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Roundup 5-6-2016

May 6, 2016


Goodbye, Tribune

Transportation – Time to Move On

— Some Ideas

— What Do We Have?

— What Do They Want?

— Searching for That Vision Thing

— City Tax: Not Sold

— One Possible Future Foretold

— An Idea Worth Exploring

— Conclusion

Transportation – TBX: Enter the Tampa Bay Partnership

— Welcome to Your Future

TIA – Breaking Records and Moving Forward

Transportation – Blowback

Built Environment – What We Do Not Need

South Tampa – Odd

Thoughts on a Park

List of the Week


Goodbye, Tribune

As most probably already know, the Times bought the Tribune this week.  For us, this is sad in a number of ways.  First, it is sad to lose a longtime institution and sad for the employees.  Second, it is sad to lose another news source that, at least potentially, offered a different view and different reporting (hopefully the old article links will be maintained). While the Tribune’s wasn’t always the most eloquent voice and we did not always agree with it, the fewer the news outlets, regardless of their survivors’ good intentions, the more the risk that the news and commentary will be a monologue that will simply reflect one political faction.

Nevertheless, business is business and times change.  We shall see what happens.

Transportation – Time to Move On

Last week, Go Hillsborough died. We were always ambivalent about it – actually we very much disliked the process; we were ambivalent about the proposal.  It lacked a full plan (even the city’s rail lacked any details), it was too road-centric, and, as the County Commission pretty much admitted by adding a provision late in the game, it was not coordinated with the other transportation planning and studies going on.  So, while we thought people should get to vote, they didn’t. Now, it’s dead. (Frankly, we are not mourning that mess.) Time to move on.

The first thing to note is that the streetcar study, the transit study, and a few other studies still have to be done (another reason Go Hillsborough was not a very good idea), though not highway study.  Therefore, there is a little time.  What to do with that time?

Another community leader opposed to the [Go Hillsborough] plan, Bill Carlson, said “our community must move forward from here to develop a comprehensive plan. It has to be more than a list; it has to be specific and show how these projects tie into the region in a real plan.” He added that the “process has to build consensus in a transparent way.”

Sounds about right.

— Some Ideas

Not surprisingly, we have a few suggestions.

— What Do We Have?

First, identify all possible means of funding other than a sales tax.  That is what Orlando did.  We suggested doing so a long time ago to no avail. (See, from 2011, here and here.)  Now, it is time to do it.  What do we have?  What can we use? What will we need?

Here are some possible funding sources (we are sure there are more):

In order to fund the projects commissioners just last week said are necessary, they need about $91 million a year. So where will the money come from?

Here are some options:

If all those options are approved — and that’s a big “if” — together those measures could raise $47 million annually.

But the county would still be $44 million short of the $91 million commissioners agree they need for transportation every year for the next decade.

We understand this does not cover the whole wish list from Go Hillsborough (though much of that list was questionable anyway).  On the other hand, it may cover half, which is something. (We get that there will be peaks and valleys in growth – but that goes with sales tax, too.)  You have to start somewhere.  And if other areas can find the money, we can, too.  And that does not foreclose going back for a sales tax at some point (even relatively soon) if there is a real, full vision.

Finally, don’t backtrack on the one thing you have already done:

Meanwhile, Commissioner Sandy Murman, who also voted against the plan, said developers are getting uneasy with the new mobility fees commissioners approved last week that charges more for construction and growth. That ordinance made the fees considerably higher if the county failed to pass a sales tax hike.

Cutting what funding there is will only make the problem even worse and dump all the costs on the taxpayer. (And also makes us question even more what is going on with that sales tax discount in the mobility fee plan.)

— What Do They Want?

Second, find out what people really want, because, aside from lacking a vision, there was also a feeling of this:

Like other opponents, Calvert complained the Go Hillsborough process was flawed, with county leaders pushing the half-cent sales tax without regard for other measures. Commissioners instead should look at the county budget and prioritize transportation spending, Calvert said — a policy Murman and Crist have supported.

Public relations Bill Carlson, a Democrat who lobbied against Go Hillsborough, echoed Calvert in faulting the county administration for pushing a sales tax as the only solution to the transportation backlog.

“The feeling from many of the people who attended the meetings was the process was more about selling than listening,” Carlson said. “It can’t be a sales job; it’s got to be based on a consensus and community input.”

There is something to the comments (though we see no evidence that the Tea Party really wants actual transportation solutions.  We are open to being convinced they do.).  There will always be opponents to any plan.  We get that.  But what constituency did Go Hillsborough really appeal to?  It was not appealing to transit supporters.  It was not appealing to transit opponents.  It did not appeal to the Sierra Club.  It did not appeal to the Tea Party. You could argue that by appealing to no one it showed it balance.  Or you could find that it just really was a mish-mash of ideas with no vision, no connecting concept, and no real base of support other than people just wanting something done – which is what it did.  But just doing something is not really good enough. If you are going to do it, do it right.

It seems the people may agree. As we noted a few weeks ago, one recent poll had a very interesting finding:

When asked if the plan goes too far or not far enough in solving the area’s traffic crisis, 54 percent said it did not go far enough, whereas 24 percent said it did goes too far.

Apparently, the quite expensive, outside consultants that were the source of much controversy may have missed the mark.

As noted by the Tribune’s homespun columnist (we wonder what will happen to him now):

We’ve done some good things … I mean, not just hockey in Tampa, but a shot at still another Stanley Cup. Who could have imagined?

❖ ❖ ❖

Now the county is considering a move that might make all this come together and work, something called “Go Hillsborough” — basically a half-cent transportation tax.

I don’t like it. In the end it only would be an extension of road improvements and better buses. It’s not in the same ball park as some of our larger dreams and it leaves Tampa and Hillsborough stagnated, still poorly connected to the rest of our widely dispersed region.

It’s not too late to go back to the drawing board, drag out some of that imagination that has brought us this far, and create a smart, connected plan for moving people around this special place.

He’s right.  Go big.  But do it while addressing the needs and the public’s lack of faith that the government will do what it says.  Get rid of the faith-based approach.  There needs to be a real plan with both details and an over-arching vision.  And it needs to be coordinated, not just have people hope it is coordinated.

And while you are finding out what people want, ditch the idea of expensive consultants doing it.  Eliminate that self-inflicted wound (we still cannot figure out why anyone thought it was a good idea).  It was a massive error that we do not need to repeat.  The less public money handed out to consultants, (aside from being cheaper) the less it seems like a backroom process and the more it looks like honestly trying to develop a real vision and a real plan.

The County should be able to find out what people want using its own means.  That, after all, is their job.  Do it. (See “Transportation – The County Channels Ray Guy”)   We do not need to outsource everything.

And the process needs to be transparent, because, and here is a newsflash (apparently), people in the County (and probably a lot of people in Tampa itself), even people inclined to support transportation, do not trust what they view as the (south) Tampa political establishment.  Right or wrong, that’s the way it is.  Ignore it at your peril.

Finally, outside of government, maybe those interested in the subject from all sides should sit down and see if they can hash out some consensus. (Maybe they can’t but there is no harm in trying.)

— Searching for That Vision Thing

Third, now that we have some time, let’s hear what various elected officials actually are contemplating.  For instance, the Mayor has been talking about rail for 5 years in office.

Crist said Buckhorn’s insistence that only a 30-year tax would suffice helped kill support on the commission for a 10- or 20-year tax. The Republican commissioner said the Democratic mayor did not supply enough details about where the rail line would go, how it would be operated, and what the ridership would be.

“I’m not saying I don’t like his ideas; I share his vision,” Crist said. “I’m just saying I want more comfort and more security that you would find in a well-thought-out master plan that we haven’t seen provided yet.”

Planning for mass transit as Tampa leaders envision it takes six to eight years, Buckhorn said, and couldn’t be completed in time for a November referendum. In any case, Buckhorn said, the absence of a master plan should not have been grounds for denying voters the chance to vote on the Go Hillsborough tax.

It may be that a full master plan could not be created yet though it is well past time we get some details of the vision (not necessarily full blown details but at least what is contemplated, where – you know those maps with a really fat highlighter line on them – some basic ideas for alignment.  Is it down the interstate or a normal street? And at least who is he thinks is going to run it. At least what he would like to see, contingent on the studies.)  So far, the people who are supposed to pay for it have seen nothing.  Vagueness kills. Surprises do not help. Let’s see what is being contemplated.

And Commissioners should say what they really think.  Be leaders.  If you like rail, say so.  If you don’t, say so.  If you think a plan in stages makes sense, say so. But stop equivocating. Yes, you may catch some flack, but that is what leaders do.  No idea is universally acclaimed. And, once again, that is your job.

It is also worth remembering that no one has a monopoly on good ideas.  Let’s see what people can come up with.

— City Tax: Not Sold

Last week, we said we may have to reconsider our opposition to the city tax.  But, the more we think about it, the less we are sold on the city tax.  Now that there is delay, CSX can be studied.  As we have said many times, there are many people living in the county far closer to the urban core than parts of the city.  Coincidentally, the CSX rails run through a number of those neighborhoods. And not everything should have to go through downtown (and wouldn’t with some ideas for connecting from the CSX line around the airport to Westshore.) Why should any system be exclusively for the City?  A good plan can pass, especially if there is creative financing and a transparent process.

And, even if you build a starter line, what then?  What are you starting?

Everything needs to be coordinated – Go Hillsborough did not have any coordination – not even a clear transit station for bus to rail.

— One Possible Future Foretold

And there was an example of why this matters, though admittedly a unique combination of events. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

Yesterday downtown Tampa was an unbelievable place to be. Between the numerous large events like the Riverfest, Lightning game, the musical at the Straz, the Prince event at Tampa Theater, and a cheerleader competition at the convention center, downtown was alive with a sea of people enjoying a beautiful Saturday. It’s the beginning of the sort of exciting urban lifestyle that so many have dreamed of seeing in Tampa for so long.

…Except for one big, big shortcoming.

When Riverfest kicked into high gear for the Balloon Glow after sunset, traffic became virtually gridlocked. With no mass transit alternatives to move people in, out and around downtown that doesn’t count on the same gridlocked streets, the movement of cars came to a virtual standstill.

Our Achilles’ Heel as Jeff Vinik has so aptly put it, is unquestionably our lack of alternatives to driving, especially alternatives that don’t use the same roads cars already do.

From the Tribune – click on picture for article

You can read the comments in that posting to see some of the mess that was created (and the apparent lack of crowd/traffic control by the City).

The Tribune also mentioned the crowds in an editorial (one of its last):

Tampa would not be enjoying this renaissance if leaders had not had the courage to invest in the future, often enduring attacks by the naysayers who railed about the waste of tax dollars.

If Buckhorn and past community leaders had been cowed by such criticism, little would have been done, and downtown Tampa would have continued its decline.

Instead, these leaders — in stark contrast to county Commissioners Sandy Murman, Victor Crist, Al Higginbotham and Stacy White — resolved to look toward the future and continually invested in improvements. They worried more about the community’s welfare than political reprisal.

Now, Tampa is seen throughout the nation as a city on the move, one attracting young workers and new enterprises.

This dazzling outlook is endangered by the inaction of Murman, Crist, Higginbotham and White.

Their failure to put before voters the Go Hillsborough plan to raise the sales tax by a half-cent for transportation improvements means that local gridlock will remain acute.

The commissioners’ neglect not only hurts the county, but handcuffs Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City as well.

Indeed, what that dazzling photograph doesn’t show is the traffic congestion that followed the festivities. Such traffic jams may be unavoidable after major gatherings, but in Hillsborough they’ve become part of the daily routine for far too many residents.

Go Hillsborough would have funded a major expansion of bus service, a rail line from the airport to downtown, and fixed clogged intersections throughout the county. All of which would have made life better for residents in the cities and the county.

First, we agree that Hillsborough County has to keep investing to build the future.  However, the Tribune is off on the details of Go Hillsborough.  It would have done little to nothing to alleviate this particular congestion.  That was a big flaw with the plan, and the reason we were ambivalent about it.  Go Hillsborough was really just a compilation of local plans without coordination and not vision of how to really get people around the county.  It certainly did not get people in and out of downtown. (And, if you like last week’s mess, just wait for the redesigned grid and slowed down traffic in the Lightning owner’s project.  We like the project, but, as we have said for a while, road diets need to be very well thought out or you will choke an area.)

As for the rail in the city, it would have been better if the Tribune pushed for details rather than just counting on rhetoric for the last five years. All those people downtown did not come from just the Westshore to Downtown corridor.  Having real transit there would be good.  We are all for it, but there has to be more.  Especially if the population of the county does approach 2 million in the next few decades, this is just going to get worse – even without so many events. People want to have a city. The demand for an urban experience is there (and has been for years).  There has to be a plan to really serve that demand – which Go Hillsborough and the city rail was not.  You need a true system.

And, as noted by URBN Tampa Bay:

If one thing is clear, it’s that FDOT’s solution to build TBX will only result in more cars being funneled into the same limited space. Congestion will not go down with more cars on our roads, it will only go up.

It is a statement of the obvious (and does not even include that TBX won’t do anything moving people from areas closer in to downtown and Westshore).

— An Idea Worth Exploring

There was also news about another idea, though still involving a sales tax:

Maybe it’s time to try something together, Pinellas County administrator Mark Woodard said Tuesday.

In a meeting with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, Woodard said he’s already had conversations about it with his counterpart in Hillsborough, county administrator Mike Merrill.

The idea is the two county governments would ask their respective voters in the same election year to approve a half cent sales tax increase that would finance a transportation plan that improves services and infrastructure locally and also spans Tampa Bay, finally linking Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

That kind of campaign, Woodard said, could finally lead to a breakthrough.

“The solution to transportation in this area is a regional approach,” he said. “A regional plan that could be brought forward to the voters on both sides of the bay at the same time that shows that partnership, that shows that regional approach to this regional problem, and has common branding and … (a) marketing campaign paid for by the private sector, I think that’s the solution.”

A regional transportation approach makes sense.  Of course, without knowing what the plan is, it is hard to say anything more about it except that it should not be a substitute for looking at other sources of funding or presenting a vision.  This is a start:

But one of the key “no” votes last week, Commissioner Victor Crist, said Woodard’s vision is the kind of approach he could get behind. The next initiative could also incorporate the feasibility assessment of converting CSX rail lines into a regional commuter train service and other transit options that will be studied in the coming years, he said.

“To be able to connect our rail station downtown to the airport, to downtown Clearwater and downtown St. Pete and to the beach is where we need to go in the future,” Crist said. “If we’ve got a plan where Hillsborough and Pinellas are on board, now we take that to the feds, we take that to the state, we take to our local voters, and you start to build grass roots momentum to the bigger picture.”

While it needs to be fleshed out to be a real vision, it is actually more of a vision than anything in the Go Hillsborough plan – which is saying a lot about the whole Go Hillsborough process.  Now run with it.

— Conclusion

Go Hillsborough is dead.  It died from a number of wounds – from vacillating, to lacking real vision, to poor decisions (like the consultant contracts), to politics – both behind the scenes and in the open.  It does not change the need for action, but the mistakes do not need to be repeated.

As we have noted before: If you want people to pay, you not only have to give them a list of projects (though that is good).  You have to give them a vision they can support.  Now is the time to develop that vision.  It is an opportunity for elected officials to put away the silliness and mistakes of the past and show what they are capable of.

We have always said, for us, it is about the policy not the people. (We’ll support a good idea regardless of the source.)  The County Commission still have a chance to create something better from the ashes of the mess that was TED/PLC/Go Hillsborough.  They just need the political will to do so.

Get to it.

Transportation – TBX: Enter the Tampa Bay Partnership

The Tampa Bay Partnership (which is partially publicly funded) has set up a website and Facebook page in support of TBX.  (This is an opposition site.) That is not surprising because we already knew that elected officials and business leaders have lined up behind it.  Whether they truly believe in it or not or are just afraid that FDOT will cut all the funding for every project, we have no idea.  Just remember, as the Partnership’s TBX site tells us:

If the MPO votes to remove or delay any portion of TBX from its Transportation Improvement Plan, FDOT will spend the TBX money elsewhere in the state. Orlando and Jacksonville have road construction projects in the design/build phase, just waiting on funding from FDOT.

That is a choice by FDOT (and a failure by local leadership and the legislative delegation).  There is nothing inevitable about their plan. FDOT could have planned differently, and the legislature could have forced the issue.  Nevertheless, that is what is going on.

And then there is this from the Partnership’s advocacy site:

FDOT does invest in transit, but this money is specifically targeted to alleviate road congestion, in accordance with state and federal law. HART is currently administering a Premium Transit Feasibility Study, funded by FDOT, to determine the most cost-effective and efficient means of transit for the Tampa Bay region. However, FDOT and the federal government will only expend money on transit construction if local governments have a feasible plan for maintenance and operation of the system. To ensure a regional transit system in Tampa Bay, our local government officials must work together to develop a viable plan for maintaining and operating forward-thinking transit options. For example, TBX will rebuild the Howard Frankland Bridge with a foundation strong enough to support rail. However, the Pinellas and Hillsborough local leaders must agree on a transit plan using a common platform for FDOT to feasibly construct the system connecting the two counties.

There is that choice thing again – the Howard Frankland could be rebuilt without TBX.  It’s just that FDOT does not want to.

Regardless, it is a bit ironic for an organization that is partially funded by local tax dollars to openly admit the failure of the local bodies funding it to actually have any influence or properly plan.  But there it is.

— Welcome to Your Future

Miami is often held up as a (questionable) example of the greatness of express lanes.  Well,

Some South Florida lawmakers are calling for the Florida Department of Transportation to make immediate changes to the Interstate 95 express lanes in Miami-Dade County, including removing the plastic poles.

“You have to take the poles out,” state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, said. “I think the flexible poles create a dangerous condition. They create a false sense of security, and they just don’t work.”

* * *

“How much loss does it take before you fix something that needs to be fixed?” Trooper Bill Smith said. “Does it take one life? Ten lives? Twenty lives? The life of a police officer or trooper? What does it take to address the problem?”

Smith has been a trooper for 32 years and is president of the Police Benevolent Association’s FHP chapter.

Records show troopers have been called to more than 12,000 crashes in the express lanes in Miami-Dade County in the past three years.

* * *

State Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens, was told by the FDOT that a two-year study needs to be done before any changes are made. After that, she said, plans would need to be drawn up and approved.

“That could take from seven to 10 years,” she said. “I don’t see it being acceptable.”

Diaz de la Portilla said something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

* * *

The FDOT sees things differently.

“They are working well,” FDOT spokeswoman Tish Burgher said. “The goal is to get people to drive 45 mph, and we are achieving that goal.”

Burgher said there are no plans to remove the poles.

“If people obey the law and drive the speed limit, it is perfectly safe,” she said.

Apparently, FDOT doesn’t care about any legislator.

A level of service to look forward to.

TIA – Breaking Records and Moving Forward

Now to proper levels of service. There were some details about the airport’s great March.

Tampa International Airport had its busiest month on record in March.

* * *

From March 4 to April 11, the airport served more than 2.4 million passengers. Southwest Airlines increased its flights by 32 percent and was a major contributor to the surge in service. On March 26, the airport set a record for the number of checked bags passing from terminal to airlines at 27,774, according to a presentation by the airport staff at Monday morning’s Hillsborough County Aviation Authority meeting.

* * *

For the first half of the fiscal year, October through March, TIA served more than 9.7 million passengers, which is 5.7 percent more than in the first half of fiscal year 2015. Southwest, one of the airport’s dominant carriers for domestic flights, saw a 4.6 percent jump in passenger growth compared to the same time last year. Spirit Airlines saw the largest spike in passenger growth from October to March this year at 54.5 percent. Air Canada saw a 10.6 percent increase.

That’s great.  It would be nice to break 20 million.

One thing to note about the airport is that it is already building for future growth.  It is not playing catch-up.  That is a lesson in how to operate that the entire region (which is so proud of the airport) should consider.

Transportation – Blowback

The mess that is the PTC reached new heights this week.

Taxi companies are moving to thwart a possible settlement that Public Transportation Commission Chairman Victor Crist said his agency is close to reaching with its longtime nemeses, rideshare companies Uber and Lyft.

Shocking.  Given their track record, of course they are.  What is the tactic?

But on the same day that the PTC met with Uber and Lyft, the cab companies submitted a motion asking the agency’s board to disqualify its chair, Crist, from the ridesharing issue altogether.

The taxi companies believe Crist, according to the motion, has “demonstrably shown and stated his bias and prejudice” against certain cab companies “as well as the entire taxicab and limousine industries lawfully operating in Hillsborough County.”

Attorney Seth Mills, who represents the taxi companies, also said Crist has exhibited “bizarre” behavior on this issue, including getting into a shouting watch with a taxi industry lobbyist after last week’s PTC meeting.

We are not much for yelling (particularly because it is totally unnecessary), but the motion is just silly – otherwise the entire PTC, which has been clearly biased in favor of cab companies for years, should not be allowed to deal with ridesharing . . Oh, wait a minute.

Even the cab companies’ logic supports getting rid of the PTC.

Built Environment – What We Do Not Need

There was news about an apartment project south of Gandy.

An Atlanta developer is moving forward with plans to build affordable apartments near South Tampa.

Pollack Shores Real Estate Group has closed on the 12.3-acre site between Lois and Manhattan avenues, just south of the Walmart Supercenter on Gandy Boulevard. It will build M South, which will consist of 288 units — an average of 1,065 square feet — at projected average rents of $1,390.

It is notable that this developer has built/proposed projects closer to downtown that have (some) urban-ness. What do they propose in the south of Gandy area where a lot of projects are proposed?

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

It is not clear where all those people are walking to, but it is clearly not the apartments in the rendering because there is a big fence and no apparent sidewalk into the complex.  We understand this is not Hyde Park, but surely they could do better than propose most suburban, car focused project.  The south of Gandy area is poised for some serious growth.  If the City is not careful, it will become quite a mess. Tampa really needs to change the code.

South Tampa – Odd

As noted by URBN Tampa Bay, documents have been filed with the city regarding a proposed condo near Bay to Bay.  We really have no problem with the idea of a condo building on this lot – nor, given the location, do we mind there not being retail.  But there is something odd.  These are the filed drawings:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

A bit bulky, but of course the developer would want to make use of the location to get the maximum number of water view units.  Who wouldn’t?  The wider rendering is labelled “south elevation” but the lot is not exactly lined up north-south-east-west. Ok, so this is the location map:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

Look closely at both of those.  You’ll notice that the parking entrances on the map correspond to the parking entrances on the “south elevation,” as does the part of the building sticking out.  It sure looks like most of the units will be facing not the Bay but Bay to Bay.  If so, this is what will face the bay:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

Maybe we are missing something.  It’s not our money and does not affect any views or any urban issues, but it sure seems strange.

Thoughts on a Park

In a recent Atlantic magazine article on covering the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge with a park (see here) there was this:

The top of the now-covered road and the surrounding area will be landscaped by James Corner Field Operations, the landscape-architecture and urban-design firm behind New York City’s High Line. In the end, the Presidio will gain 14 acres of newly developed park space.

* * *

Corner’s design features a terraced landscape that climbs from marshlands along the shore up to gently crowned tunnel tops, where a series of lawns, meadows, and sweeping pathways are interspersed with small gardens and nooks that block the breezes off the water. The new ground over the tunnels will be about 30 feet higher than most of its surroundings, offering heretofore unavailable views.

“When you step out on the tunnel tops, you really get a 360-degree, geographical sort of centering vantage point where you can take in every landmark and every place that’s significant in San Francisco and the bay,” Corner told me, ticking off the city’s skyline, Alcatraz and Angel Island, Marin, the grounds of the Presidio, and, most prominently, the Golden Gate Bridge. “A large part of the design, in addition to connectivity, is really celebrating views,” he said.

Yea, those views will be special.  Of course, San Francisco is renowned for its hills – and the views they afford.  But, still, the views are treasured.  Tampa, on the other hand, is basically flat.  There are not that many elevated locations where you can get a view of anything.

As most readers know, the City has plans to rebuild Julian Lane Park on the west side of the river.  Prominent in the park are the mounds which afford views of downtown and the river and are favorite sites for news photographers taking pictures for article about the park and how the City is determined to remove the mounds.  While we understand the mounds are too symmetrical (and maybe too numerous), as we have said for years, a more organic vertical element would really be a good thing (as evidenced by all the news reports which feature pictures of the park from mounds – we would use a recent Tribune photo but the links are now dead).

You make parks special by responding to their special circumstances.  And you open up the river to parts of the city more by giving people an elevated, unobstructed view of it with downtown as a background they can get nowhere else.  If the photographers can see it, surely the planners can, too.  There is still time to fix it.

List of the Week

This week, we return to Walkscore’s ranking of walkable cities.  The methodology is here.   The list is by city so there may be multiple cities in the same metro area listed.

Coming in first, not surprisingly, is New York, followed by Jersey City, San Francisco, Boston, Newark, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington (D.C.), Seattle, Oakland, Long Beach, Hialeah, Baltimore, Arlington (VA), Minneapolis, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Rochester, St. Louis, Portland, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Denver, Cleveland, St. Paul, New Orleans, Detroit, Anaheim, Richmond, Cincinnati, San Diego, San Jose, and Tampa.

Tampa is 36th.  St. Pete is 52nd. At least Tampa comes in before Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.  And we are not so sure we’d walk around Detroit.  You can also get “bike score” and “transit score.”  Tampa seems to come in somewhere in the middle on all the lists.  On the other hand, most of the usual suspects do better.  We can do better.  We should do better.

One Comment leave one →
  1. EyesWideOpen permalink
    May 6, 2016 10:53 AM

    The picture of downtown Tampa… You can see the gridlocked cars on Ashley and Twiggs.

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