Transportation."

If the design works, another $20 million will go toward construction of a dedicated bypass lane across the Memorial Causeway.

Forward thinking like that has Jack Gibson of Island Estates excited about the future.

"That would make a big difference, absolutely," Gibson said. "Because people get confused about what's going on, so with the busses and the ferry coming over, people have a lot of options now, where they didn't have before."