Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Construction on Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard set to start

Bicyclists try to cross Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. A road-narrowing project will leave Bayshore with four lanes from the Davis Islands bridge to Rome Avenue. Bike lanes are in the works, too.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Bicyclists try to cross Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. A road-narrowing project will leave Bayshore with four lanes from the Davis Islands bridge to Rome Avenue. Bike lanes are in the works, too.

TAMPA — Traffic on Bayshore Boulevard flies by so quickly that most days Wendy Wilson refuses to cross the boulevard north of Rome Avenue. Instead, she walks her dogs and jogs on Bayshore's west side.

"It's just too dangerous. You think you see an opening and then a car comes flying around the corner," said Wilson, 50, who lives on Willow Street about two blocks from Bayshore.

Wilson and hundreds of other joggers, cyclists and pedestrians could soon catch a break.

Under a plan to slow traffic, the city is set to break ground today on a $1.5 million project to reduce the busy six-lane road to four lanes between the Davis Islands Bridge and Rome Avenue.

The project will add bicycle lanes in both directions, painted crosswalks, left-turn lanes for northbound traffic and crossing signal improvements at Platt Street and Bay-to-Bay Boulevard.

Left-turn bays will be added at Rome, Oregon, Willow, Newport, Delaware, Edison and Brevard avenues.

Some concrete panels that make up the road surface will be replaced or repaired.

About 33,000 vehicles a day travel on Bayshore. The boulevard's 3.1 miles of uninterrupted sidewalk also makes the scenic highway popular with cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.

But the mix of pedestrians and vehicles sometimes has produced volatile results.

"The traffic is so loud you can't hear the bicycles coming. I've almost been hit. I know friends who've been hit," said Krisztina Lestak, 33, who lives on Harbour Island and jogs on Bayshore Boulevard four times a week. "You have to be very careful."

For 10 years, city officials, cycling enthusiasts and Bayshore homeowners have debated ways to make Bayshore safer.

In 2004, after a jogger was killed by a motorcycle, Mayor Pam Iorio created a safety task force to recommend changes.

A sidewalk was added to the boulevard's southbound side and a traffic signal installed at Howard Avenue.

In 2009, traffic engineers, working with neighborhood groups unveiled a more comprehensive plan called the Bayshore Boulevard Enhancement Project.

The work scheduled to start this month stems from that plan.

"The idea is to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, so it's not a free-for-all out there," city transportation division manager Jean Dorzback said.

"Between the left-turn bays and having a less-wide roadway, those are conditions that cause drivers to go at a lower speed."

The seven-month project, which is funded by state gasoline taxes, is the first of three phases to improve Bayshore between Platt Street and Gandy Boulevard.

The second phase, from Rome to Howard, is funded at about $2 million and is set to take place in 2014.

The third phase, from Howard to Gandy, has not been funded and isn't scheduled yet.

"As far as the plan, it made sense to us," said Guy King, president of Bayshore Boulevard Homeowners Association, which provided input to the safety plan.

"Lowering the number of lanes will help with traffic calming. And having the bike lanes will help,'' he said. "You can't have bicycles on the sidewalk and runners on the sidewalk and walkers on the sidewalk. Hopefully, this will help out."

The city said the boulevard will remain open during construction, but the work will require periodic lane closures.

Construction on Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard set to start 02/19/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 28, 2011 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again

    Cooking

    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.
  3. What you need to know for Monday, Sept. 25

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Craig Butz, executive director of Pepin Academies and former professional hockey player, died in a crash with a boat Saturday. His daughter Teagan, 4, remained in critical condition Sunday afternoon. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   TIMES, 2013]
  4. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.