Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Tampa Bay Hasn't Invested in Public Transit, and it Shows
Florida is the most dangerous state in the United States to be a pedestrian. Tampa Bay is no exception, as more people in the state and city turn to private vehicles and away from public transit, it's only going to become more dangerous.
"In Tampa Bay, local leaders have debated ways to fix the area’s limited public transportation system for 30 years — then time and again, chosen to do nothing, the Tampa Bay Times has found," report Caitlin Johnston and Eli Zhang in the Tampa Bay Times. Among the many ways the city government has ignored the low hanging fruit of public transit, Johnston and Zhang point out, "Almost every other top-20 metro area has at least 600 buses. Tampa Bay has the fewest, about 360."
Some officials point to the city's sprawl as a reason for the intractable problems of public transit in the city, but this argument looks weak when you compare it to the many sprawling cities throughout the country that perform better in transit service. What's worse is that argument is self-serving. The less the city invests in transit, the more they will be encouraging sprawl. If you don’t have good transit options within the city, there's little advantage in living close to town.