Advertisement
  1. News

Carlton: Tampa Heights is exploding! And we can learn from it.

The Hall on Franklin is a restaurant collective with some of the biggest names in the city's food scene. It is part of the commercial boom transforming Tampa Heights. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
The Hall on Franklin is a restaurant collective with some of the biggest names in the city's food scene. It is part of the commercial boom transforming Tampa Heights. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published May 2, 2018

Tampa Heights is exploding.

It's on fire.

It's killing it.

And a lot of other over-the-top cliches.

Inevitably, the steamrolling success of downtown Tampa — parks, bars, residences, restaurants, boat taxis, the Riverwalk — is pushing north of Interstate 275 into Tampa Heights, known as the city's first suburb. Its historic red brick streets are now officially the site of Tampa's Next Big Thing.

Already, people are spilling into the restored trolley barn full of restaurants, Armature Works, into the loud and rowdy food hall on Franklin Street, over to Ulele restaurant in the pretty park, to breweries and coffee shops. People are running, biking, and walking dogs — dog walking being the surest sign that a place is officially there.

Doesn't matter that much if it still looks like a dusty construction site — dirt piles, orange traffic barrels, ripped-up streets, road-closed signs — like the party got started before we had the chance to clean up. This is Tampa, where we've been waiting for this kind of respectful blend of history and development for a long time. We'll take it.

Now here's the trick: not letting success get away from Tampa Heights when it comes to parking, walkability, traffic and noise.

S Howard Avenue, anyone? Because there are lessons in the popularity of that South Tampa strip crowded with some of the city's busiest restaurants and bars, lessons that are reverberating in Hyde Park and other neighborhoods around it.

Turned out people who came to party also wanted to park, but so did residents who found their historic (and historically narrow) streets jammed. There's music from bars. There's traffic. These are neighborhoods used to having the ear of city leaders who have worked to make it work.

Can the city manage to manage Tampa Heights?

Already, parking can be at a premium even with Armature's vast lot. Some of the more popular venues have wisely added valet service. (Valet! Tampa Heights has arrived, or at least re-arrived from its former heyday.)

But once those new apartments called the Pearl fill with hipsters eager to take advantage of all those Heights venues, how long before people on surrounding neighborhood streets start feeling the parking and traffic pinch?

Palm Avenue, an east-west connector and alternative to oft-jammed Columbus Drive, has already been put on a "road diet" — the official term of the moment — taking it down from four lanes to two with bike lanes added. Good for people, not so much for cars.

And speaking of walkability, it's nice when you're strolling along the water on the Riverwalk. But dare go east to the Hall on Franklin or that gem of a relocated bookstore, Inkwood, and you'll find precious few crosswalks thus far. Getting to the other side of the NASCAR track into the downtown that is Tampa Street remains a dicey proposition.

Sure does seems like a good time to move forward on the idea of extending the streetcar system north from downtown, doesn't it?

So: Go, Tampa Heights. Here's to the dust clearing on the old and new in a place where we can hopefully learn from the past.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Andre Clemens, 24, was arrested on two counts of attempted murder, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Tampa police. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
    Andre Clemens faces two counts of attempted murder. Tampa police have said little about the shooting near E Fowler Avenue.
  2. Richard Sajko of Valrico talks about how he killed one of the two bears on the back of his pickup truck in 2015 during the first Florida Black Bear hunt in 21 years at the Rock Springs Run Wildlife Management Area near Lake Mary. The hunt was so controversial that state officials have not held a second one. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
    But commissioners leave the door open for future hunts in next decade
  3. Frontier Communications this week launched tools to combat robocalls better. Pictured is a Frontier flag flies outside Frontier's regional office in Tampa in 2015. [Times file photo]
    The internet, phone and cable provider will help its customers better identify spam and fraudulent calls.
  4. Tampa Electric Co. customers will see a reduction in their rate for next year. Pictured is the utility's headquarters in Tampa in 2017. | [Chris Urso | Times (2017)] [URSO, CHRIS  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The reduction comes because of a drop in Florida’s corporate tax rate.
  5. James Dailey, 73, faces execution for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. [Times]
    In a series of written orders, U.S. District Judge William Jung rejected appeals from lawyers who argue James Dailey is innocent of a 1985 Pinellas County murder.
  6. FILE - This Nov. 1, 2018, file photo, shows the Google logo at their offices in Granary Square, London. [ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP]
    Google search data reveals what topics people in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area were most curious about this year.
  7. An Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Navy Seaman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. A Saudi gunman killed three people including Haitham in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) [CLIFF OWEN  |  AP]
    Foreign citizens are allowed to buy guns if they first get a hunting license
  8. This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.   The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders.  (Time via AP) [AP]
    She rose to fame after cutting class in August 2018 to protest climate change.
  9. Javarick Henderson Jr., 13, seen on a video screen at his first appearance hearing on Wednesday. A grand jury indicted the boy as an adult on a charge of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his grandmother, and his case is now being handled by the adult court system. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Javarick Henderson Jr., 13, was indicted last week on a first-degree murder charge.
  10. The new Maydell Drive Bridge will be a multi-use bridge to cater to cars, bicyclists and pedestrians with travel lanes, 8-foot shoulders, and a barrier-separated 5' sidewalk & 10' trail. [Hillsborough County]
    Hillsborough County closed the bridge in December 2015 after an independent engineering study found it was structurally unsound.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement