This I-275 intervention sees the existing highway as an opportunity to integrate more “Open-Minded” urban spaces. These spaces would be dedicated to a variety of uses that benefit and connect our communities. Throughout Tampa Bay’s history, we have experienced the impact that the superimposed I-275 highway has had as a disruptor in the sub-urban fabric. The proposed project originated from a design process rooted in reconciliation by seeking design opportunities existing within the built environment.
At the upper level, the highway acts as a vehicular connector to the different districts in the Tampa Bay area. The proposed project will reinforce that connection by providing an uninterrupted light rail rapid transit system that will connect North to South on districts from University Square to Downtown Tampa. Stations are strategically located on the west to east roads, where a transit bus system connects east and West Tampa.
The station prototype can be accessed via overpass bridges. This proposal transforms these overpasses into gateways where spaces are activated with programmatic and design elements to create a safe and welcoming environment. At ground level, users experience local shops, public art, vegetation, gathering spaces as well as a bike lane before circulating to the upper level. At the upper level, users are welcomed by a floating canopy and generous sitting as they wait for the light rail.
Using I-275 as the container for a light rail rapid transit system, this plan has the potential to link the whole Tampa Bay area, including New Tampa and St. Petersburg, while offering public transportation and reducing the need for driving.