Tampa Heights welcomes new transit options

- Whether by water or land, residents and visitors will have easy access to the growing Tampa Heights area. Starting Monday, Tampa’s Special Services District is expanding to include the area just north of downtown. 

"Now that downtown is growing in the adjacent urban neighborhoods are growing and becoming more popular, the expansion of the district made sense,” said Shaun Drinkard with the Tampa Downtown Partnership. “It will offer some of the services that we provide within the district into Tampa Heights area as well."

Those services include the bus, water taxi, bike share and the Downtowner -- an app-connected electric vehicle offered free of charge. It will take travelers to places like Waterworks Park, and foodie hot spots like Amarture Works and The Hall on Franklin. 

The owner of The Hall on Franklin, which is a sort of collective eatery that opened about a year ago, says having more transportation options will help with the growth in visitors they've seen over the last 12 months.

"We're probably getting 60,000 people a month, and that creates challenges: parking, safety,” said Maureen Ayral. “Without that transportation source it creates more traffic and parking congestion."

But it goes beyond getting customers in the door. 

"It's also the guidance, and the mentoring that we know we'll receive from the partnership,” added Avral. “They've already worked with us on assembling our voice. It’s a win-win for the city of Tampa."

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