Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Streetcar expansion for downtown Tampa is under way

TAMPA — Downtown commuters might notice more delays than usual near Whiting and Franklin streets.

The reason: Workers have started expanding the streetcar line between the Tampa Convention Center and downtown.

Congestion isn't a major problem for now — only the left-turn lane from Franklin Street to Whiting is closed. But early next year, crews are expected to rip up 250 feet of Franklin Street to make room for streetcar tracks on its northbound side.

Engineers are awaiting word from the city about whether crews, in anticipation of that work, can block traffic in both directions on Franklin or just the northbound side as the work proceeds south to the convention center.

What is known now is that crews will not block Whiting, Brorein and other east-west streets on weekdays, although some streets might be closed partially on weekends.

Also, the Route 96 and Route 97 — two purple in-town trolleys that regularly travel down Franklin and Whiting — have suspended service until work is completed in December 2010.

The $4.9 million project began Oct. 9 at the southeast corner of Franklin and Whiting. For now, crews are relocating water, sewer and electrical lines to make room for a single set of tracks as well as a short passing lane.

The work, as well as lane closures, is expected to intensify during the first three months of 2010.

The plan is to proceed south until workers link up with the streetcar's starting point at the convention center, HART project manager Bob Atack said.

The line has steadily lost money since it started running in 2003, but the streetcar board and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, which is overseeing construction, hope more riders will use the streetcar once it enters the downtown core at Whiting.

About 1,200 people, mostly tourists and conventioneers, ride the streetcar daily.

"The hope is to bring a lot of tourists who go into Ybor into downtown Tampa," Atack said.

Officials also hope the expanded line draws a lunchtime crowd, as well as hockey- and event-goers who park downtown.

Architects are still working out details for the station stop at Whiting. The theme seems to be a mix of light and color.

"Color during the day and light at night," HART spokeswoman Kathy Karalekas said.

The $4.9 million project is funded by federal grants, including $1 million in stimulus money.

Streetcar expansion for downtown Tampa is under way 10/25/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  3. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.
  4. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.