- Aug 26, 2019
- Reaction score
When I next visit Boston....living in Tampa now. I miss Boston. Tampa is struggling to "get there" but has far to go. It continues to cater to conventions and tourists, but there isn't even a 7-11 downtown to buy snacks.Mike -- I like what I've seen so far both inside and outside -- However, there is only one way to test a place like that -- stroll over and hoist a pint to Sam himself-- as we are now entering the immediate run-up to the 250th of all that "hullabaloo" that King George didn't care too much about
The food scene is mediocre in general with a few exceptions. Benches in downtown parks were removed to deter homeless people! The downtown streets are poorly lit and not walkable. The new Channel district is taking shape...a large area with dozens of new buildings, but it's not easily accessible due to the overhead highways and choked streets.
The old Tampa was small and walkable, with a trolley system (a small and almost useless remnant remains that can take you from downtown to Ybor City, the old cigar factory district. There remains some really interesting architecture from the teens and twenties that survived urban "renewal."
Over the last century the population exploded and pushed north throughout Hillsborough county with densely packed neighborhoods, Route 1 style boulevards of retail (6-8 lanes wide!), the destruction of most of the old downtown, skyscrapers built on top of garage stacks (as in Chicago), and a disjointed cityscape, which has yet to come together despite the new Riverwalk and other developments that all require cars and parking garages and lots to get to.
Cultural amenities are few but of high quality, such as the Straz center (but they built the brutalist facility to face the river with it's concrete ass mooning the rest of the city.) I can see real possibilities of renewal and an increase in pedestrian improvements, but not the cash. Instead whenever there's an "event" it's huge, and people come down into the city, which acts as the bottom of a funnel, making getting around in the heat most uncomfortable, until you realize that there's no parking available or that the at the end of the event the highways are dangerous kill zones. Boston drivers are tame in comparison.
Lots of empty lots remain undeveloped and the equivalent of the central artery cuts the core city off from the rest of the county.
Tampa will never be like Boston; it's more like Worcester in size and L.A. in it's stultifying downtown (lots of court houses and government buildings) and sprawl. The city of Tampa is only small part of Hillsborough County, which everyone calls "Tampa", which in itself is huge. It's mostly unincorporated and filled with a large diversity of neighborhoods. I live in one of those neighborhoods, Carrollwood (just a name). In fact the county is filled with named areas that are there just because... To make things more confused there is within Hillsborough County two or three incorporated towns like Tampa, none of which have a sense of place other than the major county roads which are wider than and as long as Mass. Ave.. Can't beat he weather though!
[Mod (re)inserted paragraph breaks; consider moving this to a comparative urbanism discussion]