100 signatures reached
To: Hillsborough County TPO, Representative Kathy Castor, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Merrick B. Garland Attorney General, USDOJ
Stop Interstate Expansion and Destruction of Historic Properties - FDOT overreach in Neighborhoods
Since the 1940s, when streetcar lines were removed from Tampa’s streets, our neighborhoods have been disconnected and fragmented. After the streetcars were removed, the Interstate tore through Tampa’s urban core, devastating historic neighborhoods while displacing families and destroying homes and businesses. Much of this violence fell upon the shoulders of our minority communities. The destructive practices continue to this day. We are calling upon FDOT, the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Staff, TPO Board, and all institutional bodies represented thereon (including Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners) to:
1) Stop Historical Destruction that contributes to the cultural identity of the Historic District of the Tampa Heights Neighborhood - No Destruction of 1902 N. Lamar Avenue, Tampa, FL until the community comes up with a solution.
2) No to any and all interstate expansion: The latest Interstate expansion poised to disrupt and damage the Tampa Heights Historic District involves outward (intrusive) movement of the Interstate barrier wall along the eastern border of the District. The area of concern tracks from a point on N. Elmore Ave., roughly halfway between Floribraska Ave. and Columbus Drive, along the Interstate’s arc, south, to Scott Street.
Details on these initiatives are below:
Why is this important?
Regarding ask #1 - The latest historic property scheduled for demolition by FDOT is located in Tampa Heights at 1902 N. Lamar Ave. This property is a contributing structure supporting the neighborhood’s national and local historic designations. It was purchased by FDOT in 2015/2016 as part of its right-of-way acquisitions supporting the now-defunct Tampa Bay Express project. FDOT has allowed the property to deteriorate for the last six years and would now like to finalize the demolition by neglect with a wrecking ball, despite the fact the property is no longer needed for any FDOT related purpose.
The Petitioners, together with the Tampa Heights Community, object to this demolition. FDOT has been requested to stabilize and secure the building so as to allow opportunities for repurposing and restoration to active community service.
Regarding ask #2 - The latest Interstate expansion poised to disrupt and damage the Tampa Heights Historic District involves outward (intrusive) movement of the Interstate barrier wall along the eastern border of the District. The area of concern tracks from a point on N. Elmore Ave., roughly halfway between Floribraska Ave. and Columbus Drive, along the Interstate’s arc, south, to Scott Street.
Members of the Tampa Heights community first became aware of this intended wall movement on November 17, 2021, during an informal meeting between the Tampa Heights Civic Association’s Transportation Committee Chair and two members of FDOT’s District 7 staff. Since that time the community has learned the wall movement is allegedly required to enable a portion of the often-cited “Downtown Interchange Operational and Safety Improvements” (DTI-OSI) first advanced by FDOT in 2019.
The extent of the threatened wall movement is not clear as of the date of this writing. The Community has only been told a minimum 16-foot buffer will be maintained between the new wall location and the existing FDOT right of way.
The DTI–OSI concept has been the subject of debate and controversy since its rollout in 2019. Community opposition to FDOT’s original TBX project dates back to 2015. Through all that time the TH community has been steadfastly opposed to further expansion of the Interstate through Tampa’s Urban core.
While wall movement through TH was most definitely a part of the original TBX plan in 2015, the community was somewhat relieved to learn, in 2019, of the supposedly less intrusive footprint anticipated secondary to the DTI-OSI approach. At no time before November 2021has FDOT formally informed the Tampa Heights community of this intended further intrusion. As of this writing, FDOT has failed to present detailed information regarding its plans, including but not limited to:
1. An enlarged map with identified boundaries that includes annotations, existing streets, building footprints, and property boundaries.
2. Cross-sections that represent each incremental change/change in east-west expansion from Floribraska Avenue to 7th Avenue that extend from the interstate through Central Avenue. These should include dimensions for widths and heights, a scale of 1/8" = 1' to be easily understood.
3. Narrative description and list of options for materials (finishes, fencing, etc.) and landscaping to be discussed with the neighborhood. This should include plans for maintenance agreements.
4. List of all potentially impacted structures and accompanying map. Those structures may be impacted due to the construction and/or construction vibration. This needs to take into account historic structures within 200 feet of the proposed interstate wall, and should include but are not limited to those structures that line Elmore Avenue, Lamar Avenue, Central Avenue, and Nebraska Avenue, Additionally, those structures located on cross streets should also be listed/shown including Columbus Drive, Floribraska Avenue, Robles Street, Sparkman Avenue, Palm Avenue, Francis Street, Amelia Avenue, Park Avenue, Ross Avenue, Oak Avenue, and 7th Avenue. Also, the process for property owners to get their property/structures/houses added to the list.
5. A schedule available to property owners for structural testing and monitoring before and during construction.
6. Mitigation plans for structural damage to property and structures due to construction. What is the process?
7. Proposed construction schedule including a time frame, active construction day/evening/night times.
8. FDOT's plan for engaging the neighborhood in the process beyond presentations after decisions are made. This engagement must take place beforehand.
9. Economic development study which includes the impacts to property value within 300 feet of the edge of the interstate structure. The study should include historic market trends, current values, and five-year projected value.
10. Construction work plan pertaining to the control of air-borne debris associated with construction activities.
11. Construction phasing/staging plans identifying locations for staging/storing construction materials/equipment, parking for contractor personnel, routes relating to receiving material/equipment deliveries, routes to be used for transporting materials/equipment to the project site.
Petitioners, together with the Tampa Heights community, object to this proposed Interstate expansion. We call upon FDOT, the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Staff, TPO Board, and all institutional bodies represented thereon (including Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners) to declare a moratorium on the DTI-OSI project so as to allow for a full vetting of FDOT’s plans. This vetting includes, but is not limited to, a thorough study of the information responsive to the above-enumerated items and meaningful, ongoing community engagement.
Supporting Links and Resources:
Previous Petitions on this matter:
How it will be delivered
We will deliver the petition by hand at TPO meetings. We will email a copy to the Federal DOJ and Federal Transporation Agency.