Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wall Want

"I have Seminole Heights topic that I've been irritated about since I read my paper yesterday morning and thought I'd see if my favorite Blog could be a means to get some answers/awareness on it?!

I'm not sure if you caught the article in the Tribune regarding sound barrier walls to be built along I-275 and that our neighborhood will not be getting them. "The FDOT has no plans to build noise walls through Seminole Heights or Sulphur Springs, even though the interstate has the same number of lanes and generates similar noise south of Busch Boulevard."

Then why not? Do we not pay the same (in most areas, a lot more) in taxes? Do we not deserve a more peaceful neighborhood? Of all these communities along I-275 , which is known for being outside on their porches in the midst of the interstate hum!? We've been shafted.

In trying to find some justification I thought perhaps they're attempting to hide the unattractive houses seen from I-275 to the north of us and that our burden was that we are somewhat visually appealing to the 70 mph traffic whizzing by. I'm doubting that was the rationale and am desperately seeking some.

I live on a street that offers a glimpse and hum of the interstate. When we bought in this lovely neighborhood, 2.5 years ago, we were told by many that we were slated to get those walls built. Of course we didn't see that as a guarantee, but we were at least hopeful! What a shame that we haven't been chosen to enjoy some peace and quiet from our porches."

My comment:
If we were millionaires who live in Cheval, who purportedly, apparently, allegedly, reportedly, have a pet county commissioner in their pockets, we'd have a wall.

Priors wall stories:


Jim Johnson said...

If this issue is that important to the SH area residents, then I would suggest the local HOAs get together, work with county commissioners and state legislators to get the DOT to address the issue.

Activation is the best way to make things happen.

At worst they can do another noise study to determine that the noise levels meet DOT standards for noise abatement. Part of the problem, though, will be the elevation differences between I-275 and the neighboring homes. Elevation does have an impact on noise levels.

Finally, realize that the noise levels are above jut being heard outside a home. I don't recall what they are off the top of my head, but the DOT can give you those specifics. Call Marian Scorza at 813-975-6038 or email her at

swimminghomefromwork said...

Speaking of being forgotten about: There are two gripes I have about road projects in our area that just keep getting totally ignored. Has anyone ever had to drive up Florida Ave from downtown within a day after a rain? You literally have to drive through 6 small lakes before getting to MLK. There is one building just south of MLK that is totally BLACK from the stains of the water that has been splased up on it over the years.

The other is WHY DOES THE RESURFACING OF NEBRASKA AVENUE KEEP GETTING PUT OFF YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR??? They keep saying that it is because of rising costs, but I don't see that excuse affecting any of the other major projects going on in Tampa.

I think it's time for a good march downtown.

Anonymous said...

March? But its only August! .. Thanks folks I'll be here all week try the veal.

Seriously I can't listen to a cd in my car without it skipping at least five times on my way downtown. Yes my car sucks. My parents live in Tarpon ans I have never seen roads as bad as Nebraska and Florida there.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately I think the difference with the construction of the sound wall in those areas near Fowler and us is timing. Current FDOT requirements make the wall a given -the funds are there for the construction because of the widening of the road in those areas and also south of us at malfunction junction.

We do not have interstate widening in our portion of the interstate hence no sound wall being built.

If the city has "no money" for Nebraska repaving where do you think the $$$$$ for a mile of sound wall will come from?? I think the article said something like a few million per mile for a barrier wall - get use to it - the only saving grace is that eventually we will all be deaf and not hear that semi crashing through the guardrail into our house.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would at least plant jasmine to cover the ugly chainlink fence.

Rick F. said...

I believe FDOT is still smarting over the Hillsborough Avenue wall. I have been told as recently as a few months ago that is still a sore point.

The other point is that members of City Council (such as Linda S. who I generally admire) are not supportive of the walls because travelers won't get to view our fair city. Unfortunately they don't live near any of the affected areas...the closest to 275 is likely Kevin White and even for him it is not his back yard.

Try selling a home near 275. most people won't touch it. Now take a slow drive north and south bound. A block away the homes look much better, two blocks more so. Having just come back from a trip to visit family in the Philly area, it is amazing how there is no real difference right up to the wall in the condition and appearance compared to those places without the sound walls.

I think it should be a rallying cry for The Sulphur Springs, Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights (oops they are getting a partial wall), North Hyde Park, and West Tampa.

It will help the neighborhoods, help the city's tax base, reduce blight, and hinder crime.

Build the walls!

Anonymous said...

I live near the interstate and I can say for certain that I do not want the walls. I would most certainly miss the couple of times a year when the cars come off the interstate. Oh what fun it is to be awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of a uhaul going through the North Street substation, oh and the fireworks, what a delight to see them other than New Years or July 4th. No I do not want the walls.
Now I shall have to hope that someone is going fast enough, when the hit the metal barriers, to become airborne.

Anonymous said...

**READ ME** Here is some truth about noise walls, from someone who knows (myself). The reason that noise walls are being constructed from Busch Blvd to the US41 overpass on I-275 is due to that portion of I-275 being widened, a capacity improvement. Anytime that FDOT increases the capacity of a roadway or constructs a new roadway they must complete a noise study. So, if they never widen or increase the capacity of I-275 through Seminole Heights you will not see a wall.

Who pays for the wall, USUALLY FDOT. If you can talk the county or city into funding, give it a shot. But, the truth is, it is too expensive! For the right-of-way wall, the estimated cost during a noise wall feasibility study is $25/square foot. So, to build one 5200' long, 22' tall continuous (not realistic) noise wall from MLK to Hillsborough would cost a PD&E Study estimated $2,860,000. Actual design and construction could put that well over 5 million. The walls on the over passes can be as much as $45/square foot.

A noise wall will be constructed anywhere noise receivers experience a 15 dBA increase or the noise levels will be 66 dBA or greater during the design year (not now, usually 2025 or 2030) with the project constructed !!AND!! the cost per benefited received is $25,000 or below! So that $2,860,000 wall would need at least 115 residences to receive a 5 dBA reduction with the wall constructed. That would probably happen in SH! The walls are especially expensive to build along I-275 in these areas since so much of the road is elevated. To really see benefits the wall must be 22' with 8' walls on elevated sections in some areas.

Many people object to walls, more than you would think. Biggest complaint, if you are on the west side of the wall and you have a smaller lot a 22' wall casts one hell of a shadow! Dark all the time. Plus, they are unsightly to many people, both from highway and neighborhood. Don't forget to factor in possible additional cost of building/designing wall through historic district!

Now my opinion. If you don't want to hear traffic noise, don't buy a house by the interstate. If you actually lived there before I-275 I'll listen to your complaint. These walls often make people on the interstate wonder what is behind the walls, IS it a noise wall or IS it blocking the view of crap-town! Unfortunately, there is not enough room to effectively landscape to block visual view, because when you can't see the traffic you don't hear it as much. Trust me, lot of it is about perception!

If anyone needs additional info or has any questions, post a message on the blog!

Bloggerwife said...

What about planting something like leyland cypress or other upright growing species that don't require that much ground space. They would form a tall, dense green barrier. When we drive along the interstate through Pinellas County, they have landscaped most of the corridor. It's a pleasant drive and it certainly doesn't make me think it's hiding anything ugly.

Anonymous said...

It isn't just about traffic noise... it is a safety concern as well for those of us whose children play on the sidewalks of the homes that face the interstate. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would object to the walls. I can say with complete certainty that nobody on my block is opposed... we have seen our fair share of accidents & a couple of my neighbors have had some very close calls. This issue is IMPORTANT to our residents & just seeing how many times it has appeared on this blog alone is proof of that. However, as a previous post mentioned... without a widening of the road the wall will not be approved. That is what I have been told time & time again. As for the comment about listening to someone who purchased before the wall was built but not those of us who purchased afterwards... some of us moved to Seminole Heights with the same vision for a cozy, warm community so many others share... we moved here knowing things weren't perfect but willing to work for improvements... including a wall! We are investing in the future of Seminole Heights!

Anonymous said...

Bloggerwife, we have long admired the landscaping done along the interstate in Pinellas county. That is a very tasteful & acceptable solution. Anonymous 8:26 am

AngelSil said...

I live 1 street over from I-275. It's all I could afford in the area. I guess I can't have a comment, huh...

Anonymous said...

I live on a street that has I-275 at the end of it and could do without it's midnight dramas. Everyone on our street does a great job at keeping their houses looking great but the dead-end at the interstate is such an eye sore.
At minimum, some nice landscaping would be huge improvement. I'd prefer anything over the ominous chain link fencing; though we do need something to protect us from the cars that fly off the interstate.
Would this issue fall under any already-formed committee in our neighborhood associations?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:48 again

Landscaping would be wonderful but it is difficult to landscape on the elevated section. Any tree (Leyland cypress) would undermine the berm's structure so could not be planted. Landscaping along the fence is very feasible and would look nice, but would not block sight of vehicles on elevated section. Also, Leyland cypress is not a native plant to FLorida, let's avoid those!

Angelsil, sorry that my comment may have offended you but the reason you could afford it is becuase of the wall. I hear people in Apollo Beach complain about Big Bend behind their waterfront home, while Big Bend being there is the reason they could afford a waterfront home. You take what you can get. If in the future you can change it great, but you can't complain that it is there!!

The safety issue will never fly with DOT, they are noise walls only and are not designed for or considered feasible for safety measures (although they act as one). If you make the safety an issue, you get guardrails!

Eventually, I-275 will be widened through SH and walls will be built.

Anonymous said...

I understand we will not get walls and posted as much way above the informative post a few up HOWEVER we could look into making the views at the deadend streets just a little nicer for the neighborhood- why not take that deadend space (owned by DOT I assume) and landscape it and the chainlink that sepertes the neighborhood form the interstate? Kina our own little pocket parks? I would'nt hang out there but it would go a long way in softening that edge of the neighborhood.

Greg said...

Anon 12:12

For OSHNA there is a greenspace committee that is not very active at this point - you may want to attend the board meeting or the association meeting to see how you could take part in this committee and put this project on their work list - or better yet go out to the website and look for a contact there.

Maybe the anon poster who seems to work for DOT or some varation of would be able to assist in pointing us in the right direction to get this type of project up and running. The city may donate some landscape materials if we donate the labor.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear more about this, thank you Greg. If anyone knows the best direction for this type of project, please fill us in so we can pursue this matter further.

Anonymous said...

As per the landscaping:

Not to deter you but, if it is DOT property located within the Right-of-way fencing more than likely they will not allow any person not contracted by DOT to do any landscaping, etc. It comes down to liability along a limited access highway.

Try by contacting FDOT District 7 in Tampa. They should be able to point you in the right direction. The best option is to get the City to work with DOT to get approval to get this done.

Greg said...

Thanks for the info - but I would think the interest in landscaping would be in the land between the DOT fence and the city streets - the right of ways.

Bloggerwife said...

Sorry, I didn't realize that I was promoting a non native plant. I take back the Leyland Cypress suggestion. It came to mind because we used it for a barrier at the back of our property in Lutz when we lost the battle to stop a developer from clearing environmentally sensitive land to build upscale houses. I did not want to watch the trees come down and the houses go up.
I don't live by the interstate, but every time I drive down one of our streets that ends at 275, I think about the injustice to the people who have houses there. Everyone, regardless of when they moved here, deserves at the very least to have the interstate screened by greenery. I would think the landscaping would not just cut down on noise, but might capture pollution and dust particles that come off the road.

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again bloggerwife for your thoughtfulness on this subject. You are right about the dust... cleaning after the fine black dust the interstate leaves behind is a CONSTANT battle. We did plant between the fence & our street. The city parks dept. representative I spoke to on the phone told me we could as long as we maintained it & WE DO. They did come out shortly after the first time we planted & mowed our pretty little plants over so we went with something larger & now they leave it alone. They are slowly filling in & ocassionally bloom which is nice but as you mentioned before Pinellas has them all the way down the interstate & they look so pretty. I would love to see the same done for us.