Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Downtown to Ghost Town

The Hillsborough MPO and TB Next charade continued today, as MPO Chairman Les Miller invited yet another urbanist proponent, USF masters student in architecture Joshua Frank, to present his demolish I-275 plan. From downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave., the proposal would replace the interstate with a street level 6 lane boulevard with bike paths, sidewalks, a transit/train corridor and an urban canopy park like setting on each side.

Sounds nice doesn't it?

Well, Mr. Frank, who is not an engineer or a transportation expert, apparently has not yet calculated the costs to demolish I-275, nor the economic impacts of removing a major commerce and transportation corridor for the Tampa Bay region.

As we demonstrated here, this will not be a 6 lane boulevard, but is more likely to be 30 lanes.

Unless of course, the intention is to create a congested road so intolerable that no one will drive on it. This will result in traffic finding a way down neighboring streets, just relocating traffic from one managed highway to multiple jammed up surface streets.

SaintPetersBlog also reported on Frank's presentation.
Although supporters of TBX said it was needed to bring commuters from Pasco County into downtown Tampa, Frank says that only 35 percent of those who drive on I-275 come from Pasco, with the other 65 percent traveling from the USF area at Fletcher Avenue to the Floribraska exit around Columbus Drive.
Mr. Frank seems to have a problem with math as well. 35 percent drive from Pasco, and the rest of the drivers on I-275 only use it from Fletcher to Floribraska?


That section of I-275 supports upwards of 200,000 vehicles a day, and forecasted up to 300,000 per day by 2040.

It is an major thoroughfare supporting the business, sporting events, arts and museums, weekend activities and residences of downtown Tampa.

If I-275 is demolished and replaced with a 6 lane boulevard, downtown Tampa will take a severe nose-dive.

Employees will not put up with the congestion to get in and out of downtown. Businesses will be forced to relocate.

Similarly, patrons for the arts, museums, and sporting events won't put up with the hassle of getting in and out of downtown for big events. Parking around downtown, particularly near the Straz Performing Arts Center, is already a problem. A problem manufactured by urban planners increasing density and not developing enough parking.

All those urbanist dreams of skyscraper canyons will fade away if people cannot easily get in and out of downtown.

Oh, but what about transit? That'll solve our problems!

Not quite. Pop quiz. Name one city that has reduced congestion as a result of transit investment.

Answer: None.

Transit ridership is decreasing nationwide. After a brief uptick in ridership after the financial crisis and recession, once the economy picked up after the recession, more people choose to leave transit and buy a car or use ride share services, as vehicle miles traveled nationwide is up near record levels and transit ridership is down. Even in metro areas with heavy investment in fixed guideways to attract the unicorn "choice" riders, transit ridership is down. Like our local politicians, people have made their choice, and it is not transit.

Tear down the interstate. Create a corridor of congestion so vast FDOT might as well build a wall around downtown Tampa.

Yeah, that's the ticket… to turn downtown Tampa into a ghost town.
Downtown Ghost Town
Then watch Vinikville...move to Wesley Chapel.

1 comment:

  1. I guess they are trying to find a way to shove a train down our throats again. If they want mass transit they must create a bus system that works first. It's a lot cheaper to add bus routes than train tracks! If they created a comprehensive criss cross bus system with covered bus stops and buses coming every ten minutes they might actually get riders! But that's way too sensible for those who want to INVEST in trains.