Pirates, & Beads, & Transit…oh my!
Post was updated on 01/24/2020
Yep, it’s that time again, for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival! The Parade of the Pirates brings in hundreds of revelers each year, & along with that…tons and tons of roadway closures. So here’s what you need to know if you plan on attending the parade on Saturday, January 25, starting at 2:00pm.
Roadway closures & parking info
On Friday, January 24, the day before the parade, many area roadways will begin to shut down (some streets may already be closed in preparation). A complete list of closures has been provided through local media outlets (for this post, I’ve used the News Channel 8 article) and I strongly suggest that you go through this list so that you’re not caught in unnecessary traffic congestion (need to know where to park, Channel 8 has you covered there too). Because of the parade route and disbursement of the floats at the end of the parade, the Platt, Brorein, and Kennedy bridges will all be closed. That means your only points of egress into downtown Tampa from the west will be the Cass St bridge, the Selmon Expressway, & I-275.
If you don’t need to be in downtown Tampa, please do not enter the area! I cannot stress this enough.
For those traveling to Davis Island and Tampa General Hospital, access will be maintained to the island, but the on/off-ramps to/from Bayshore will all be closed. Please be sure to plan ahead for this, as HART will suspend normal bus service to & from the hospital.
If you plan to park in one of the parking garages in either Downtown Tampa, Channelside, Hyde Park, or Ybor City, please make sure you remember where you parked. Also, keep in mind that many streets will be closed throughout the area. Please also be sure to bring cash, because some lots may only accept cash as payment. Additionally, please be aware that the City of Tampa prohibits parking on some streets.
Escape the parking & use HART!
Select HART bus routes and the TECOline Streetcar Line will operate on a modified schedule on Saturday, and some bus routes will be detoured due to road closures. I’ll go through a brief rundown of what to expect if you’re using transit to get to and from the parade. For detailed information – including routes that serve the Downtown Tampa area – please visit the HART website, as information can change between now and the day of the parade.
Before boarding HART buses, please be sure to have your fare ready. You can purchase your HARTride fare cards in advance, use cash on the bus, or download the Flamingo Fares App. Please keep in mind that the TECOline Streetcar is FARE FREE!
View the HART Gasparilla Services Flyer
If you’re using other HART routes to get to the parade route, please plan ahead, as Routes 1, 7, 8, 14, 19, 30, & 360LX will be detoured accordingly. Please keep in mind that detour routing on some routes will change beginning around 3:00pm due to traffic limitations during the parade.
For further information regarding how you can use HART to get to & from Gasparilla, please read through their blog post.
What about Cross Bay Ferry service?
Unfortunately due to US Coast Guard regulations & other logistical impediments, the Cross-Bay Ferry will NOT OPERATE on Saturday or Sunday. Regular service will resume Wednesday, January 29, 2020.