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tampa road geekery

I've become quite familiarized with more than a few roads over the years since moving here in 2006.

For the most part I have no problem getting around. But some roads are better than others.

Busch Blvd.

This road is part of SR-580. I'm on this road a lot, and since the reconstruction it now moves along a lot better - but to be honest it was never that bad to begin with. The intersections are turns are laid out in a way that make sense. The flow allows people to move without getting aggressive - and that's important.

Fowler Ave.

This is the road north of Busch and part of SR-582. This one is okay as long as you watch your ass when you pass by USF. Why? College kids, of course. Whether it's a rich kid in a Mercedes or a poor kid in a beat up Civic, expect them to cut you off every time.

Fletcher Ave.

This road north of Fowler Ave. is supposed to be part SR-579, but is in reality SR-582A. This one passes the north side of USF and is much easier to travel on because it's not the main USF entrance.

56th St.

This is part of SR-583. It's an easy road to travel on except when it rains because there are parts of it that flood easily. During the summer when those daily super-short torrential rains happen, you will literally run into water that's one to three inches deep. As long as you're aware of it, you're fine. But there are always those that don't, and those are the drives you have to watch out for.

Dale Mabry Highway

I don't like this one and avoid it when I can. It's a big-ass road that in some spots is just way, way too wide. I understand that it was pretty much forced to be that way because of business development (and that's fine because it brings in money to the city), but as a traveler it's a pain in the ass to drive on. Too many aggressive drivers.

Hillsborough Ave.

This is part of US-92. The biggest problems with this road in the Tampa area are that the lanes are too skinny and the intersections are in major need of an overhaul - and that's why people bash into each other so often over there. There is no way to drive Hillsborough Ave. during high traffic hours without being aggressive. You must go with the flow of traffic or lose a fender.. or two. 🙂

Bruce B. Downs Blvd.

This is SR-581 and is part of what's called New Tampa.

A few words on New Tampa:

Is it separate from Tampa? No. It's within Tampa city limits. It's a 24-square mile area that's full of cookie cutter luxury homes (which they call "residential communities"), bland landscapes, strip malls and crappy drivers.

Regular good ol' Tampa drivers are far better than those in New Tampa because at least our roads aren't full of soccer moms driving their gas-guzzler SUVs while blabbing on their cell phones.

You know that manufactured bliss thing I've talked about before? Yeah, that. New Tampa is it. They should have just called it Plasticville. Y'know, like Tampa Palms.

And by the way, if you're looking to buy one of those cookie cutter homes, now is a good time. In Plasticville they had big signs next to those "communities" that said Homes from the low 200s, meaning $200,000. Guess what they say now? I'll tell you. Homes from the low 80s. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Hot tip: Never move into one of those communities unless you're 100% aware of what you're getting into. My advice is that if you want to be a homeowner in Florida, own your own land and own house. If you can't do that or the location you want doesn't offer it, rent. Don't think twice about it. Owning a home in those "master planned" communities are for suckers.

Okay, anyway.. after that tirade..

Bruce B. Downs through New Tampa is actually fairly decent, however there is some weirdness to it. First, there are crowns and leans. If you're in the left lane in certain parts, your vehicle is literally leaning to the left. In parts of the center lanes there are humps.

The crappiest part about Bruce B. Downs is how many times you have to stop. While it's true the traffic lights have a good bit of distance between them, just when you get to cruising speed is when you have to slow down and stop again. It's very, very annoying.

I may write about some other roads later on, but this is too long already. 🙂


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