A Tri-Rail station on PGA Boulevard is years away, but people who live, work or socialize in Palm Beach Gardens can have a say in the design now.
Transportation officials are hosting a brainstorming session Thursday at the city’s Emergency Operations Center. The design of the station, the use of trolleys or circulator buses, ride-sharing, lighting and visibility are all part of the discussion, Palm Beach Gardens Director of Planning & Zoning Natalie Crowley said.
Planners are looking for input from the public on what shops, restaurants, services and accommodations people want around the train station that will sit near the Florida East Coast tracks at PGA Boulevard and Alternate A1A.
The workshop will be hosted with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
People will be able to lay tracing paper over maps and draw in their ideas as they share them with planners, Palm Beach Gardens spokeswoman Candice Temple said.
“It’s very much designed to be hands-on with the public,” she said.
Tri-Rail stretches from Miami International Airport and stops at 45th Street in Mangonia Park, but stations in Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter have been in the plans as part of the Coastal Link. The northern stations are still years away, as Tri-Rail focuses on the south, particularly a connection to All Aboard Florida’s Brightline station known as MiamiCentral in Downtown Miami.
Brightline’s plan to provide passenger rail service has advanced the discussion of Tri-Rail north to Jupiter because of the infrastructure it will provide, Crowley said.
It’s too soon to say how much the PGA station will cost. Typically, the federal government pays 50 percent, the state covers another 25 percent and local governments and businesses pay the rest.
Palm Beach Gardens snagged a $120,000 grant to plan the new station that will give thousands who commute to work along PGA Boulevard an alternative to traffic snarls on Interstate 95.
A Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council official told Palm Beach Gardens officials they expect strong ridership from the new station in northern Palm Beach County. Tri-Rail ridership tops 4 million people each year.
More than 20,000 people come in or out of the PGA Boulevard corridor for work every day, according to Palm Beach Gardens.
Creating essential workforce housing — housing at a price point that hospital workers, police officers, firefighters and government employees can afford — is another part of the conversation around the transit hub, Temple said.
“Right now, you have a lot of people of those disciplines who are living outside the city,” she said. “That will also take trips off the road.”
MOBILITY IN THE GARDENS
What: Brainstorming session for the future Tri-Rail Station in Palm Beach Gardens
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: City Hall Emergency Operations Center, 10500 North Military Trail
Light refreshments will be provided.
Palm Beach Gardens and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council are hosting the workshop paid for by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.