Debate goes two ways over one-way streets

09/06/07 Mitch E. Perry
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A recent bid to make some of central Tampa’s most used roads into two-way streets has been rejected by both state and city officials. But today, some City Council members said they weren’t willing to accept that.

Longtime complaints by local residents, particularly in Seminole Heights, prompted the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to ask the state Department of Transportation (FDOT) to conduct a study on converting some streets. One-way streets under consideration include Tampa Street, Howard, Florida and Armenia avenues.

In July, the FDOT rejected the idea, saying the changes would create traffic delays.

But City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern, who represents the city on the MPO, said nobody on that board was satisfied with the state's report.

Mulhern said she was hoping to see some sort of cost-benefit analysis of converting the streets.

Another objection that FDOT has about converting Howard and Armenia to two-way streets: it would further delay road construction getting under way on Interstate 275 in Tampa.

But Councilwoman Linda Saul Sena said such construction isn’t imminent.

In Tampa’s Seminole Heights District, residents have complained for years that their neighborhood has never prospered the way it should, in terms of retail businesses and restaurants, because North Florida Avenue shifts from a two-way to a one-way road.

Rick Pffeifer of Seminole Heights said one-way streets in the corridor have done nothing to help develop businesses.

Susan Long, treasurer of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, says friends who visit her say the area is great, but what’s with the commercial corridor?

Council members said they would revisit the issue at a future meeting.

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