Selmon connector to I-4 having positive impact on Ybor City - WFLA News Channel 8

Selmon connector to I-4 having positive impact on Ybor City

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - It's been 90 days since the Selmon Expressway connector opened. The connector links the toll road to Interstate 4 and provides a direct link for truck traffic into the Port of Tampa.

The opening of the new roadway is having a real impact in Ybor City.

Tabanero Cigars in Ybor is located on 22nd Street and before the connector opened, getting in the front door of the store could be a frightening experience.

Large trucks rumbled just a few feet away from the store entrance as the rolled up 22nd on the way to the interstate.

For Tabanero Cigars, foot traffic into the store is important.

"We have a lot of tours. We take people through the history of Ybor City, We take em through the history of the cigar and what makes Ybor City so special," said manager Steve Stamberger.

Christa Deason, the Public Information Officer with Florida's Turnpike Enterprise says the Selmon Connector is meeting traffic projections.

Deason says an estimated 23,000 vehicles a day are using the toll road, 2,000 trucks a day are making use of the new road.

"Almost immediately the first week we noticed a significant reduction in truck traffic," said Stamberger.

The opening of the road is also opening development possibilities in Ybor City.

Bob McDonough, City of Tampa Urban Development Manager, says the truck traffic had been acting as a barrier.

"We' re going to see a gradual change, because building the connector and moving some of the truck traffic is really part of what's going to happen," said McDonough.

In the next year, McDonough says the state will give control of 21st and 22nd streets to the city of  Tampa.

When that happens the streets will be narrowed, parking and landscaping will be added to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

"So lots that have sat vacant for a while, may have been used as surface parking will again be attractive for development purposes," said McDonough.

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