Archives for June 2009

Finally, A Deal For Beach Parking Garage

Clearwater Beach has finally struck a deal to build a city parking garage. City council voted unanimously on a 300 space 4 level garage atop ground floor retail space. Vehicles will enter and exit the garage from Coronado Drive.

The site is currently the home of Britt’s Laguna Grill, a popular restaurant on the Beachwalk promenade. A new Britt’s will be located on the ground floor. Surf Style Retail Management, who owns the site will pay to build the garage itself, with no city tax dollars. It has not yet been determined what the city will charge for parking, but it will likely be similar the agreement the city has with the Hyatt, which will have 400 parking places for the public in its 750-space garage – rates must be “comparable” to the garages of other beachfront resorts.

The Beachwalk project, which was completed last year, eliminated hundreds of waterfront parking spaces on S. Gulfview Blvd, and the city has been scrambling ever since to come up with replacements. The city is currently leasing 2 vacant lots for parking.

The project is expected to to be complete by next fall.

Tampa Bay Light Rail Transit System Approved

Transportation planners voted to approve a plan that would build a light rail and express bus service around Tampa Bay. The plan includes more than 100 miles of light rail lines and more than 400 miles of bus service by 2035. It would continue to grow by the year 2050, ultimately connecting seven counties and 43 cities.

Organizers anticipate that federal money will cover most of the cost, but at least a portion will be covered by a local sales tax increase, or other means. The first priority is expected to connect a light rail from the University of South Florida area to downtown Tampa.