TAMPA, Fla. - South Howard Ave. has been known as a popular hotspot for weekend hangouts at local bars and restaurants, but people living nearby say the traffic issues are only getting worse and creating a potential safety hazard.
The most recent conversation began on the Nextdoor app where a user posted about her own encounter with a person getting out of a ride share car, blocking traffic.
The comments poured in soon after, people adding their own concerns about South Howard Ave. and the heavy traffic.
“I think Uber is a great idea and I think it’s safe for drunk drivers,” said Sydney Oprandi, who lives a few blocks away from the busy avenue,”but when it’s affecting all the walkers and everyone driving home at night it’s a pain.”
Oprandi says driving along SoHo during the weekends isn’t just a headache, but she considers it a safety concern.
“People can’t get down the road if there is an accident,” she said, “you can’t get to it.”
Residents say they’ve noticed more police helping direct traffic in the last few weeks, even setting up barriers and points pick-up and drop-off areas for taxis and ride sharing companies.
The owners at Yard and Ale converted their valet area into an Uber drop off location so drivers can get off the road and won’t be tempted to stop in the middle of traffic.
“Since we did that it’s been huge,” said Rick Campbell, the general manager there.
He says police would often pull drivers over for stopping in the road, now they don’t have to.
“All the cops like it,” he said.
Operandi hopes nearby businesses take on the idea as well. “I think it’s a great idea,” she said, “you know, if users can get off the road and let drivers drive down the road it would really help.”