OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The southern expansion of SunRail is open for riders on Monday. Four new stops are part of the 17.2 mile expansion into Osceola County.
Many are looking forward to using the commuter rail to get back and forth to and from work. Some of the stations also offer a high walkability factor, with destinations within walking distance along the new route. Many stops also have plans for additional development near them.
Meadow Woods Station
Where: Fairway Avenue between Orange Avenue and Landstar Boulevard.
- This station is located right up against a residential neighborhood. With thousands of homes located nearby, this station will certainly benefit those living within walking distance.
Where: Near Osceola Parkway and Michigan Avenue.
- The station borders Gateway Station Shopping Center, a strip mall with a Walmart as the anchor store and a variety of small stores and a few banks surrounding it. The station is not far from the Tupperware Center and Gatorland, but not close enough to walk to either location. In addition, the station provides direct transit access for Walt Disney World employees and visitors. SunRail station design plans include a park and ride lot with a bus drop-off area.
- Increased SunRail traffic may entice redevelopment along with more retail and dining options. On a recent visit, it appears there are plans to provide access to this area, but currently, a chain-link fence separates the two properties. FDOT confirms there are plans to open a walkway to the plaza, but completion is dependent on the private property owner. It's doubtful this will happen before the official opening of the station.
- A Florida Health ER center is under construction at Orange Avenue and Osceola Parkway.
- Osceola County officials also confirmed there are multi-unit housing projects in the planning stages nearby.
Downtown Kissimmee Station
Where: Near the intersection of Broadway Street and Monument Avenue.
- This station offers the best opportunity for casual riders to get off the train and stretch their legs; Broadway Street is only a block from the station and offers a variety of restaurants, antique shops and wine bars. Dining options include barbecue, Cuban food, pizza and ice cream. Several locations offer sidewalk and outdoor seating.
- Lakefront Park is also steps away. The 25-acre parcel of land along the shores of lake Tohopekaliga includes a marina, playground area and 3-mile-long paved trail along the waterfront. The trailhead can be accessed just a few blocks from the station.
Where: Orange Blossom Trail and Poinciana Boulevard.
- This is the last station on the line and doesn't offer much in the way of walkable destinations. There is a Home Depot, Wawa and Twistee Treat ice cream stand nearby.
- The BK Ranch, a nearly 1,000 acre property nearby, is slated for development. The property has the potential for 3,000 homes as well as commercial development.