Not until that invitation arrives to come celebrate the holidays at home, can the travel plans begin. Jumping into a car, on a plane, bus, or train without having a destination would be senseless. That’s how a bigger and better Hillsborough County transit system would be without having a Westshore Multimodal Center as a destination.
Now, after months of uncertainty, a site may be emerging. If constructed, the center could be used as a hub for an extension of the Tampa International Airport people-mover, a depot for HART local and express buses, and a station for future rail and/or bus rapid transit connecting to Pinellas and Pasco counties. It could also serve as the terminus for a modern streetcar or other premium transit line from downtown Tampa.
In 2012, the MPO worked with FDOT, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), the City of Tampa, and the Westshore Alliance to determine four possible locations for the Center. Further study determined that the site with the most potential to accommodate future transit and connect to the airport and Howard Frankland was the site of Charley’s Steakhouse and the Doubletree Hotel on Cypress Street. FDOT began moving forward with purchasing the site but negotiations ended when the landowner doubled the asking price.
But there’s good news! There are now new owners who have auctioned the property. FDOT submitted a bid to secure the location for the Westshore Multimodal Center… and renewed hope that future transit will have a place to land in Westshore.