Tuesday, May 21

Some Stuart residents fear disruption from Brightline trains while others take ‘wait and see’ attitude

Brightline is taking South Florida passengers north to Orlando starting Friday morning.

The first Brightline train headed to Central Florida departs Miami at 6:50 a.m., stopping in West Palm Beach at about 7:45 a.m. and departing at 8:03 a.m.

The train is scheduled to arrive in Orlando at 10:15 a.m. if things go according to schedule.

“When you hear that Brightline is kicking off tomorrow, is that good news, bad news?” asked WPTV reporter Joel Lopez to Stuart residents Rick Hofer and Molly Magee.

“Bad news, disappointing news,” Hofer said.

The two said they’ve lived in Stuart since 1989 and believe the added train traffic will impact their daily routine.

“The train traffic, plus the idea that it’s almost [tourist] season, which means that we’re going to maybe double the cars that we have on the road,” Magee said. “In my opinion, it seems like it’s going to be a nightmare.”

According to Brightline, the launch to Orlando will have six round-trip trains, which adds up to 12 trains passing through the Treasure Coast.

That number is expected to increase to 16 round-trip trains, which adds up to 32.

If you’re in Stuart, Brightline trains are expected to pass through at the following approximate times:

Northbound trains:

8:38 a.m., 12:38 a.m., 2:38 p.m., 4:38 p.m., 6:38 p.m. and 10:38 p.m.

Southbound trains:

8:16 a.m., 10:16 a.m., 12:35 p.m., 5:35 p.m., 7:35 p.m. and 9:35 p.m.

The Brightline train is expected to hit speeds of 110 mph between West Palm Beach and Cocoa on its route to Orlando but will slow down in Stuart as it goes over the St. Lucie River railroad bridge.

“If you happen to take the route where the Brightline goes through, it could definitely be disruptive, whether you’re picking up children from school, you’re going to work, if it’s an emergency situation,” commuter Cindy Keegan said.

She said roads near downtown are narrow and is worried about the impact it’ll have on traffic if there is an incident with the train.

“The train, I’ve watched it. It goes by. It’s here and by pretty quickly. I don’t think it’ll be that big an inconvenience,” Martin County resident Nick DiCicco said. “I don’t really know what the impact will be. It’s kind of a wait-and-see.”

He said his 4-year-old daughter loves trains and often times they watch as them go by from the Kiwanis Youth Park.

“I’m not really worried about the safety of it,” DiCicco said. “We have working arms on all the crossings.”

For DiCicco, he said the biggest hassle is not having a station in Stuart.

“I would like to see one right here,” DiCicco said. “I would love to be able to take it to Orlando or down south. If it’s running through here, it might as well have a stop here.”

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