Gandy Blvd Elevated Plan

Once again, I am going to briefly deviate from the transit scene to discuss the proposed project for Gandy Boulevard in South Tampa. Though work continues on creating a median, future plans include a two-laned elevated structure in the middle of the highway, similar to the reversible structure on the Selmon Expressway.

However, I don’t think a two-laned structure will be enough to alleviate traffic congestion on the highway for the long-term. Here is what I think should be done with Gandy down the road.

First off, the elevated lanes should be four lanes, not two.

Second, notice the exhibits market on the map below.

Exhibit A: Existing Crosstown to Elevated Gandy: Modify the current terminus to where the elevated bridge can easily dispense onto the expressway. The current overpasses @ DM would have to be widened.

Exhibit AA: (Not Listed) Lois Ave & WalMart: Eastbound Gandy will clearly need a continuous right turn lane in order to bring shoppers into WalMart, should it be built. Westbound Gandy will need two left turn lanes, and Lois Ave will need to be widened to four lanes, with multiple left turn lanes onto Gandy.

Exhibit B: Manhattan Intersection: I would say keep the revamped intersection as it is. I don’t support a roundabout on the local lanes here because multiple left turn lanes are needed to facilitate better traffic flow. Additionally, when the economy recovers, development will start back up in South Tampa, facilitating the need to widen Manhattan to four lanes all the way to Interbay Blvd.

Exhibit C: WestShore Intersection: Again, keep the revamped interchange as it is. If FDOT should build a roundabout here, make it efficient. Don’t place some stupid wasteful fountain like Clearwater did.

Exhibit D: Gandy Bridge: A few things to point out here….

*As the 1976 (current eastbound bridge) ages, the current Friendship Trail Bridge should be demolished. In its place, a much wider span can be built for the westbound lanes. HOWEVER, the new bridge MUST be four lanes wide. Yes Jason (from Skyscraper City), I agree with you now, the bridge will eventually need to be 8 lanes total. Until traffic flow begins to be overwhelming, FDOT may use two lanes of this new bridge for general westbound traffic. The other two lanes (highlighted in red) can start out as HOV/Bus lanes. PSTA’s 100X should be extended to DT St. Pete and its frequency increased to 20 minutes all day on weekdays, with weekend service every 30 minutes.

*The 1996 bridge in the meantime could be used for eastbound traffic. If traffic becomes overwhelming, the bridge could be widened to four lanes from two lanes.

*The purple shaded area in between the two bridges is simply that….just space. BUT, the new bridge should be constructed far enough from the 1996 bridge to where that span can be widened if needed. Additionally, there MUST be enough space to build rail if needed. Obviously, the new westbound bridge could be fitted for rail lines during construction.

*The 1976 bridge (green) can be used as the trail until it gets too old and must be demolished. A new structure can eventually be built to replace it.

HART service changes – effective March 29, 2009

From GoHART.org

Service Changes to take effect March 29, 2009

HART is continually looking to provide the best service possible. To improve service on some of its most heavily-used routes, HART will implement the following enhancements, amounting to more than 400 hours of new service, to take effect March 29, 2009. These enhancements increase frequency on both weekdays and weekends on several routes, and add new Sunday service to one route.
Weekdays

Route 1 – Florida Ave.
Increase frequency from 30 minutes to 20 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Route 8 – Progress Village/Brandon
Increase frequency from 45 minutes to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Route 30 – Town ‘N Country
Increase frequency from 30 minutes to 15 minutes between Marion Transit Center (downtown Tampa) and Tampa International Airport from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Service between TIA and Northwest Transfer Center in Town ‘N Country remains on current schedule. Expand late-night service between TIA and the Northwest Transfer Center.

Route 36 – Dale Mabry/Himes Ave.
Increase frequency from 45 minutes to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Added a new trip northbound leaving MacDill AFB at 8:40 p.m. on weekdays.

Route 39 – Busch Blvd.
Increase frequency from 60 minutes to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Weekends

Route 1 – Florida Avenue
Increase frequency on Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Route 6 – 56th St.
Increase frequency on Saturdays and Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Route 12 – 22nd St.
Increase frequency on Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Route 18 – 30th St.
Begin operating Sunday service between 5:55 a.m. and 9:07 p.m.; same 60-minute frequency as current Saturday schedule..

Route 30 – Town ‘N Country
Increase frequency on Saturdays and Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes on entire route.
South Shore Enhancements

Route 87 – SouthShore Connector &
Route 35LX – Brandon/SouthShore Limited Express
To better serve our customers in the SouthShore area, HART will be changing Route 87 to serve the new HCC campus at Shell Point Rd. and 24th Ave. This change will also affect running times of Route 35LX.

Route 47LX – SouthShore Limited Express
Due to road reconfiguration, traffic circulation for exiting the SouthShore Service Center will be changing. The new configuration will change the circulating pattern of Route 47LX at the service center.

New route schedules will be available on or before March 16, 2009 on board buses, at HART Customer Service Centers or by mail.
Prior to this date, please call the HARTinfo Line at (813) 254-4278 for more information • TDD: (813) 626-9158

HART’s BRT is moving forward

It looks like all lights are green for HART’s BRT…

From GoHART.org

HART Goes Rapid

Bus Rapid Transit is Coming to Tampa

Bus Rapid Transit – it’s the next step in transit for Tampa Bay, and it’s coming soon!
What is brt?

Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, helps to improve travel along selected service corridors with enhancements that increase the speed of transit, improve service reliability and make it easier for people to use transit.

The improvements typically include bus preferential treatments (traffic signal priority, off-vehicle ticket vending machines), enhanced passenger stations (shelters, real-time passenger information), and special low-floor buses.

HART’s BRT system will feature fewer stops, high frequency and advanced technology to help travelers get to their destinations quickly and conveniently.

How will it work?

• Limited stops, 10-minute frequency, and advanced technology will speed travel time
• Sleek new vehicles offer a comfortable ride for passengers and drivers
• New, modern station stops
• Signal prioritization – holding green lights, shortening red lights to give buses priority travel
• Ticket Vending Machines at some station stops to speed boarding

• Real-time displays will allow travelers to know exactly when the next bus will be arriving at their station stop
what areas will brt serve?

The first phase of BRT is being funded by Hillsborough County’s Transportation Task Force funding and will operate in the I-275 North to South Corridor – Nebraska Avenue from downtown Tampa then east along Fletcher Avenue to the vicinity of Telecom Park (west of I-75). A new park and ride facility is planned in the Fletcher Avenue/I-75 area. The North-South BRT line is expected to begin operation in 2011.

The second BRT line will be an east-west route, connecting Tampa International Airport, the Westshore Business District and HART’s Netpark bus transfer center at Hillsborough Avenue and 56th Street, with connections to the North-South line at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. HART is currently seeking federal funding for this phase.

Could Orlando/Tampa high speed rail link be built after all?

Oh the joys of the early 2000s, when Florida voters enacted a law for the construction of a high-speed bullet train that would travel up the I-4 corridor from Tampa to Orlando. But then, when the voters realized how expensive the project would be, AFTER THE FACT, they voted to repeal it. Since then, the project has been practically dead right?

WRONG. Due to money set aside for such rail projects by the recently passed stimulus package, it seems that Florida is pushing to get the project on the list of projects ready to go.

From the Tampa Tribune

Story Link

By RICH SHOPES | The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 19, 2009

TAMPA – High-speed rail looked dead four years ago, but backers of the proposal say it’s being resuscitated now thanks to the recently approved federal stimulus package.

“This is unbelievable,” said Lee Chira, chairman of the Florida High Speed Rail Authority.

The group hadn’t met since voters in November 2004 opposed granting state taxes to the project – the first leg of which would have connected Orlando and Tampa for $2 billion.

Now the authority is hopeful it could get some of the $8 billion recently set aside for high-speed rail projects nationwide.

“We’re 90 percent sure we’ll get it because the president said he is looking for communities and authorities that have shovel-ready projects,” Chira said. “We’re farther along than anybody.”

The authority sent a letter to the Federal Transit Administration on Jan. 27 expressing interest in the funds and has scheduled a meeting Feb. 26 in Orlando to discuss what to do next.

By mid-September, the authority must have its formal application submitted to the FTA.

The project’s first leg from Orlando International Airport to Tampa was expected to cost $2 billion and include stops at downtown Orlando, Disney World and Lakeland.

The federal government issued environmental permits that would need to be updated, and several years ago granted permission to access the Interstate 4 median for the project, Chira said.

Orlando would become a hub for later extensions to Miami and Jacksonvillle.

“We could be under construction in 12 to 18 months,” Chira said _ if the project receives funding.
After that it could be three to four years before trains are running. They would travel up to 120 mph.