Friday, September 07, 2007

Yet More '2 Way' News

I attended this city council meeting and I must say that I am floored by the lack of care Transportation Department planner Daniel Lamb shows for our neighborhoods.

In the midst of concerns from residents about their safety when walking down Florida Ave. and Tampa St./Highland Ave. while thousands of cars pass dangerously close and at unsafe speeds, he not only ignored our pleas, he added insult to injury by stating: By 2030 traffic along the corridors is expected to increase by 50 to 60 percent.

So he wants run 60% MORE traffic through our neighborhoods at unsafe speeds and dangerously close to kids walking to school and people trying to walk to neighborhood business -- despite our concerns at the volume now??? What part of this doesn't sound CRAZY?

Hey Mr. Lamb -- I've got an idea. Why don't we run 20,000 cars at 45-55+ mph in front of your house every day? Try it from our viewpoint some time and tell me you feel comfortable and safe.

Kudos to the few on the city council that are currently showing some common sense in this matter. Payback is due for letting the right of way for roads rule our neighborhood -- by first splitting it; then crippling its revitalization.

Furthermore, I also realize the FDOT is trying to make this an all four roads or no roads conversion deal. Let me point out that it is ok to work on a couple sections of one set or the other at one time, then move to others. This is exactly the way downtown is converting its roads to mostly two-way traffic (i.e., ala sections).

And Miranda -- your comment at the meeting about 5 roads coming together won't work where Aremenia and Howard come together if they go 2-way, you might want to look at the hundreds of other city's that promote those exact type of locations -- such as Little Five Points (Atlanta), 5 Points (Jacksonville), etc.

Those areas are meccas for their communities and loaded with community-serving businesses like restaurants, shops, etc.

We deserve better ...


kombatrock said...

Another car culture induced quandary with no easy short term answers. (long-term: Rail) There are valid points on both sides, but consider the nightmare that would occur on 275 if the bulk of the Florida/Highland traffic were re-routed over there. I can understand the neighborhood frustration, but worth considering is how to quantify the benefit of a 2 way Florida Avenue south of Violet? Hasn't revitalization stagnated north of the 1 way portion as well? The Howard/Armenia corridor doesn't seem to have been crippled by the design with that area evolving into a high end pedestrian drinking mall of late.

Just a thought.

Anchored by the West Tampa Sandwich Shop and Fiesta Plaza, that area where Armenia and Howard come together could be really cool if someone implemented a Little Five Points style model there. With population and traffic growing at the pace it is, we really are in a serious urban planning crisis when it comes to keeping these corridors livable. High time for some innovative smart growth for a change instead of the same old short term half solutions.

Rick F. said...

The traffic count on Highland/Tampa is 9,500 vehicles. Not all would start using 275 so we would not be adding that many cars from that route. Florida Avenue carries 12,000 vehicles north of 275. Again not all would go to the interstate. If they can only do 1 lane in each direction with a turn lane in the center, The net loss is one lane north bound and one lane south bound. Many of the folks using Florida Avenue north bound (my guess is about 3,000 since that is the volume difference at this point) would stay on the interstate to go to points north such as Sligh, Waters, Busch). The slower speeds might actually give folks an opportunity to notice some of the businesses we do have...a win for the neighborhoods.

jerry said...

Sadly, if the one way streets are converted to two-way streets there would be a significant reduction in roadway capacity, resulting in greater delays for all drivers.

Also, from a safety point of view, pedestrian crossing would be more difficult because traffic would be approaching from two directions rather than one.

Torgo said...

Respectfully disagree.

As I understand it, the two way roads would decrease capacity (which is what we're wanting it to do). This would be remedied by less cars using those roads (again, what we're wanting the change to do). The end result would be the roads being used to their new capacity as more people opt to use the newly improved I275 instead of Florida and Tampa.

As for the safety point, making the roads two way would of course require additional traffic devices and cross walks. This would slow traffic down and provide designated spots to cross instead of running across a 3 lane road of people going 55mph. (Think of trying to walk across I275. Same thing.) These devices would also inconvenience the driver trying to bypass the Interstate, thus encouraging him/her to use it ...

The combination would mean LESS traffic, SLOWER traffic and MORE traffic/safety devices. This would INCREASE safety for pedestrians/bikers and drivers alike, as well as allow for more opportunities for local businesses to begin, grow and prosper.

jerry said...

23 years as a traffic engineer in Tampa. I respectfully disagree.

Reducing capacity on a roadway doesn't reduce travel demand. What you call "roads being used to their new capacity" really means big backups and delays (one nortbound lane on Florida instead of three). Much of the demand would move to Central Ave. creating further backups there, in a nice residential area.

There is no "newly improved I-275". I-275 (south of Bearss) has no plans for any capacity improvements in any timeframe. The added traffic to the interstate would delay all northbound drivers and we living in Seminole Heights would have the choice between enjoying that increased delay, either on I-275 or Florida Ave. At least now if the interstate is backed up we have an option to sitting in it.

It's nuts to compare crossing the one-way part of Florida Ave to crossing I-275. Speeds are 20 mph less (65 vs 45) and there are traffic signals to provide gaps in traffic for crossing.

And look how nicely the local businesses are doing on Nebraska Ave., which has two way traffic as you prefer.

Be carefull what you ask for. You might get it.

Torgo said...

I hear yah, but still have an opposing viewpoint.

This statement, "It's nuts to compare crossing the one-way part of Florida Ave to crossing I-275. Speeds are 20 mph less (65 vs 45) ..." sounds great 'on paper.' However, just because the mph is posted at 40-45 in absolutely no way means that's how fast people are going.

As someone who drives on those roads at posted speed limits, the high volumes of people who whip by me (when no cops are around) is a true test of speeds way in excess of limits.

And as someone who rides a bike across those roads/traffic 10+ times a week, I can certainly attest that current road configurations and speeds "driven" are unsafe for bikers and pedestrians ... If you question this, I'd ask the middle school girl who recently got ran over on Florida Ave. on her way to school how she feels about it.

I also question your statement about how well Nebraska Ave. is doing. Without even addressing the income variances of the two sides of the Interstate that affect commerce/government attention, I will point out that if you haven't seen the improvements on Nebraska Ave. (new buildings, new businesses (including 2 new restaurants slated to be built)), then you haven't been down that road in a long, long, looooong time.

To your credit on one of your points, though, I live on Central Ave. and can defintely see two-way traffic being directed to that road -- which already has speedsters on it (albeit the sidewalks are placed back at much safer distances that Tampa and Florida.)

There are a lot of Daniel Lambs out there ... so I can I understand (if you truly were a traffic engineer) your frame of reference. But if you are also truly a resident of the area, I pose this question for you:

"What would your solution be to balance the alleged need for one-way roads with the needs/concerns of the neighborhood residents and community-serving business owners???"

Torgo said...

Lastly, Jerry, this is not a personal attack but unfortunately we residents feel that putting traffic engineers in charge of the future of Seminole Heights' roads is like putting drug pushers in charge of crack house renovations.

The engineers did not have the neighborhood's best interest in mind when they helped to divide our neighborhood with Interstates and one-way roads in the first place; so why should we listen to the Daniel Lambs now?