Issue 19        


Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) eNews 

January 2016  


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Airport construction takes off
In the last issue of Rubber Meets the Road, the Tampa International Airport Master Plan was featured. Since that article, the new consolidated car rental center is well underway!  450 workers have been busy building the 2.6 million square foot center, and progress is obvious as seen above.

The consolidated car rental center, relocates services away from the main terminal, eliminating 8,500 rental car trips on George Bean Parkway, and will allow rental cars to be ready, returned, stored and maintained on the same 56-acre site. This significantly improves efficiency for rental car operators. When the automated people mover, also planned in Phase I, connects the car rental center to the main terminal, busing can be eliminated freeing up more curbside lanes.

The phased-approach to implementing the Master Plan takes advantage of limited resources being applied to the highest needs at the airport.  Support for the important projects are demonstrated in the MPO's Transportation Improvement Program which shows the greatest dollars to any local transportation agencies allocated to the Aviation Authority.

More Aviation Authority Good News!

The Airport operated smoothly throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, with 88%  of passengers waiting < 10 minutes at TSA checkpoints.

October 2015 was the busiest October on record at TIA, with the airport serving nearly 1.5 million passengers, an 8% increase over the previous October.

The Aviation Authority Board approved new parking procedures, granting free parking to those with a Disabled Veteran tag! 

Take a virtual tour of Tampa International Airport's expansion! 
Take a virtual tour of Tampa International Airport's expansion!

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Conversion of Cass and Tyler Streets to Two-way Traffic continues
Cass Street Coversion Map
The City of Tampa continues to advance projects from the MPO's Walk-Bike Plans into built facilities. Construction is under way transforming Cass Street and Tyler Street from the Hillsborough River to Nebraska Avenue into two-way streets. New to our community will be the first barrier-separated cycle path that will also be added along the south side of Cass from Doyle Carlton to Nebraska Avenue. The converted two-way Cass Street and Tyler Street will help restore the downtown street grid, improve local access, and transform Cass Street into a central spine as outlined in the Invision Tampa Center City Plan.
On December 11, 2015, the first segment of the two-way project was implemented. Cass Street and Tyler Street between the Hillsborough River and Ashley Drive are now two-way streets. Motorists traveling Ashley Drive are now able to turn west on Cass Street and drive over the Cass Street bridge.
Motorists will continue to be able to use Tyler Street westbound to access the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the Times Building, and the Barrymore Hotel. Visitors dropping off at the Glazer Children's Museum and at the Tampa Museum of Art that are exiting from I-275 onto Ashley Drive will be able to use Cass Street westbound to Doyle Carlton Drive. Part of the downtown cycle path (also called the "green spine") will be completed in this area; however, it will not be open for use until the entire green spine is completed in late 2016.

Anyone who would like to receive construction updates is asked to please email the request to:

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FDOT embraces Complete Streets
Roadway engineering is a precise profession.  Most of us have no idea that the roads we use started with a long mathematical equation of slopes, speeds, widths, clearances, and other dimensions.  Yet as exact and consistent as designs have been over the years, things do change even in traffic engineering, and a new and innovative approach to designing roads is emerging.

Behind the change is the need to design for the movement of people who aren't in the typical motor vehicle but walking, taking public transportation, and bicycling.  And the recognition that a one-size-fits-all design doesn't work for all road types especially when taking into account dynamic communities.  A road lined with shops in a residential neighborhood doesn't need to function like one running through an industrial or rural area.

The Complete Streets Implementation Plan is a bold step to changing the traditional approach, with the intended outcome to improve safety for everyone and improve comfort for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The implementation plan zeroes in on powerful documents that control the daily decisions made by roadway engineers, and prescribes precisely how those documents - and their outcomes - need to be changed. One of the documents that will incorporate a complete streets approach in the Florida Green Book, the "bible" of traffic engineers. What before were countless details that worked against good streets will at last be changed, swapping the obsolete wider-and-faster-is-better mentality for a more sensible, more humane, smarter way of looking at street design. 

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Gandy Boulevard update
If you haven't traveled to St. Petersburg via Gandy Boulevard in Pinellas County lately, you may not recognize where you are. Trees have been cleared, utilities relocated and mounds of dirt are transforming into an elevated roadway from east of 4th Street to I-275. $120 million has been dedicated for the grade-separated intersection at Roosevelt and Gandy Boulevard - a major bottle neck that will now be eased by a continuous connection over to I-275.
A similar proposal for the 1.6 mile gap in Hillsborough County between the Selmon Expressway and the Gandy Bridge has been discussed by the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority Board.  The proposal, called the Selmon West Extension, is part of the draft Strategic Plan and calls for a toll lane above the median of Gandy Boulevard.  The idea is to allow a choice for local residents to use Gandy Boulevard for local destinations and regional travelers to use the Selmon Extension for a direct connection to the Gandy Bridge.  The goal is a more efficient and safer evacuation route, to reduce intersection traffic on Gandy Boulevard, and to provide an important link for businesses, freight and people across the bay.  In developing the MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan, a survey was conducted in 2012 indicating support for the elevated roadway by a majority of people living within a mile of the Gandy corridor.

Visit the Selmon Extension on the web or email for more information.

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Selmon Greenway going green!
THEA's Board has approved a $2.5 million for enhancements to the Selmon Greenway. As part of THEA's ongoing commitment to the region, they are upgrading and enhancing the Selmon Greenway with no tax dollars used for enhancements! Upgrades to the greenway will include pocket parks, bike racks, landscaping and other amenities. Lighting additions will improve safety and visibility; while benches and public art will really enhance the experience for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

Already, the authority is adding signs to direct people on foot and wheels to the 15-foot wide trail.
The Selmon Greenway extends 1.7 miles under the Selmon Expressway, providing a vital east-west connection across downtown. The greenway connects many of downtown Tampa's popular entertainment, educational, and business venues. It will also provide opportunities for stormwater improvements. All of the multi-use trail will be readily accessible and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Selmon Greenway is a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city!

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Sprucing up Spruce Street
Spruce Street Existing Conditions
If you're headed to the Home Depot to work on the honey-do list, or to Total Wine to celebrate the end of the honey-do list (as if there is ever an end), you've probably experienced traffic difficulties in the area of Spruce Street and Dale Mabry Highway. The City of Tampa has recognized the issues, studied the traffic characteristics, developed concepts to address the concerns, and are starting design. The intention is to recommend a phased approach for a number of safety and operational improvements along Spruce Street from Hesperides to Dale Mabry.

To address the lack of connectivity, sidewalks and sharrows are being recommended as well as a possible midblock crossing with raised median to access HART bus stop. To improve traffic flow and business access, the study will look at adding continuous two way left turn lanes, increase turn lane storage, reorganizing lanes and extending Spruce Street to Hesperides Street.

For more information, contact City of Tampa Director of Planning and Design, Ben Money, P.E.

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Know before you fly your drone!

It's hard to keep up with the latest fad - pet rocks, Elmo, boomboxes - add leaps and bounds in technology, and your head will spin. The new must-have gift? Not a phone or gaming system...a drone. The Federal Aviation Administration expects one million drones will be sold by the beginning of 2016...yes, one million, and increasing with time. There are drones for drone races, drones outfitted with thermal cameras for search and rescue operations, drones for police surveillance, drones use for agriculture use, and one company that claims it's building a drone delivery system, like Amazon prime, but for e-commerce companies.

As many things before - calculators, computers, iPhones, PlayStations - there are safety and security concerns with having drones hovering in the skies. The FAA is developing regulations starting with registering drones over a certain weight and providing guidelines for owners. Also, check out Tampa International Airport's tips and flying restrictions.

Know before you fly: How to safely operate your drone! 
Know before you fly:  
How to safely operate your drone!

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Through a partnership with Operator, the chat-based shopping assistant, Uber and Operator could compete with Amazon for instant delivery from local, nearby shops.  The service is called UberRush. The partnership could eventually bring one-hour delivery to businesses across the country without them having to even think about it. All shoppers do is send Operator a text request for something they want, Operator finds and buys it for them, and an UberRush courier picks it up and delivers it in an hour.

The Operator app connects you over chat with human experts in clothing, electronics, gifts, and other areas. Say what you want, they do the research and send purchase options, and you just confirm what you want to buy over text. The opportunity here is that local UberRush cars picking up items from the closest local seller could potentially do faster, more scalable instant delivery than Amazon. The e-commerce giant trucks have to retrieve items from fulfillment centers that could be far away from the buyer.

UberRush has said it keeps 20% to 25% of delivery fees and gives the rest to the courier, implying the retailer and Operator won't earn a cut. But UberRush makes Operator more convenient, allowing it to route more purchases to retailers.

Watch the UberRush video.
Watch the UberRush video.

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ePublications & eNews from our agency are always associated with an email address ending in:


New year. New look_
In this Issue
TIA construction
Cass-Tyler redesign
FDOT embraces Complete Streets
Gandy update
Selmon Greenway improvements
Sprucing up Spruce St
Know before you fly your drone!
Upcoming Meetings & Events 
Jan 11, 2016

Jan 13, 2016

Jan 14, 2016

Jan 20, 2016

Jan 20, 2016

MPO Policy
Jan 26, 2016

MPO Board 
Feb 2, 2016 


Tampa Bay Express

Public Workshops
Time, location,
and topics vary.

Date       Workshop focus 

JAN 19 - Series 1 Summary

JAN 25 - Downtown Tampa

FEB   2 - West River

FEB 13 - Youth Charrette

FEB 16 - Seminole Heights

FEB 22 - Tampa Heights

FEB 29 - Ybor/East Tampa





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