Harbor Island Street Car extention proving controversial05/10/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Last month the Tampa City Council voted to provide symbolic support a 1/3 of a mile extention of the streetcar line.
The extension will run up Franklin Street from the streetcar stop near the Tampa Convention Center to Whiting Street.But it’s not by any stretch a done deal. And if some Harbor Island residents have any say, it won’t ever be built. They contend it will create more traffic in the area near the Convention Center.Tampa Attorney John Fitzgibbons is one such angry Harbor Island resident (roll tape#1 oq.”back into this thing”)
Fitzgibbons is one of the city’s most high profile attorneys. A recent client’s case – former School teacher Deborah LaFave-made international headlines. But Fitzgibbons spoke as taxpaying resident of one of the city’s nicer neighborhoods. He said it would make traffic conditions much worse (roll tape#2 o.q.”that live there”)
Jane Chang is the Director of Engineering for HARTLINEart, and project manager for the proposed streetcar extention . She cautioned Fitzgibbons and the Council that the extention has not been officially approved yet (roll tape#3 o.q.”look at the issues again”)
The FTA is the Federal Transportation Administration.
And Chang said, despite the negative chatter, ridership on the Streetcar has only decreased one year, but projections say this could one of the best years ever for the streetcar.
Robert Cursey is with URS, the company hired by Hartline to study the extension. He says Harbor Island residents provided extensive input on where such an extention should be built. Cursey said traffic considerations have been part of the calculus, and he says have the line go to Whiting Street is the best way to go . He acknowledged the frequency of the cars going past Platt and Franklin Streets (roll tape#4 o.q.”with the proposed extention”)
But Hartline’s Jane Chang insisted that nothing has been officially approved (roll tape#5 o.q.”a little preliminary”)
If approved, the streetcar extention would likely be completed by 2010. Depending on the final costs, Most of the financing would come from the Federal Government.