As the economy continues to recover, one thing is certain: The “old normal” will not return, because consumer preferences are changing.
Coordinated by the City of Tampa and the Tampa Downtown Partnership, experts from the Urban Land Institute’s Advisory Services Panel examined the central business district and all or parts of Tampa Heights, Encore, Ybor City, Channel District, West Tampa, West Riverfront, Old West Tampa and North Hyde Park, last week.
According to ULI (per St Pete Times), to create a downtown with a soul, Tampa needs more urban housing, more pedestrians, better transit and less parking.
- Put in better landscaping, especially at entry ways to downtown. Got an ugly, empty lot? Get creative. Bring in a farmers market.
- Finish the Riverwalk, and allow food carts and restaurants near the Hillsborough River.
- Steer new housing toward three areas: Tampa Heights, the area around the Marion Street Transit Station and a redevelopment of the North Boulevard Homes public housing complex.
- Re-engineer roads like Ashley Drive to be less daunting to pedestrians. Think fewer lanes, more trees and lower speed limits.
- Ban new private parking lots as well as parking lots on street corners, convert some existing lots to parks or housing and increase on-street parking.
- Improve transit. Look at expanding the TECO trolley up to Tampa Heights and west of the Hillsborough River. Consider changes, like a fare-free zone, to make bus transit more attractive.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the report gives the city a “road map” for its next step: using a $1.18 million federal grant to create a master plan for downtown and areas like Ybor City, the Channel District and Tampa Heights.
Tampa’s future presented in less than a week… It appears Mayor Buckhorn is all in.
The slogan for Tampa 20 years ago was, America’s Next Great City. Is now the time??? What do you think???