Scattered Clouds62° FULL FORECASTScattered Clouds62° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page

Michael Van Sickler, Tampa Bay Times

Michael Van Sickler

Michael has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2003. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, he graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and got his master's degree at the University of Florida. He has worked at the Ledger and the Palm Beach Post. For the Times, he has covered everything from mortgage fraud, growth and development in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg City Hall and state government in Tallahassee. He's now assistant metro editor for the paper.

Phone: (727) 580-9650.


Twitter: @MikeVanSickler

  1. Shocker: I-4 near Tampa's downtown one of 50 worst bottlenecks


    As anyone who's driven Interstate 4 near downtown Tampa knows, it's pretty bad.

    How bad?

    According to a study by the American Highway Users Alliance of America's urban freeways, it's one of the nation's worst bottlenecks, which are portions of highways that are routinely and consistently congested. ...

    Looking east from the Interstate 275 junction with Interstate 4 during a particularly bad rush hour in 2006.
  2. Single women with cats flock to Tampa Bay


    Yes, believe it. Nielsen Scarborough, the market research firm, has ranked the cities with the highest percentage of single women who live alone with at least one cat.

    No, really. 

    And Tampa/St. Petersburg ranks ninth at 7.5 percent, just a wee bit behind Minneapolis/St. Paul and Harrisburg, PA, with 7.7 percent. No. 1 is, of course, Portland, with 9.9 percent....

  3. Study: Minor increase in bike use would save U.S. trillions


    As the 25th anniversary of the Pinellas Trail approaches, it's important to remember that when it debuted, only three other locales had something like it. Now, more than 1,000 cities do.

    With bike share programs now provided by Tampa, and perhaps soon in St. Petersburg, bike use should only go up, here and nationally.

    And that would be very good news, according to a University of California, Davis report released this month....

  4. VIDEO: All aboard Brightline! (No, not you, Tampa Bay)


    Renderings were unveiled Monday of the privately owned and operated passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando that's set to debut in mid-2017.
    The company building it, All Aboard Florida, also unveiled the name: Brightline.

    So glory in all the possibilities express rail (it's not high-speed rail) will bring to Central and South Florida. The Miami New Times has a pretty good summary of the project here. The Sun-Sentinel's review ("bold look!") is here. ...

    This won't be stopping in Tampa Bay
  5. High-speed rail hangover: Tampa Bay continues to miss out on U.S. DOT money


    It sure was a bitter setback last month when Pinellas County learned it was denied a $19.1 million federal grant for the Pinellas Trail.

    The 47-mile bike trail seems like just the type of project the U.S. Department of Transportation likes to finance through a program started in 2009 to provide support for transit, bike, pedestrian, rail, ports and other type of infrastructure not typically funded through regular work plans (read roads)....

  6. Interactive: Mapping traffic fatalities (Tampa Bay stands out)


    We know all about how Tampa Bay ranks No. 2 in the number of pedestrian fatalities

    Ever wonder what all that mayhem in the streets looks like from space?

    The planning website Planetizen has found this: Max Galka at Metrocosm, a website that analyzes data and statistics, has mapped 373,377 points on a map of the United States. Each point represents a person who died in a vehicle crash between 2004 and 2013. It's interactive, so information about each crash will appear as you zoom closer. (Here's a guide)....

  7. Here's something that Tampa does better than Charlotte


    It can become tiresome to continually write about how Charlotte is growing in ways that Tampa is not.

    There are all those car-free options. During big events, it can show itself off better than Tampa. There have been all of those Chamber of Commerce field trips, too....

  8. Check it out Tampa Bay: Here's how federal rail money is being spent in Denver


    It's been more than four years since Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal money to build a high-speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando.

    Not only is it maddening to imagine where the project would be (near completion? another six months? already open?) if Scott hadn't killed the project. But it feels like a gut punch, every few weeks or so, to read about another city reaping the rewards that easily could have been spent right here in Tampa Bay....

    Denver Union Station
  9. Rising sea levels: Now playing in Miami Beach


    New studies showing how rising sea levels will wash across Florida have gained a lot of attention lately.

    "The potential magnitude of sea level rise is staggering," said Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University climate researcher who is on the board of Climate Central and says he offered comment on a version of a recent study. "In the short term, it risks serious disruption of life along the coast while in the long term, it could lead to obliteration of a large and priceless amount of our cultural heritage, worldwide."...

  10. Yes, now they're blaming millennials for potholes


    It sure is popular to blame those born between 1982 to 2000 for a host of problems.

    For a generation faced with a bad job market and mounting college debt, the millennials are by now used to getting lectured by Baby Boomers (who are blameless for any of this, of course). 

    But it does seems a tad harsh to chide millennials for problems beyond their control. Big college debts will temper whatever they'll be able to afford on other things, like homes and cars. And yes, that does hurt an economy that's too dependent on mindless consumerism....

  11. What Donald Trump hath wrought in Miami Beach: Height limits and the boutique boom


    Alexei Barrionuevo has a fascinating column in Curbed that looks at how height limits are changing Miami Beach.

    After Donald Trump and others lobbied for tall buildings (in Trump's case a 100-story hotel-casino), residents pushed back, forcing city officials to impose height restrictions in the late 1990s.

    Nearly 20 years later, the result, Barrionuevo writes, is a "botique boom". Tall buildings are out. Modestly-sized, but exorbitantly-priced luxury condos designed by starchitects like Renzo Piano are in....

  12. As millennials redefine the American Dream, here's how other regions are adapting


    Signs that millennials are going to reshape the American landscape are abundant.

    As Salon wrote this weekend, average vehicle miles traveled dropped 2,400 miles a year in 2009 compared to their same-age predecessors in 2001, opting for more bike trips, public transit and walking. This is a big deal, noted Sam Schwartz....

    Over the next six decades, the plan being developed by the Mormon church-owned Deseret Ranch promises to convert the largest undeveloped section of metro Orlando into more than a dozen bustling neighborhoods.
  13. Hey St. Pete, look at what Detroit is doing with earth worms


    Here at Bay Buzz, we just want to help.

    Take the August rains that swamped the bay area, leading to massive sewage overflows. St. Petersburg had more than 31 million gallons of wastewater overflow because the rain water leaked into the city's aging sewage pipes....

  14. It just got easier to add bike lanes on Tampa Bay roads


    The U.S. DOT is easing regulations for federal roads with speeds of less than 50 mph that would allow for more design options, such as introducing bike lanes. 

    “This proposed policy change will give states and communities the opportunity to be more innovative in designing their local projects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It will help us to build more quality projects that will not only provide more travel options for people, but also support and unite communities across America.”...

  15. Deaths in auto crashes decline, but not for everyone, study says


    It's been deadly out there on Hillsborough County roads the last couple of days.

    A 17-year-old Chamberlain High Student died Tuesday when she was hit crossing Busch Boulevard. A 43-year-old Brandon man was killed on U.S. 301 when his pickup truck crashed into a light pole. On Monday, a 67-year-old Riverview man was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Orient Road. ...

    Accident investigators gather at the scene of an accident that killed a Chamberlain High student on her way to school Tuesday morning on Busch Boulevard in Tampa.