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.