Thursday, August 3, 2017

New LYMMO bus leaves some Parramore residents at the curb

The expansion of the Lymmo free bus service in Parramore is exciting news -- except if you live in Parramore.

Mayor Buddy Dyer, Lynx and other government officials will be holding a ceremony Friday to cut the ribbon for the Lymmo Lime line.

Here’s how the event was described in the week-ahead advisory sent to the news media. “Mayor Dyer will join with Lynx to celebrate LYMMO’s latest expansion with the completion of the Lime Line. The new LYMMO Lime Line provides a critical connection for the Parramore neighborhood to access Lynx Central Station, SunRail and the downtown core.”

Sounds like the service is for Parramore residents. But, it’s not.

If you look at the accompanying map provided by Lynx, it’s clear that the Lime line doesn’t enter the residential area of Parramore – one of Orlando’s historically black communities that is being threatened by gentrification.

The free bus service is focused on serving the federal courthouse, FAMU College of Law, Creative Village and the future UCF/Valencia Downtown Campus, Amway Station and Lynx Central Station.

Parramore activist Lawanna Gelzer said: “That bus is not for us. They don’t want us on that bus. That bus is for people who want to come into the community the neighborhood for business or to go to a game. They want to move us out of here.”

Many Parramore residents are needy, don’t own cars and depend on public transportation. Extending the Lime line just a few more blocks to the south would make the free service easily accessible to hundreds of Parramore residents.

The official press release from Lynx said: “This project was funded by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program. The purpose of this funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration is to generate economic development and improve access to transportation. With a nearly $13 million investment, the LYMMO Lime Line Project has met the intent of the program.”

Friday’s event marks the 20th anniversary of LYMMO that became the nation’s first bus rapid transit system – with its own dedicated lane on the street.

The LYMMO system includes two more lines – Orange and Grapefruit. It’s noteworthy that in addition to government offices and businesses those other LYMMO lines do serve residential areas, including a small portion of Parramore.

Friday’s event will be at 10 a.m. at the northwest corner of North Terry Avenue and West Livingston street.

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