Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ybor City hopes connector will ease traffic woes

YBOR CITY — Ask the right person in Historic Ybor and they'll tell you a tale of a neighborhood divided.

In the western half, businesses, condos and bars flourish, while the east is mostly industrial.

The dividing line is a pair of streets clogged by semitrailer trucks, which some say detract from the district's historic feel.

But relief is on the way.

The only question is how long will it take?

Hope has taken the form of an elevated bypass that would let trucks and other traffic travel from the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway to Interstate 4 without touching an Ybor road.

Many hope the bypass, called a connector, comes sooner rather than later.

Originally slated to begin construction next year, the connector would have been completed by 2014. But budget cuts threaten to delay it. The $521 million project was to be funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Turnpike Enterprise and the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, according to a DOT Web site.

A delay is unacceptable to officials at the Port of Tampa and in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. The chamber recently called for a letter-writing campaign asking for stimulus money for the project.

The chamber sees the Crosstown connector project as a boon to the economy. It's also an essential part of infrastructure for a city set to boom as soon as the recession ends.

For port officials the problem lies a bit farther away.

The Panama Canal is set to finish a widening project, which, like the connector, is also expected to wrap up in 2014. A wider canal means more business for ports on the Gulf Coast, said port spokesman Andy Fobes.

"(The canal) is a huge factor in our growth," he said.

Currently, about 11,000 trucks either enter or leave the port daily, and many of them use 21st and 22nd streets as a throughway to Interstate 4. This number promises to increase once the canal is complete because the port will get more business. Each container of goods or oil, for instance, is transported by truck.

These trucks, officials say, already take a toll on the road. In some cases, they have hit businesses, said Tony LaColla, president of the Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association.

"The Columbia (Restaurant) has been hit a number of times. It's only a matter of time until there's major damage or someone is killed," said LaColla.

For now, officials with District 7 of the DOT are committed to seeing the connector completed as soon as possible. They said recently that they hoped to have funding figured out by the end of this week.

"This is our No. 1 priority," said spokeswoman Kris Carson.

Joshua Neiderer can be reached at jneiderer@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

Ybor City hopes connector will ease traffic woes 03/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Stop talking and start building a new Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was good to see Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, talking Rays baseball and the hope for a new stadium somewhere in Tampa Bay.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is popular with the media on a visit to Tropicana Field.
  2. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. What do kids need to stay away from deadly auto theft epidemic?

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — More than a dozen black teenagers told U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist on Wednesday that children need stronger mentors and youth programs to steer clear of the auto theft epidemic plaguing Pinellas County.

    Congressman Charlie Crist (center) listens as Shenyah Ruth (right), a junior at Northeast High School, talks during Wednesday's youth roundtable meeting with community leaders and kids. They met to discuss the ongoing car theft epidemic among Pinellas youth and how law enforcement, elected officials, and community organizations can work together to put an end to this dangerous trend. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  5. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.