TAMPA — City Hall's plan to add parking and a bike lane to Platt Street has met with so much neighborhood support that it's getting bigger.
After meeting with residents, city officials said last week they plan to add on-street parking and a bike lane to Platt all the way from S Armenia Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard.
In August, officials first said the south side of Platt could get 54 new metered parking spaces from Armenia to S Dakota Avenue, just west of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway overpass.
At the time, council member Harry Cohen, who has worked on transportation and parking problems in the area, said the change would create more parking for the overflow from S Howard Avenue's booming bar scene.
But residents want more.
For months, Historic Hyde Park resident Jack Wyatt has advocated reducing Platt from three to two lanes to slow down traffic and open Platt to bikes.
"It was so that everybody had a chance to use it, not just three lanes of traffic," said Wyatt, past president of his neighborhood association and chairman of its roads and alleys committee. "When you squeeze the traffic a little bit, it doesn't go as fast."
So after Cohen organized a meeting where neighbors affirmed that they want the new amenities to extend beyond the overpass, the city agreed to look at putting another 25 spaces between the expressway and Bayshore.
The parking spaces and bike lane are expected to go on the south side of Platt.
City officials are still looking at which to put closest to the curb — the parallel parking spaces or the bike lane. Each has pros and cons, but either way the bicycle lane will be buffered from traffic with a separating space, transportation and stormwater services director Jean Duncan says.
Officials haven't decided yet whether the spaces would be metered or whether to reduce the speed limit on Platt from 40 mph to 35.
Platt's new bike lane will be paired with another planned bike lane along Cleveland Street's westbound traffic.
The city anticipates starting to re-stripe the road within a couple of months and to factor in the holidays and Gasparilla into the work schedule. The project is expected to take about eight weeks.
"We are looking forward to have a safer roadway out there when we get done," Duncan said.
In the next couple of years Cohen expects the city to look at bringing improvements such as more bike lanes, wider sidewalks and maybe some left-turn lanes to other South Tampa streets, too.
"This is the beginning," he said, "not the end."