Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ideas for fixing up U.S. 19 corridor range from the realistic to the wacky

CLEARWATER — So U.S. 19 is yours. You can do with it what you want.

What would you add, redesign, remove? (If, you know, "other drivers" is not an option.)

That's the question the city put to commuters about one of its most notorious roadways, now undergoing a $200 million makeover.

Officials want to spruce up the sprawling muck of strip malls that runs along the highway, and are paying a consultant $130,000 for help with some big ideas.

But some of the more interesting — and perhaps improbable — ideas have come from the commuters themselves, through a city-organized "virtual town hall" at myus19plan.com.

Many are mundane — wider lanes, fewer stoplights — while others tend toward the fanciful or futuristic.

One person suggested building a mountain bike park with earthen nature trails near the highway. Another suggested installing "piezoelectric sensors" that convert road vibrations into electricity.

Officials shared some early ideas at an open house this week and will present them to the City Council on Monday.

Their ideas have tended toward a more general transformation, like focusing investment on big U.S. 19 crossroads like Countryside and Gulf-to-Bay boulevards and Sunset Point, Belleair and Curlew roads.

Commuters' ideas, however, are all over the map. People suggested everything from "opening the valve" with better-synchronized stoplights and changing "goofy laws on signage" that make it hard to find where you're going, to uprooting one specific "Stonehenge of power poles" near Seville Drive.

The road itself, some suggested, could use a carpool lane, and the underpasses could be prettied up with lights and landscaping. Some just wanted the city to tear down the dead shopping plazas and gas stations that gunk up the roadsides.

Several ideas focused on mass transit, with suggestions to add bus lanes for loading and unloading passengers, or expanding the range of the waterfront Jolley Trolley. One person suggested building an elevated monorail system, like the one at Walt Disney World, in the median with tram stops every half-mile.

Pedestrians were part of the action, too, with ideas for road-crossing overpasses and more tree canopies for sidewalk shade. One respondent recommended installing "moving sidewalks," so you wouldn't need your car when going shopping next door.

One suggestion was "more people-places of inviting sidewalks, gateways, art, plazas, parks, portals and markets." Another, a "free cement skatepark" close to Westfield Countryside Mall.

There's no promise any of the 75 or so ideas posted by drivers since March will become part of the city's plan. Some have a better chance than others.

One driver had a different idea about how to improve the highway.

"Driver's licenses," she said, "are too easily renewed."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or dharwell@tampabay.com. Send letters to the editor at tampabay.com/letters.

Ideas for fixing up U.S. 19 corridor range from the realistic to the wacky 05/31/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa girl, 4, dies of gunshot reaching for candy

    News

    TAMPA — One day last week, 4-year-old Yanelly Zoller reached into her grandmother's purse looking for candy, her father says.

    Nelly Zoller snuggles with her grandfather's dog, Venus. Her father says she went looking for candy in her grandmother's purse and found a gun instead. [Facebook]
  2. Mikhail Sergachev begins real Lightning audition vs. Carolina Hurricanes

    Lightning Strikes

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The spotlight will remain on Mikhail Sergachev throughout the Lightning preseason.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) on the ice during hockey training camp in preparation for the 2017-2018 season in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  3. Tampa police search for man in connection to Sunday killing (w/ video)

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police released surveillance video of a man they believe might have information about a Sunday morning fatal shooting.

  4. Pinellas announces Hurricane Irma make-up day

    Blogs

    The Pinellas County school district has announced how it will make up one of the seven school days missed by Hurricane Irma.

    Residents make their way into Joseph L. Carwise Middle School to shelter ahead of Hurricane Irma Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 in Palm Harbor. The storm is forecasted to affect the Tampa Bay area overnight with winds subsiding Monday.
  5. Hooper: Hillsborough marks 100th anniversary of historic photo collection

    Columns

    Everyone ends up with a favorite.

    Or two or three or 10.

    Rest assured, no one who adores Tampa Bay, appreciates art or cherishes history can explore the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection without storing at least one snapshot in the mental scrapbook.

    Part of the Burgert Brothers collection now featured through the Hillsborough Public Library shows a beer garden on Central Avenue in Tampa from July 1942. [Burgert Brothers collection]