Tampa Bay area transit dreams are on display
May 11, 2009
Folks can glimpse what the Bay area's transportation future might hold at a meeting tonight about plans for a massive rail and bus network.
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority will have maps and other materials on hand starting at 6 p.m. at the Alfano Center, 11606 N. McKinley Drive in Tampa. Officials then will take comments and field questions from the public.
How long the meeting lasts will depend "on how many people want to talk," spokeswoman Cindy Sharpe said. Expect a three-minute limit for each speaker, though, to move things along.
So far, some 25,000 people have participated in a half-dozen town hall meetings during the past two weeks where residents asked questions over the phone or just listened in.
The final call-in meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday with TBARTA Chairman Shelton Quarles and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio on the phones. Call 1-877-269-7289 and enter code 14837.
After that, TBARTA's board will vote on whether to approve the massive regional plan, which if completed by 2035 would cost from $13.7 billion to $25.8 billion.
HART aims for speedy buses
Speaking of meetings, the county transit agency is ready to unveil plans for a $40 million MetroRapid bus system.
The high-speed system on Fletcher and Nebraska avenues would include bus stations with signs telling riders when the next bus is due and, possibly, buses outfitted with "signal prioritization."
HART is working with the state, county and city to get permission to allow bus drivers "to hold the light" for a few seconds to clear intersections if behind schedule, spokeswoman Kathy Karalekas said.
See HART's plan from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Seminole Heights Baptist Church.
I-75 lane closures in Pasco
Nighttime motorists will face delays this week on Interstate 75 in south Pasco County.
Workers demolishing sections of the County Road 54 bridge plan to reduce traffic to a single lane in each direction.
The same thing is planned on C.R. 54 under the bridge. The closures are expected from 8 tonight to 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Skip Bryant in Lithia
Avoid taking Bryant Drive in the Lithia-Pinecrest area for at least a month. Workers are reconstructing the intersection at Bryant and Thompson roads and plan to close lanes between the dead end and Henry Bagley Road. The work is expected to last through June 26.
Central Boulevard still a mess
Jerry Yohman of the Caribbean Isles mobile home park recently asked about the work on Central Boulevard, north of Apollo Beach Boulevard.
"It's half dirt and half paved," he said. "When it rains it gets full of holes."
A developer ripped up Central two years ago to install a sewer pipe but went bankrupt before finishing, the county says, and what was done wasn't done correctly. The county had to rip up the street again to install another sewer system and must finish undone drainage work before paving.
Public works spokesman Steve Valdez said the project should be finished by year's end, depending on funding.
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