PSTA reveals name and logo for Tampa Bay’s first BRT project

An artist rendering shows people waiting at a transit station to board PSTA’s new SunRunner bus rapid transit line.

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has a new name and logo for what’s been known for years as the Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project.

Officials from PSTA, city of St. Petersburg and the county gathered on July 8 to unveil the new name and logo.

The BRT line, which will connect downtown St. Petersburg to the Gulf beaches, will now be called the “SunRunner.” The BRT line’s 40-foot buses will feature artwork that includes an iconic “Mr. Sun” image.

“The name, design and colors are symbolic of the local flare and fittingly the SunRunner will operate from where the sun rises to where the sun sets,” said PSTA CEO Brad Miller in a press release.

The logo was created by Chad Mize, a multimedia artist, designer and muralist, who lives in St. Petersburg.

According to information on www.visitstpeteclearwater.com, Mr. Sun was created in the late 1940s by Griffin Advertising. Mize re-imagined the logo to capture modern-day St. Petersburg in a mural on a building at 648 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

PSTA also is working with another local artist, Catherine Woods, who is providing art glass for some of the BRT stations. Her work will function as a visual “love letter” to St. Petersburg, incorporating her images of “flora and fauna, the unique architecture and the landscape,” officials said.

“Incorporating art into this project was both important and fitting given St. Petersburg’s connection and support of the arts,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “This area is also known for its vibrant, colorful street art, from murals to sculptures. The art scene is alive and well in our community and the locals are proud of it and I’m glad it’s reflected in this critical project.”

President Donald Trump used his Twitter account to share the news on May 28 that PSTA was receiving $21.8 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration for the BRT project.

Additional funding for the $44 million project will come from the Florida Department of Transportation, the city of St. Petersburg and PSTA.

The BRT line will feature semi-dedicated lanes, limited stops and level boarding platforms. The 10.3-mile line will include 16 stops with buses running every 15 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg to the beach and then back downtown.

PSTA expects to begin construction later this summer with buses arriving in 2021. Completion of the project is slated for early 2022.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.