USF students propose designs for Transit Village

07/30/07 Seán Kinane
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What would a Transit Village featuring a light rail hub and mixed-use development look like in East Tampa?

That is a question that graduate students in the School of Architecture and Community Design attempted to answer at the University of South Florida this afternoon.

Five groups of three students each presented their visions of a Transit Village at the corner of Hillsborough Avenue and 30th Street, on the current site of the Tampa Wholesale Produce Market.

The projects were the culmination of a 10-week summer course on urban and community design. The centerpiece of the development would be a transit hub where the existing north-south rail line that crosses Hillsborough Ave would serve passengers. Bus lines would converge at the same location.

And as a transition to the nearby East Tampa neighborhood of single-family homes, a range of business and housing options would also bring people to the new development.

Some of the students, including Sarah Sisson’s group, proposed incorporating the produce market into the design of the Transit Village.

Some of the designs included elements of sustainable development and affordable housing.

Storm water drainage and concerns about creating heat islands because of too many paved surfaces were important to some of the participants.

Ed Johnson is the city of Tampa’s manager for urban and economic development, specifically focusing on East Tampa. He said that it would help East Tampa to have a light rail hub in the neighborhood.

Sara Hendricks, with USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, said Tampa will eventually have mass transit by rail.

Hendricks told WMNF that using the existing freight rail lines at this East Tampa site for passenger rail is something that might work for the region’s transportation needs.

One complication of sharing freight rail lines with passenger trains is working out a schedule so that both have access, Hendricks explained.

Ed Johnson said he is pleased with the development of East Tampa under the Mayor Pam Iorio administration. Johnson said that a project like this could be a boost for community development in East Tampa.

Learn more:

CUTR

[USF Press release] including artist rendering (http://usfweb3.usf.edu/absolutenm/templates/?a=273&z=14)

[Tampa Wholesale Produce Market]{http://ae.tbo.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=front_event_detail&eventID=7969)

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