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Public invited to share their thoughts about Tampa's Streetcar Extension into Tampa Heights

Posted at 4:31 AM, May 26, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The public is invited to help plan for the future of communities located along the planned routes of Tampa’s Streetcar Extension and HART’s Arterial Bus Rapid Transit service through a Virtual Workshop. Community members can also share their ideas about land use, building design, housing affordability, and transit access.

During the Virtual Workshop, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, or HART, will share information about the HART TOD Pilot Project, review preliminary strategies that guide land use and development, and listen to your thoughts and ideas.

The Tampa Historic Streetcar System is a 2.7-mile long streetcar transportation network that provides a unique connection from downtown Tampa and the Channelside District to the Ybor City historic district.

In the past, the TECO Streetcar System had been used mainly by tourists, but the City of Tampa is exploring a future for the streetcar as a true transportation option that better serves the mobility needs of residents, workers, visitors, and students in downtown Tampa, Ybor City, Channel District, and surrounding urban neighborhoods, according to the project website.

The Virtual Workshoptook place via Webex (free to download and use) on Tuesday evening.

You can get more information on the project, including a map of the study area, by visitingthe project's website.

REGISTER NOW | Virtual Public Workshop on Tampa's Streetcar Extension

The City of Tampa already completed the first phase of the InVision: Tampa Streetcar in Spring 2018. In June 2018, HART and the City of Tampa received approval from FTA to enter the Project Development phase to select a preferred alternative and refine improvement plans and strategies.

The preferred alternative for the project consists of the following project elements:

  1. Replacement of the existing replica streetcar vehicles with modern streetcar vehicles;
  2. Construction of a 1.3-mile fixed guideway with overhead power within existing rights-of-way from the western terminus of the existing system through the core of Downtown Tampa to Tampa Heights;
  3. Construction of stops along the extension guideway;
  4. Modifications to the existing 2.7-mile alignment guideway, power system, and stops to support modern streetcar operations; and,
  5. Modifications to the existing vehicle maintenance and storage facility to accommodate the new vehicles
The Tampa Historic Streetcar System, known as the TECO Line, currently operates as a 2.7-mile-long, fixed guideway transit service connecting destinations in Downtown Tampa, Channel District, and Ybor City. Since the start of revenue service on Phase I (Ybor City to Convention Center) in October 2002 and the opening of the Phase II-a (Convention Center to Whiting Street) in December 2010, the system has provided connections between Ybor City and key visitor destinations and event venues such as the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay History Center, Amalie Arena, and the Tampa Convention Center, as well as key employment centers.

In October 2018, supported by a three-year FDOT grant, HART initiated service improvements that resulted in significant increases in ridership. These improvements, which include fare-free service, longer operation hours, and greater service frequency, have attracted more than 180,000 additional riders in the first four months of implementation, nearly tripling ridership over the same period the previous year, according to the city.

The Invision Tampa Streetcar project is supported with funding from the City of Tampa, HART and FDOT, with potential for federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Small Starts Capital Improvement Grant program. Project activities include intensive public engagement and close coordination with other local and regional transit initiatives, according to the city's website.