JRB Solutions, LLC
PEOPLE FOCUSED PLANNING AND ENGINEERING
Lately there has also been a lot of talk about transformative transit changes in our region. Here is one idea to help stimulate the discussion. Ask yourself how transit might be useful to you in your daily life. Because our region is polycentric, a regional frequent transit grid might help connect more people to more jobs. In this network, transferring is OK because it only takes a few minutes and you don't have to worry about a schedule because the bus comes in 15 minutes or less. What would a system like that look like? One hypothetical passenger map for the Tampa Bay Region is below.
The Tampa Bay region is among the nation’s most at-risk metropolitan areas when it comes to hurricane vulnerability. The region is generally low, with development packed in areas that are vulnerable to even minor storm surge. Tampa Bay was last hit by a category 3 hurricane nearly a century ago in 1921, so the infrastructure that supports the roughly 3 million additional residents that now call the area home has effectively never been tested in a storm.
The risk is significant, but it is not hopeless. Thanks to some interesting geology, there are many areas of the region that are high enough so as to be less vulnerable to surge. Parts of Clearwater have 110 feet in elevation, parts of St Pete 56 feet, and Tampa Heights in Tampa rises quickly from sea level to 40 feet just blocks from the Hillsborough River. These high points offer an opportunity for protection for the region from devastating storm surge. The infrastructure proposed will protect the region's manufacturing base, the Westshore district, Tampa Airport, and MacDill Air Force Base, saving jobs and the economic engines of Tampa Bay. Simultaneously, the project also provides new regional commuter rail service, improves driver safety, and decreases travel time for almost everyone in the region.