On October 30, 2023, the culmination of over five years of planning, community meetings, and delayed starts finally came to fruition as construction commenced on the Pine Hills Transfer Center at Belco Drive. Situated near the intersection of Belco Drive and Silver Star Road, the $15 million dollar project is being supported by a blend of local, state, and federal funding sources, including President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Community leaders graced us with their presence and their overwhelming support for West Orlando’s advocacy and advancement toward sustainable and equitable transportation options.
With an anticipated project duration of 12-14 months, the station aims to significantly reduce commute times for community members who travel more than two hours to and from their jobs in the thriving tourist attractions and hospitality sectors.
The Pine Hills Transfer Center will feature eight bays to load and unload buses. Waiting passengers will be sheltered by a canopy resembling the one found at the Lynx downtown bus station. This initiative seeks to streamline the commute, transforming a journey that takes some individuals hours by bus into a shorter ride, particularly benefiting those commuting to destinations like Disney World, Universal Studios, and similar tourist areas in Central Florida.
In connection to this project, Duke Energy has installed 11 streetlights on Belco Drive ahead of the groundbreaking. The new transportation hub signifies Central Florida’s dedication to evolving public transportation for the better of all communities, including Pine Hills. Our community awaits with excitement for January 2025 to roll around for the project completion, as many Pine Hills residents rely heavily on public transportation as their primary mode of travel.
Not only can neighbors access the bus closer to their homes compared to having to make their way downtown, but they can also be guaranteed more economic growth for “Prime” Hills. 2023 has been a year filled with positive strides for our community. We look forward with optimism as we enter 2024.
Kassanndra Maria Santiago Contributor