The NIMBYs have an opinion about Tri-Rail, and it’s the same NIMBY opinion. Not in their back yard. It’s understandable, but the list of things that people don’t want in their back yard tends to be a list of things that would benefit people who are not them. Just saying. We also have a tendency to stop talking about the benefits of a solid public transportation network as soon as gas is under $2.00 a gallon again, when if anything we need to discuss this even more.
I’m the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that having a Tri-Rail station in Wilton Manors would be a boon for the businesses in the area and bring more people to Wilton Manors as business patrons and residents. South Florida is choking on its own traffic even with local and county transportation systems. Bringing people to different neighborhoods with reliable transit is a good way to revitalize neighborhoods, bringing in new residents and new businesses and jobs that come with them. This leads to a term called “value capture” and a report by Reconnecting America shows that transit can increase property values and result in development opportunities. Even Boca Raton has seized the opportunity to put itself in the middle of the rail boom, and is home to the busiest Tri-Rail station on the line.
There are multiple surveys that show the impact of transit in revitalizing downtowns, opening up suburbs to people who had not previously considered moving because of the transportation factor, and increasing property values by implementing multiple modes of public transportation. South Florida faces the challenge of all three of these categories, as well as a massive tourist trade, and the traffic they bring with them. It’s past time to consider the effects of suburban sprawl and traffic, and to start implementing solutions that are going to carry us from the 21st century and into the 22nd. We also have an aging population of Baby Boomers, and a generation of Millennials and GenZ who value access over ownership in terms of transportation.
I agree that some property values will go up while others go down. I agree that some businesses will see more benefits from a Tri-Rail station in Wilton Manors than others. Taxes, including mine, might go up in order to finance the rail station. My taxes also go to pay for a lot of other things, some of which I am in favor and some of which I am not. However, Wilton Manors has changed since I first opened Pallant Insurance, and needs to keep changing, growing, and become more inclusive. As much as some hate to admit it, we live in the 21st century, and we face challenges that nobody even thought could exist as little as 20 years ago. If we have more opportunities and more freedoms, if we have a voice and a right to exist on our own terms, it’s because we didn’t let the NIMBYs win.