TAMPA — Kelli Farnsworth can't wait for the day she can fearlessly ride one of her 16 bikes to work. Farnsworth, 40, lives in Ybor City and typically rides 4.5 miles to her job near Kennedy Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway. "I wanted a better way to get through downtown without getting squished by cars," she said. "With this kind of thing, it makes it more hopeful." She is not alone. Farnsworth and about 50 other people got to check out plans Wednesday that would transform a 1.7-mile space under the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway into an urban trail that would tie together Bayshore Boulevard, the Riverwalk, Channel District and Ybor City. The Metropolitan Planning Organization paid Renaissance Planning Group $50,000 to study the feasibility and determine a preferred route for what is being called the Selmon Greenway project. The final report is expected by October. The trail would be built in stages as part of other road projects, including a planned expressway expansion. Because the project is in its infancy, officials do not have cost estimates. "By the end of the year we should have an idea what the financial package should be," said Alan Steinbeck, the project manager. Ideally, he said, the greenway would be a linear park with benches, water fountains and exercise equipment along a 15-foot-wide, tree-lined path. It would connect to the Riverwalk downtown, the Meridian Street greenway, Bayshore Boulevard, the TECO Line Streetcar System and the Marion Street Transitway. The study will determine ways to minimize the loss of parking spaces. The preliminary route for the greenway would eliminate 86 parking spaces under the expressway. Tom Feaster, who works near Tampa and Brorein streets close to the greenway's proposed Bayshore connection, said he uses the crosstown lots and does not see a problem from the lost parking spaces. "I wanted to make sure we're not in the middle of anything, and we're not," Feaster said.Copyright 2010 St. Petersburg Times
Jared Leone can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3435.
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