Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times YES!

Gandy Connector Concept (draft)

"The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) was asked by the City of Tampa and the Florida Department of Transportation to investigate a toll-feasible solution for traffic in the Gandy corridor.

In the past, suggested solutions were for all the traffic. While THEA looked at all of the traffic in our initial assessment, we realized that our target market is only a piece of the traffic –namely, traffic that has no destination in the Gandy corridor, is just passing through, and is willing to pay a toll to avoid local congestion. That piece of the traffic – our target market – is approximately 35% of the traffic coming to and from the Gandy Bridge. Because a toll would be charged, not everyone would use the bypass but those who do would still be enough to relieve congestion on Gandy.

We believe that a small elevated structure, one lane in each direction (with shoulders and a barrier between lanes), down the median of Gandy will provide relief to Gandy Boulevard, while keeping the size small and maintaining the main street atmosphere. In fact, the elevated structure can be built with no additional right-of-way acquisitions. This solution accomplishes the primary goals and objectives the community asked us for – traffic relief without destroying the fabric of the community. It also provides opportunities to mitigate potential negative impacts.

IF the regional bypass is built, THEA has proposed other ideas that can help with the “main street” feel of Gandy. Traffic circles are one suggestion. A new intersection configuration and stop light at Bridge Street is another suggestion. The regional bypass works with – or without – these proposed changes to Gandy Boulevard.

We are at the very beginning of this project. The regional bypass can stand on its own – or be combined with “main street” elements. However, the “main street” elements, cannot be accomplished without the regional bypass."

This connector is long over due. Rush hour traffic on Gandy is a nightmare, and it's not much better at other times. The opponents of this plan whine that the connector will hurt Gandy businesses. I can assure these people and businesses that I do not shop along Gandy during peak traffic hours.

On the occasion when I have had to take Gandy during rush hour I have rarely, if ever, seen anyone pulling off to go shopping. You may turn off to shop, but getting back on is a real challenge. The commuters don't want to shop. They just want to get home.

South Tampa needs that elevated connector. Let your voice be heard. Click HERE to weigh in on this issue.

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