Bay to Bay Boulevard to go on a 'road diet,' according to Tampa City engineers

Posted at 6:39 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 18:39:54-05

TAMPA, Fla. — "It's pleasant. I mean it's the reason why we moved to this area," said Palma Ceia homeowner Tim Scheu.

Walking his daughters to school and preschool makes living in Palma Ceia a blessing for this Tampa dad.

"We've learned that families that live on the north side of Bay to Bay are less likely to walk to school," he said. 

Bay to Bay Boulevard bisects South Tampa's peninsula — four lanes of 35 mile per hour traffic with a middle turn lane. But Tampa City engineers have plans to change that with a "road diet."

"They talk about how if this road were begin designed today, it would be designed for three lanes," said Scheu.

The "road diet" would make room for outer bike lanes, reduce Bay to Bay to two lanes with one middle turning lane. The idea is to cut down on collisions. 

RELATED: St. Pete is putting city streets on a 'road diet'

From 2011 to 2015, a new city traffic study shows an 860 percent increase in crashes between Bayshore Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway —from 5 to 43.

"I think traffic is going to be horrendous. Bay to Bay is highly traveled," said Owner Sweet Peas Megan Morreale.

But three lanes makes business owner Megan Morreale doubtful. 

"I think it's just going to cause traffic to back up more," she said. 

She believes traffic congestion will be worse and her boutique's bottom line may suffer.

"It will make getting in and out a little more difficult to get in and out and I'm wondering if that will affect our customers wanting to come here," she said. 

But Scheu suspects it will be just the opposite. 

"The answer is to create avenues for other modes of transport that means bike lanes, wider sidewalks so that more people are actually moving," she said. 

Tampa Transportation officials say the project could still be modified after public input and restriping could happen in April.