For Full Story: Tampa Bay Business Journal
Article By: Veronica Brezina-Smith
At a meeting on Monday, Hillsborough County’s transit authority said it wants to see transit-oriented development along future station locations for the streetcar and bus rapid transit system.
In December, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority was awarded an $800,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to evaluate existing transit-oriented development policies in the TECO Line Streetcar extension and Tampa arterial bus rapid transit study corridors.
Phase 1 of the plan is the streetcar extension and to evaluate the city’s existing TOD policies and station planning.
The current streetcar route runs along a 2.7-mile path from Ybor City to the Channel district. The extension would add 1.3 miles north from the Channel district to Palm Avenue in Tampa Heights.
Meanwhile, Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the 33-month-long plan focuses on bus rapid transit on Nebraska, Florida and Fowler avenues.
The project is in coordination with the city, HART and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
A scope of the projects would be drafted for selecting consultants through a bidding process, HART Director of Service Planning Chris Cochran said during the Transit Oriented Development Ad Hoc Committee meeting.
However, the bigger picture of having transit-oriented development would be new for the area. Developers have felt challenged on that corridor because of the small parcels of land and parking requirements, board members said repeatedly through the meeting.
“The problem is right now developers build to a plan, they are going to be visionary … transit isn’t even a part of [developers’] thinking; it’s because we don’t have a facility to do this,” said Councilman Mike Suarez.
He noted how everything from the policies to development has to be hand in glove.
HART is usually the lead in the transit frequencies of the corridor and then the developers want that frequency and mobility, Suarez said. He said developments such as Water Street and the Tampa Heights project will help lure in developers.