Time To Focus On Gandy's Growth Issues
Published: Apr 26, 2006

Tampa City Council last week rejected plans to build another residential development south of Gandy Boulevard. It was about time.

In recent years the city has approved a flurry of projects without a plan to absorb the thousands of people moving in.

The project in question - 14 town houses on Manhattan Avenue - is small but represents the latest in a long line of big and small projects that, taken together, created daunting congestion.

West Shore Boulevard, the area's primary north-south route, is running at 32 percent above capacity. When other approved developments are built in the area, 32,000 more vehicles will join the crowd. The council was right to apply the brakes until a transportation report commissioned by the city is completed within a few months.

Once that report is complete, Mayor Pam Iorio should actively engage the residents and perhaps create a task force on the neighborhood's challenges, from hurricane evacuation to the need for parks to road congestion.

Someone simply must address the issue of West Shore, which needs a continuous turn lane. Business interests want to four-lane the road, but homeowners would fiercely oppose such a proposal, understandably so. Why, they ask, should their property values and quality of life be sacrificed for new development?

Compromise will be needed all around. New projects south of Gandy may have to sacrifice density and residents may have to accept inconveniences.

But it's good to see the council recognizes that the city can no longer simply build and hope for the best.


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