Don’t “race” the train!

For the month of July, I would like to stress to everyone to never, never, never try to beat a surface train at a crossing. This includes light rail, streetcar, commuter/suburban/intercity rail, and even freight train crossings. This post covers all types of rail transport by which an at-grade crossing with a roadway is involved.

Over the past several years, I’ve heard of many horrific stories about vehicles colliding with trains at crossings. Many times, these incidents occur because the driver of the vehicle was trying to “beat” the train at the crossing and did not make it through the crossing in time. These incidents often result in serious injury, or in many cases fatalities, as well as hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in damages to the train involved. If the train derails as a result of a vehicular collision, those costs can easily soar into the millions. Disregarding train crossing barriers and other such safety protocols when a train is approaching is both dangerous and illegal.

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RNC Roundup

Hi Everyone,

Despite my computer troubles, I was determined to get at least one post up this week. With the Republican National Convention just days away; you may have noticed many of the temporary venues going up in downtown Tampa. At this point; many municipal government offices in downtown Tampa are beginning to pack their bags and move to satellite locations, where they can continue offering services while being away from the security perimeter that is being set up around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the event will be held. Both HART and PSTA have finalized (for the most part) which transit services will be detoured during the week-long event. You can view the link below to see more information regarding the various road closures and transit detours during the convention.

I must stress once again that if you don’t need to be in downtown Tampa or downtown St. Pete when the many events are in motion; please avoid the areas altogether. Though St. Pete will be in the midst of the opening celebrations at Tropicana Field, an event zone has been set up throughout the city for the duration of the convention, so many streets in the area may remain closed for the entire week. However; if you do plan to be in the area; please be mindful of the heightened security presence and tons and tons of protesters. I certainly don’t want to see anyone hurt because the rules were not followed. With that said; I wish everyone a safe and wonderful rest of the month! I will be slow to post my other posts due to limited internet access, etc. for the next few weeks.

For a summary of the latest transit detours and road closures; click here.

 

Warmest Regards;

HARTride 2012

RNC = Road Closures & Transit Detours

Please note that due to the rapidly changing information; this post will be periodically updated. Be sure to check back for updates. The last update to this post was on 7/31/12.

On July 23, 2012, the US Secret Service unveiled its listing of roadway closures throughout the Tampa Bay Area during the Republican National Convention. And boy do we have a lot of thoroughfares on the list. Most of the closures will be centered in around downtown Tampa; where the event will be held. However, due to RNC events in downtown St. Pete; some roadways there will be closed as well.

In Tampa; some of the roadways to be closed during the RNC (which will be held August 26 through the 30) include the following:

  • Bayshore Blvd northeast of Swann Ave (Access will be available to the Davis Islands)
  • Platt St, Brorien St, and Frankland St bridges
  • Basically every single downtown roadway south of Whiting St (access to Harbour Island will be limited)
  • The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway between Willow Ave and 50th St (the Reversible Lanes will remain open)
  • Tampa Bay Blvd between Dale Mabry Hwy & Himes Ave

In St. Pete; many city roadways will be closed; in addition to Interstate 175.

In addition to the roadway closures; parking and pedestrian access through both cities will be restricted.

For the full list of roadways impacted (including maps of the affected areas); click here. To view the article on Bay News 9; click here.

Click “Continue Reading” for updates on Public Transit Restrictions/Detours.

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The RNC is just around the corner.

I’m sure many of you have been hearing for months now about the Republican National Convention coming to Tampa. But here’s a question that you may not have been able to quite answer yet; have you planned out your commute during the event?

For some, the answer may be to completely avoid downtown Tampa at all costs. I am fortunate to be one of those people who can just take Dale Mabry Highway to Busch Boulevard and be on my way. However, I know many of you out there may have to go through downtown Tampa and not have very many options available to avoid the impending gridlock. For one thing, many city streets will be closed during the event (which is to be held August 25 through 27, 2012). This includes the Platt St Bridge, which sends traffic underneath the convention center and next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum (where the event will be held). The bridge will most certainly be closed due to security reasons. But other major thoroughfares may end up closing too. They include, but are not limited to; Channelside Dr, Brorien St (including the bridge), and yes…even the Selmon Expressway viaduct through downtown could be closed.

We probably won’t know the full extent of the road closures until just a couple weeks before the event because the US Secret Service will ultimately determine the security perimeter around the Forum and which thoroughfares will close.

Public transit will also be heavily affected by the RNC. In fact, a vast majority of HART’s bus routes, as well as both of PSTA’s express bus routes, traverse through Downtown Tampa. As a result, you can expect a lot of detours throughout downtown. My guess is that many routes will detour via Cass & Tyler Streets and then enter the Marion Transit Center through that route. My suggestion to you is to keep up to date with HART, PSTA, and local news outlets for the latest updates regarding traffic conditions, transit detours, and road closures. In addition, many government offices will be closed or have operations housed temporarily in other locations throughout Tampa Bay during the convention, so you will need to check with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County government websites to see if the office of the service you’re inquiring about will be closed the weekend of the RNC.

For those of you who do not need to go through downtown on a daily basis, I will say again, please avoid downtown at all costs.

Please note that when the security perimeter has been finalized; HART will let patrons know about which services will be affected. You can read HART’s blog for more info on that.

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

January/February 2009 doesn’t have to be a traffic nightmare…

Let me pull away from the transit scene for just a moment, and let everyone know that even with the numerous events set for late January/early February, that your commute doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here’s some tips to get you where you’re going during the course of the next month or so.

Super Bowl 43 is the big event for early February. As with any Super Bowl game, security around the host stadium is extremely tight and many perimeter roads will be closed. At Raymond James Stadium, where this year’s game will be held, you can expect many roadway closures and traffic and transit interruptions.

· Beginning Friday, January 9, 2009, Tampa Bay Boulevard between Dale Mabry Highway and Himes Avenue will be closed to allow set up of the NFL Experience football theme park. Back in 2001, when the last Super Bowl was hosted in Tampa, the NFL Experience was situated on the north end of the stadium property. This year however, it will be situated on the parking lots just across Tampa Bay Blvd, causing the closure of the roadway. For those of you driving, you will need to use MLK Blvd to the north or Columbus Drive to the south as a detour. HART’s Route 7 is currently on detour via MLK Blvd & Dale Mabry Hwy.

· Beginning Saturday January 31, 2009 at 12:01AM, Dale Mabry Hwy & Himes Ave will close in order to maintain a proper security perimeter around Raymond James Stadium. Commuters wishing to travel from South Tampa to points north of the stadium have several options.

o Use the Veterans Expressway from the west to connect to Hillsborough Ave & Kennedy Blvd.

o Use Armenia/Howard Avenues from east to connect to your destination.

o Use Habana Avenue or MacDill Avenue, closest to the stadium, to connect to your destination.

· For those of you connecting to Drew Park, you may still use MLK Blvd to do so, but expect heavy delays.

· For those of you utilizing the HART bus system, please be aware of the following.

o Due to Federal Regulations, HART is not permitted to provide any special services during the Super Bowl. Instead, private charter companies will provide these services. For more information, click this link

o Between January 31, 2009 and February 2, 2009; The West Tampa Transfer Center will be closed for traffic and security purposes. Routes 7, 32, 36, 41, and 45 will utilize the same detour protocols used during Bucs and USF home games. This also includes transferring at the makeshift bus depot at Gomez Avenue and Saint Isabel Street. However, Route 7 will have increased frequency between Raymond James Stadium and downtown on Super Bowl Sunday from 12:35pm to midnight.

o The TECO Streetcar, and Purple and Green Line Trolleys will also run extended services throughout the weekend. For a flyer of complete route adjustments, click here.

Regardless of where you’re going and how you get there, please expect many delays throughout your trip. Be advised that major construction projects (IE: I-275 & TIA Interchanges) will be on hold during Super Bowl events so that all existing lanes of traffic will be available.

Gasparilla 2009 is going to occur on Saturday, February 7, 2009, a week after the Super Bowl events. One of the key reasons to putting the event after the Super Bowl is because during the 2001 Super Bowl, traffic became a major hassle. The two events on the same weekend caused widespread delays throughout Tampa Bay highways.

As always, be advised that Bayshore Blvd will be closed on parade day. HART bus route 19 will not serve Davis Islands during the parade. If you want to find a good parking spot, arrive early, as many spots are filled by the afternoon.

So whether you’re going to the Super Bowl, or to Gasparilla, or maybe even both; keep in mind that your commute doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Be sure to observe all traffic signs, police, and other drivers. And allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination. If that means catching a bus that leaves an hour earlier than the one you normally take, then do so.

Here’s some more helpful links to help you with trip/event planning.