The month of January always brings forth two major events, one of which is specific to the Tampa Bay Area. The first event, coming up tomorrow – Saturday, January 25, 2013, is the Gasparilla Pirate Fest! This parade features a cast of swashbuckling characters who throw beads off vehicular floats. Hundreds of revelers flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Blvd each year to take part in the festivities! The Gasparilla parade goes all the way back to 1904!
The second event that I want to highlight is Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be held Sunday, February 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. This annual sporting event brings thousands of spectators together, whether at the stadium, at sports bars, or even at home! What’s different about this year’s Super Bowl, is that the states of New York and New Jersey are sharing hosting duties, which means a HUGE collaboration when it comes to transit, and getting fans around quickly. I’ll highlight in a moment about what is being done to make this year’s Super Bowl a hassle-free one on the roads and tracks.
2014 Gasparilla Pirate Fest
Let me first go through as to what to expect for Gasparilla tomorrow. You can expect tons of road closures in around Bayshore Blvd, as well as parts of Downtown Tampa. This means that you’ll have to access Downtown from the northwest (via Cass St) if you’re travelling from South Tampa. The entire stretch of Bayshore Blvd will be closed beginning this evening at 10:00pm in order to ensure that final preparations for tomorrow’s parade are able to take place. The Platt and Brorien St bridges will close during the overnight hours, along with numerous other streets in the surrounding area. Davis Island access will be maintained throughout the day Saturday, but the on/off-ramps to/from Bayshore will be closed.
Let me stress one thing; if you don’t need to be in Downtown Tampa on Saturday the 25th, then please don’t go to Downtown!
Once the parade ends, floats will disembark in a designated zone in Downtown Tampa, so many Downtown streets will be closed during the day. Additionally, many parking lots will be utilized for Gasparilla parking, which will cause further congestion along Downtown streets. If you do plan to park in Downtown, Hyde Park, or any other designated parking lot for the Gasparilla parade, please be sure to bring cash for parking fees. Also, please be aware that the City of Tampa prohibits parking on some streets.
For a full listing of street closures during the Gasparilla parade, click here.
Avoid Parking Hassles! Use HART!
Select HART bus routes and the TECOline Streetcar Line will operate on a modified schedule on Saturday, and some bus routes will be detoured due to road closures. I’ll go through a brief rundown of what to expect if you’re using transit to get to and from the parade. For detailed information, please visit the HART website.
Routes 7, 8, 14, 19, & 30 will be detoured! Please plan your trip accordingly!
- Routes 7 & 14 will detour via Palm Ave and WILL NOT SERVE CASS ST.
- Route 8 will be detoured via Nuccio Pkwy & Cass St. The normal route through Channelside and southern Downtown WILL NOT BE SERVED.
- Routes 19 & 30 will be detoured via I-275. The Platt/Cleveland/Brorien/Davis Island segments of Route 19 & the Kennedy Blvd segment east of Armenia/Howard WILL NOT BE SERVED.
- Please make alternate arrangements if you are needing to get to/from Tampa General Hospital. I HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT ANY SPECIAL SHUTTLE SERVICES BEING PROVIDED TO/FROM TAMPA GENERAL. SO I HAVE TO ASSUME THAT THERE WILL BE NO SUCH SHUTTLE ARRANGEMENTS THIS YEAR.
- The TECOline Streetcar will run a modified schedule and will only serve selected stations during selected times of the day. However, the Dick Greco Plaza, Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union, and Centennial Park stations will be served all day. The Whiting station will be CLOSED all day.
- Feeder bus shuttles will pick up passengers at Dick Greco Plaza, Cumberland Ave, Cadrecha Plaza, and Streetcar Society stations to help get customers between various parking venues and the parade route.
- The In-Town Trolleybus will offer service from Dick Greco Plaza to the Marion Transit Center to allow for speedy travel between northern Downtown and the parade route.
For a map describing the above transit services for Gasparilla, click here. For maps describing route detours for Routes 7, 8, 14, 19, & 30, click here. You can also get more information from HART’s recent blog post. If you reside in the Town-N-Country area, you can park your car at the Northwest Transfer Center and use Route 30 to connect to the Gasparilla festivities!
NEW TO HART?
If you answered “YES”, I invite you to watch this neat video that HART put together through City of Tampa Television! HART partnered with members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla to show everyone how to use the HART bus system! Remember…safety first! I don’t want to see anyone walk the plank!
Super Bowl XLVIII
During the weekend of February 1 & 2, the MTA of New York & New Jersey Transit (aka NJ Transit) will be working together to provide optimal transit services for Super Bowl XLVIII. Both agencies will have modified bus and rail services throughout the weekend, and special feeder bus shuttles to and from MetLife Stadium-bound rail stations will also be available.
In fact, due to security concerns, private vehicles will be prohibited from entering the stadium perimeter during the Super Bowl (unless pre-approved arrangements have been made), so NJTransit’s rail line from Secaucus Junction and pre-arranged hotel buses will be the only allowable modes of transport to and from MetLife Stadium on game day. ONLY CUSTOMERS WITH SUPER BOWL GAME DAY TICKETS WILL BE ALLOWED TO BOARD STADIUM-BOUND TRAINS AT SECAUCUS JUNCTION.
Because of the huge collaboration between NJ Transit and the MTA, a neat transit map has been put together showing connecting surface rail and subway lines throughout the metro area.
For further information about getting around via transit on Super Bowl Weekend, click here.
Tampa Bay Area Transit Ridership for December, 2013 shatters records!
To close out 2013, both HART and PSTA once again saw record-shattering bus ridership! HART saw 1,204,729 rides in December, 2013, a 7% increase over December, 2012. PSTA saw 1,164,858 rides in December, 2013, a 3.2% increase over December, 2012. Both districts have seen modest gains in daily ridership figures as well, with HART’s MetroRapid and PSTA’s Connector services continuing to lead the way! USF’s transit agreement with HART is also playing a major role, with nearly 230,000 students and faculty members using the HART bus system since July, 2013!