Proposed Open Streets Routes and Dates

(1)  Franklin St. from Riverwalk and the Convention Center to Palm Ave. 

Nuts and bolts:  This route is 1.5 miles.  This road is mostly one lane in each direction with no median.  There are a half dozen intersections with traffic lights.  The remainder have stop signs.  The intersections with stop signs could be closed to vehicles to allow pedestrians and other people to cross the streets without any danger.  There is little traffic on Franklin St. itself.  Northbound traffic would be diverted to Florida Ave. and southbound traffic to Tampa St.  Franklin intersects Kennedy Blvd., which is a state road, and Kay St., which is a feeder road to I-275.  Traffic heading to I-275 would need to be diverted to Ashley (northbound) or Tampa (southbound) Streets.

This route includes Lykes Gaslight Park, Herman Massey Park, two YMCAs, a gym, and lots of places to stop for a snack or a meal.  Wayfinding signs would point to nearby retail establishments on Tampa St. and Florida Ave., as well as on the cross streets.  There are a number of wall murals and other pieces of public art.  There is vehicle and bike parking at both ends and en route.  The connection to the Riverwalk makes it possible to get to the Selmon Greenway, Curtis Hixon Park, Cotanchobee Park, Waterworks Park, Julian B. Lane Park, Plant Park, and Bayshore Blvd.

Neighborhood Demographics:  Highly diverse, low density, includes level 3 community of concern; residents have high levels of arthritis, asthma, coronary hearth disease, and diabetes.  They also have low levels of leisure time physical activity.  In general, there is little greenery outside of the parks. 

Suggested Pilot Date:  Sunday, November 18, 2018, i.e. the third Sunday in November.  The third Sunday is preferable for this location because of the Franklin merchants’ planned Brick Fests and the concurrent indie market at Armature Works.

(2)  7th Ave. from the Riverwalk to 22nd St. and Central Ave. from 7th to Robles Park. 

Nuts and bolts:  About 2.4 miles, one lane in each direction.  There are a handful of traffic signals in Ybor City.  Most of the remaining intersections have stop signs.  Most of those intersections could be closed to vehicles, allowing people to move through them.  There would need to be some traffic mitigation at the intersections with Tampa St. and Florida Ave. on the east-west axis and Columbus Ave. on the north-south axis, so that people can cross those streets without getting hit by cars.  We do not envision shutting those intersections.

This route has lots of retail at all both ends of the east-west route and beautiful trees along the way.  It connects Waterworks Park with Robles Park and comes close to Centennial Park.  There is a lot of bird life in Robles Park and occasional dolphins and manatees at Waterworks Park.  There are poems on the sidewalks in Ybor City and historic markers.  Wayfinding signs would point to attractions within a block or two of the route.  There could be activities in Robles Park.  The connection to the Riverwalk makes it possible to get to the Selmon Greenway, Curtis Hixon Park, Cotanchobee Park, Waterworks Park, Julian B. Lane Park, Plant Park, and Bayshore Blvd.

Neighborhood Demographics:  Diverse population; route includes areas at all levels of density; low-to-moderate income levels; high level of senior citizens in certain census tracks; through levels 2 and 3 and near level 4 communities of concern.  High levels of disabled inhabitants, as well as chronic health problems, arthritis, asthma, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  They also have low levels of leisure time physical activity.

Suggested Pilot Date:  Sunday, December 2, 2018.  The Hell on Wheels Classic Car Show will be held on 7th Ave. from 15th to 19th St. that day.  We would piggyback on this, expanding the route from 22nd St. to Riverwalk and up Central to Robles Park. 

(3)  Commerce Park Blvd. in New Tampa from Tampa Palms Blvd. over the bridge at I-75. 

Nuts and bolts:  About 2 miles, depending where we start and end.  Mostly four lanes with a median, but the road narrows to two lanes with no median at a busy intersection with the one traffic light on the route.  Closing the divided road on only one side of the median would mean that businesses and residential communities would not be cut off.  Closing the road that is only two lanes might inconvenience through traffic, but would allow people to go up and over the bridge over I-75. 

There are eateries at the southern end of the road, including McDonalds and two or three other places.  There is public art in the New Tampa Community Center.  This route is only about a mile away from the very popular Flatwoods Trails, a Hillsborough County Park, and so we’d have to make this more attractive than Flatwoods, perhaps offering zumba classes and other activities.  There are schools, parks, and an athletic facility where activities could take place.

Neighborhood Demographics:  High level of children under 18.

Suggested Pilot Date:  Sunday, January 6 or Sunday, February 3, 2019, i.e., the first Sunday of one of these months.

(4)  Bayshore Blvd. from the Platt Street Bridge to Hawthorne Rd.

Nuts and bolts:  Almost 5 miles of four-lane road, with a median.  We would suggest closing the northbound lanes to vehicles, which would enable all residents to reach their own driveways.   We would further suggest using the southbound lane closest to the median for parking, so that visitors from outside the neighborhood have a place to park their cars.  There are only three traffic lights on this route and no stop signs.  All intersections would direct cars to travel south.  The intersection of Gandy Blvd. and Bayshore Blvd. would be closed to northbound through traffic.  Drivers wishing to travel north and/or east would have the options of MacDill Ave. and the Selmon Expressway.

This is Tampa’s iconic road and people want to come here.  It is currently accessible only to the fast and fit.  Closing the northbound lanes to cars and using one southbound lane for parking would slow traffic and enable vulnerable users to enjoy the sight of the water, pelicans, dolphins, and manatees. Wayfinding signs would point to retail in Hyde Park Village and on Howard Ave., Bay to Bay, and MacDill, as well as to nearby parks and other facilities.  There are drinking fountains all along the route, as well as benches, historic markers, and public art.  Extending up to Platt St. makes it possible to get to the Riverwalk, Selmon Greenway, Curtis Hixon Park, Cotanchobee Park, Waterworks Park, and Julian B. Lane Park.

Neighborhood Demographics:  Densely populated, high level of senior citizens, arthritis, and coronary heart disease.  Few parks other than Bayshore Blvd.

Suggested Pilot Date:  Either Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, on the back of the Gasparilla Distance Classic marathon that morning, or Sunday, April 7, 2019, the first Sunday of that month.  N.B. The Hyde Park Village market takes place the first Sunday of each month, which increases the amount of retail within a couple blocks of this route.

The Open Streets initiative supports Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s InVision Plan by providing opportunities to connect disparate areas of the city to iconic facilities, such as Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Park, Cotanchobee Park, Waterworks Park, Julian B. Lane Park, museums, etc.  Furthermore, Open Streets directly reflect the Vision Zero initiative of separating spaces for walking and biking from vehicular traffic. As such, the collective vision for the continuation of Open Streets in the City of Tampa is to offer motor-free spaces along select corridors within the city for cycling, skating, running, walking, jogging, and other activities for the overall benefit of the residents, visitors, and local businesses. Open Street opportunities will become part of the fabric of the city, producing a culture of recreation, health, and safety.

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