Imagine a Channelside Drive that complements all the changes taking place in the Channelside District of Tampa.

That's the goal the City of Tampa and the Channel District Community Redevelopment Agency are working towards to improve Channelside Drive.

  • City officials identified goals of the project
  • Residents voiced complaints at workshop
  • Work could begin on Channelside Drive next year

A community workshop was held Monday night to get citizens' input. City officials said several objectives have been identified for the Channelside Drive project. Among them:

  • Improve safety for all users of the street
  • Ensure pedestrians feel comfortable
  • Improve connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods/venues
  • Maintain or improve capacity for motor vehicles

Rob Rosner, Urban Development Manager for the city of Tampa, said the timing fits perfectly.

"It hasn't been resurfaced in 30 years. It's time for a lot of work, and there are some planned utilities that need to happen and there's no better time than when you have to dig up utilities and put them back than to go ahead and fix everything while you're at it," he said.

People attending the workshop voiced a number of complaints about Channelside Drive.

"On the occasions I've walked on Channelside Drive, I didn't really feel safe," said one man in the audience. "It seemed there were alt of vehicles going by at a high rate of speed."

"There's nothing appealing about that section that draws you in and makes you want to ride bikes along there," another man said.

City officials said they'll be looking at things like traffic-calming devices, bike paths and sidewalks to make the road more appealing.

Residents said things seem to be moving in a good direction.

"We moved here in 2005 and we've only been downtown for four years, and they've done nothing but good things so far," said Bob Ponticelli. "Everything they're doing seems to be heading in the right direction, so we're pretty optimistic with what's going on down here."

City officials said work on Channelside Drive could begin next year.