Gandy link draws more objections

By Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer

Published Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TAMPA — The Tampa-Hills­borough County Expressway Authority faced more opposition Tuesday night when it held another meeting about building an elevated toll road on Gandy Boulevard.

Nearly 200 people came to New Beginnings Church at 4100 S. Manhattan Ave. to hear the results of a study about the 1.45-mile connector's effects on the 97 businesses between the Gandy Bridge and the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway.

Officials commissioned the study through the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research.

Stephen Reich, who presented the results, said the road would negatively affect businesses that directly depend on traffic, such as gas stations and fast food chains, and could cost the area $1.9 million and 13 jobs.

However, the construction and focus of local traffic would generate $800,000 and create five jobs, the study found.

Still, nine of the 11 community speakers opposed the proposal to alleviate traffic, along with most of the crowd.

Many had the same question as Mikael Eskildsen, owner of a furniture store.

"What is an example of a community where businesses have flourished under a bridge?"

The next meeting is Sept. 29 at Monroe Middle School, 4716 W Montgomery Ave.

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