The City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) are studying Columbus Drive and 17th/18th/19th Avenue, currently a one-way pair through Ybor City and East Tampa, for their ability to meet the needs of users. In identifying a recommended configuration of these corridors, the study will look specifically into returning the 17 th/ 18th/19th and the Columbus Drive corridors into two-way operations.
Key emphasis areas of the study include: providing access to and between the Ybor City and East Tampa neighborhoods for drivers, transit riders, trucks, bicyclists, and pedestrians; providing access to adjacent commercial uses, industrial property, and neighborhood streets; and maintaining acceptable traffic operations and flows after improvements to the roadway reconfiguration are made.
After a public meeting in September 2014, the community shared their preferences. There was greatest support for changing the roadways to two-way operations, adding on-street parking where possible, shifting the bulk of traffic to Columbus Drive and transforming 17th/18th/19th Avenues into a neighborhood street with slower traffic with safer walking and cycling. The recommendations are shown in the links below.
The study determined that conversion to two-way operations would be feasible from the standpoint of traffic-flow and community-support. The cost of resurfacing had already been programmed through the county’s capital improvement program but there were not enough funds for additional changes to convert the roadways particularly to change the signalized intersections.
A follow-up task was then commissioned, aimed at reducing the cost of the conversion by determining if any of the signals along the two corridors could be removed and replaced with stop signs without degrading level of service. The results show some signals could be replaced with stop signs along 17th/18th/19th Avenues without negatively affecting level of service. The cost savings were not significantly less than the initial study and additional funding sources would still be needed.