Interstate 175 at 6 St S

A couple of weeks ago a dump truck tried to go under Interstate 175 at 6 St S in downtown St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, the dump truck had something raised which ended up hitting the concrete beams of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 175.

The impact sent chunks of concrete raining down on 6 St S underneath the eastbound lanes. Both the eastbound lanes of Interstate 175 as well as 6 St S were closed while Florida DOT engineers checked the condition of the structure. Two beams crossing 6 St S were severely damaged necessitating their replacement.

The Florida DOT engineers decided that one eastbound lane of Interstate 175 was safe for travel, so traffic was restricted to one lane eastbound crossing 6 St S. Right away workers began the process of removing the bridge decking and barrier wall in order to get access to the two damaged concrete beams.

Meanwhile, over at a concrete bridge beam factory somewhere in Tampa, the two replacement beams were being fabricated in accordance with the original plans when Interstate 175 was built in the late 1970’s. Once cast the beams were trucked to the site for placement onto the overpass bridge piers.

Once the beams were lifted and set into place, all that was left was to re-deck the concrete roadway and reconstruct the barrier wall. About two weeks later, on 30 September 2019 the repairs were complete and the right eastbound lane of Interstate 175 was reopened. In addition, 6 St S was also reopened giving back outbound access to Interstate 275 for those that work at St. Petersburg’s two major hospitals, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg (formerly Bayfront Medical Center).

All in all, I would say kudos to the Florida DOT for getting this very important overpass repaired and back in service! After all, downtown St. Petersburg needs these downtown feeders – Interstates 175 and 375 – to get commuters and visitors from Interstate 275 to the heart of downtown St. Petersburg and vice versa.

Minor changes coming to the website

Happy new year!

Hopefully everyone had a great holiday season; now that the holidays are over everyone is getting back into their normal routine.  I have noticed that Interstate 275 is getting increasingly heavier traffic, especially during the morning and evening commute, now that everyone is back home from their holiday vacations.


Now for some minor changes that are coming soon.  You will want to read this and update your bookmarks and links as appropriate.

If you have noticed by typing Interstate375Florida.com or Interstate175Florida.com into your browser, it takes you to the Interstate 375 or Interstate 175 pages here at Interstate275Florida.com respectively.  After all, Interstates 375 and 175 are the feeders from Interstate 275 into downtown St. Petersburg.

Unfortunately, domain names cost money each year to renew.  When you maintain so many domain names the domain name bill adds up.

In that regard, I am going to make a couple of changes to the downtown St. Petersburg feeders pages here at Interstate275Florida.com:

Interstate375Florida.com: I375.Interstate275Florida.com.
Interstate175Florida.com: I175.Interstate275Florida.com.

The I175 and I375 names that are in front of Interstate275Florida.com are what are called subdomains.  These subdomains will point to a specific page here at Interstate275Florida.com; as an example when you type I375.Interstate275Florida.com into your browser it will take you to the Interstate 375 page, the north downtown St. Petersburg feeder, at Interstate275Florida.com.

No content will change, just how you access it.  Just another way of making content easily accessible here at Interstate275Florida.com.  Be sure to update your bookmarks and links!

The Republican National Convention is coming!

We’re a little more than a week before the 2012 Republican National Convention that is taking place over at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa. While the convention is expected to provide a boost for our region’s economy, it is expected to bring a mess as far as getting around the Tampa/St. Petersburg area the week of the convention is concerned.

First, here is the press release that has been issued by the United States Secret Service on the security restrictions and transportation plan during convention week, which is from 26 August 2012 to 30 August 2012. The press release covers a great deal of information you will need to know as far as getting around the Tampa/St. Petersburg area is concerned. As far as getting around on our region’s major highways including Interstate 275, I am going to touch on the highlights of the security restrictions that will be in place.

While the bulk of the convention will take place over at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, there will be a reception party being held on Sunday, 26 August 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Again, this will mean security related closures and detours.

St. Petersburg:

If you are going to the Rays game at Tropicana Field on Saturday, 25 August 2012 against the Oakland A’s, please be aware that you will not be allowed to park on the street that day due to the security restrictions in place. If you park on Tropicana Field property for the game, be advised that you will have 90 minutes after the last pitch is thrown to remove your vehicle from the Tropicana Field parking lot. As such, there is a special game time of 1:10 PM rather than the usual 7:10 PM game time which is the standard on Saturday games.

Interstate 175 – the southern feeder into downtown St. Petersburg – will be closed to all traffic the afternoon of 26 August 2012 due to the Republican National Convention reception party taking place. If you need to access downtown St. Petersburg during that time, use Interstate 375, the northern feeder into downtown St. Petersburg.

If you need to get to Bayfront Medical Center or All Children’s Hospital during the time Interstate 175 is closed, the recommended route is Interstate 375 to 4 St N, then south on 4 St N (crossing Central Avenue) to 6 Av S. Right on 6 Av S to 6 St S; Bayfront will be on your left as you cross 6 St S while All Children’s will be on your right before you get to 6 St S.

Tampa:

Tampa International Airport will be open during convention week. If you are headed out of town that week and you’re flying out of TIA, be sure to check with your airline for any information that may affect your flight. Expect crowds as you pass through the terminal.

Interstate 275 as it passes by downtown Tampa at the Ashley Street exit (Exit 44) will be open. Expect delays in this area during convention week.

The Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway will be closed between Willow Avenue and 50th Street (US 41) during convention week. However, the upper reversible lanes that provide access to downtown Tampa from Brandon and vice versa will remain open on their regular traffic flow schedule. DETOUR: Use Interstate 275 to Interstate 4 to pass through the area if you regularly use the Selmon Crosstown; again expect delays in the area.

Numerous street closures and temporary traffic patterns in the downtown Tampa area – the press release issued by the United States Secret Service has more details on what you need to know.

Amtrak will be running their regular Silver Star schedules, Train 91 southbound to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami and Train 92 northbound to Orlando, Jacksonville and further north to Washington, DC as well as Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City. As Tampa Union Station is located in close proximity to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa, allow for plenty of time to get to the Amtrak station and expect delays when transiting through downtown Tampa during convention week and be sure to check train status, which can be done at the Amtrak website.

Other important information you need to know for Republican National Convention week:

If you do not have to be in downtown St. Petersburg on Sunday, 26 August 2012 in the vicinity of Tropicana Field, avoid the area on that day.

If you do not have to take care of any business in downtown Tampa the week of the Republican National Convention, avoid the area that week. Due to the enhanced security in place, a number of businesses in the downtown Tampa area will either be curtailing their operations or closing for that week; if you defnintely need to go somewhere in downtown Tampa on convention week call ahead to be sure that where you need to go will be open. If it can wait, do so.

Finally, Interstate275Florida.com extends a warm welcome to the delegates coming to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area for the 2012 Republican National Convention. You will enjoy everything that the Tampa/St. Petersburg area has to offer: Miles of great beaches, sports teams including baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays and football’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fine arts opportunities at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, The Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, many attractions such as Busch Gardens in Tampa and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater (the home of Winter the Dolphin and where the movie Dolphin Tale was filmed), and I can’t forget the region’s majestic scenic attraction: The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the 191-foot high cable stayed bridge connecting St. Petersburg with Bradenton and points south. And much, much more!

The excitement starts the moment you step off your flight and ascend the jetway into Tampa International Airport! You may also want to review my handy tips for travelers flying into Tampa International Airport; it has plenty of information that you need to make your stay in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area a memorable one.

Interstate 175: A repeat of Interstate 375?

Last week I came across this interesting article from Bay News 9’s traffic reporter Chuck Henson: Ramp not just slippery – but dangerous – when wet.

What we’re talking about is the ramp from southbound Interstate 275 onto eastbound Interstate 175 (Exit 22) in downtown St. Petersburg. This ramp has the same design characteristics as its partner to the north at Exit 23: Left hand exit with a steep curve to the left. However, there is a difference in that traffic using this ramp goes under – rather than over – the northbound lanes of Interstate 275.

Unlike Exit 23A (the ramp from southbound Interstate 275 to eastbound Interstate 375), the only warning signage is the word “Left” in black letters on a yellow background above the exit number tabs as well as advisory signage for the ramp speed of 50 mph mounted on the left side of the southbound lanes at the point of exit. To me, this is an accident waiting to happen.

Realize that the parking lots for Tropicana Field – home of the Tampa Bay Rays – are what’s below you when you exit onto Interstate 175 from southbound Interstate 275 or pass through on the Interstate 275 mainline. Just add a rain slick day and a Rays sellout game with a popular team (such as the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox) and you have a potential for an Interstate 375-like accident.

When you exit onto eastbound Interstate 175 from southbound Interstate 275, you will notice that the ramp is banked a little more sharply as it makes its curve towards the east. On the other hand, the Interstate 375 ramp is not as banked to the left. Unfortunately, people in a hurry to be somewhere still continue their 65 mph or greater pace on the Interstate 275 mainline until it’s almost too late.

The concrete deck on the Interstate 175 ramp from southbound Interstate 275 is the same concrete deck when the highway was built in 1977-78. Unfortunately, the concrete deck is not grooved to assist in traction during inclement weather. Additionally, the Interstate 175 ramp from southbound Interstate 275 also has a tendency to flood on the left lane during a severe rain event; there are drains that are supposed to carry the rain water from the ramp into the drainage system but, according to the Bay News 9 article, the ramp area where it floods does not drain.

Now what should be done?

First, get rid of that pesky advisory 50 mph sign mounted on the left side of the ramp and replace it with two Speed Limit 50 regulatory signs plus the speed reduction warning sign before the ramp, just like the setup at Interstate 375. This will get a lot of people to slow down for the ramp, and it will give the Florida Highway Patrol the authority it needs to issue tickets to those who drive way too fast for the ramp. Interstate 175 has a speed limit of 50 mph going eastbound and the speed limit drops to 40 mph at the 6 St S exit prior to Interstate 175’s end at 4 St S.

Second, fix the poor drainage issue on the part of the ramp where it floods in the left lane. The ramp drains are there, but what’s going on as far as maintenance is concerned?

Now for the long term…

The ramps for both Interstate 175 and Interstate 375 from southbound Interstate 275 are indeed haphazardly designed when the highway was built in the mid- to late 1970’s. Unfortunately the engineers to be at the Florida DOT did not take into account the traffic volume nor the fact that we have a Major League Baseball team playing at Tropicana Field, which for all purposes and intents will be staying until the lease expires in 2027. (As for the Rays staying at Tropicana Field, that’s for another topic over at the Edward Ringwald Blog).

What should be done is a collector-distributor ramp should be built from the right lanes which collects traffic from Interstate 275 southbound and distributes traffic into downtown St. Petersburg onto 5 Av N, Interstate 375 and of course Interstate 175. Just like the new collector-distributor ramp that was recently built in Tampa at the exit to Tampa International Airport from northbound Interstate 275 (Exit 39), it would allow traffic headed to downtown St. Petersburg from southbound Interstate 275 to exit at one point and decide how one wants to go into downtown St. Petersburg. Of course traffic headed to Treasure Island would definitely use the 5 Av N exit to reach Central Avenue to head west towards the beaches.

The new collector-distributor ramp would more than likely be a high level ramp that would take motorists over the Interstate 275 mainline to reach Interstates 375 or 175. However, the ramp to 5 Av N would transition from the exit to the existing at grade intersection that currently exists.

So, is it going to take a tragic accident to happen on the Interstate 175 ramp from southbound Interstate 275 – just like what happened on the Interstate 375 ramp – before the Florida DOT gets around to fixing the ramp’s safety issues? You decide.

After all, not only Interstate 175 takes you to downtown St. Petersburg, it also takes you to several important downtown St. Petersburg landmarks including the Mahaffey Theater, the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg Campus and two well known and respected St. Petersburg hospitals: Bayfront Medical Center and the new All Children’s Hospital which has recently joined forces with Baltimore based John Hopkins Healthcare.

The Dr. Edward Cole Highway

If you have driven Interstate 175 in downtown St. Petersburg lately you may have noticed two yellow-on-brown signage in the median, one by the pedestrian overpass if you are headed east and one just before 6 St S if you are headed west. It turns out, when I recently watched a Bay News 9 story, that Interstate 175 was designated as the Dr. Edward Cole Highway.

Do you know who Dr. Edward Cole is?

First and foremost, Dr. Edward Cole was a prominent pediatrician here in St. Petersburg for many years. According to the Bay News 9 article, most people living here in St. Petersburg were cared for by Dr. Cole in their childhood. Back in the days when pediatric health care wasn’t that complicated, St. Petersburg area parents put their faith and confidence in Dr. Cole when their children got sick. In today’s world of health care, it’s hard to find a doctor that can understand your health issues.

Not only Dr. Edward Cole was a prominent St. Petersburg pediatrician, he also served on the St. Petersburg City Council as a Councilmember. Dr. Cole was instrumental in getting the City of St. Petersburg to donate the acreage of land in downtown St. Petersburg so that the University of South Florida (USF) can expand their St. Petersburg Campus to what it is today.

Besides, USF’s St. Petersburg Campus is easy to find. In fact, you see the welcoming monument the moment you come off of Interstate 175 at 4 St S to your right. As you transition from Interstate 175 to 5 Av S (which is a one way road going east; from 4 St S to 3 St S it’s a one block stretch of state highway known as FL 594 which connects into northbound FL 687 at 3 St S), you see more of the USF campus with the parking garage and a Barnes & Noble Bookstore that caters to USF St. Petersburg’s students. Directions to the USF St. Petersburg Campus are well signposted on 5 Av S as you come off of Interstate 175.

Back in the USF St. Petersburg Campus’ heydays, it was just a small campus consisting of a few buildings jutting out into Bayboro Harbor adjacent to the Albert Whitted Airport. Today the campus has grown by leaps and bounds and is an important part of downtown St. Petersburg.

All of this USF St. Petersburg expansion would not have been possible without the vision and encouragement of St. Petersburg’s most prominent pediatrician and city council member. After all, Dr. Cole had a knack of spending money on something that was truly needed – in other words, if you don’t need it don’t spend your money on it.

Now Interstate 175 will bear Dr. Edward Cole’s name as the highway that leads from Interstate 275 to downtown St. Petersburg including Bayfront Medical Center, the new All Children’s Hospital and – what Dr. Cole championed for as a St. Petersburg City Council member – an expanded USF St. Petersburg Campus.

From all of us Interstate 175 users out there that use the highway for commuting to work in downtown St. Petersburg, taking classes at USF St. Petersburg, seeing our primary care doctors based out of Bayfront or All Children’s, or whatever: Thank you Dr. Cole!

Did the Interstate 375 ramp get fixed – or what?

If you have not been by southbound Interstate 275 at the entrance to Interstate 375 lately you may have noticed some differences in the way you are warned just as you get on the high ramp flyover from the left lane. I was surprised when I saw the improvements but these improvements are not enough – yet.

When you are in the left lane to transition from southbound Interstate 275 to eastbound Interstate 375, you are greeted by two kinds of signage recently erected by the good old folks over at the Florida DOT. Here is a description of the signage as you make the transition from Interstate 275 south to Interstate 375 east:

1. On the left side of the southbound lanes of Interstate 275 as you get ready to pass the final overhead sign gantry for Interstate 375, you see a diamond shaped yellow warning sign which is ground mounted. That sign indicates that you are approaching a 50 mph speed zone.

2. Right after you pass the final opportunity for Interstate 375 east from Interstate 275 south, you are greeted by not one but two signs that flank either side of the two lane exit ramp carrying eastbound Interstate 375 traffic: Speed limit 50 mph signs, and this time these signs are regulatory (black text on a white background). In other words, the Exit 50 mph black on yellow advisory signage has been removed.

3. New reflectors mounted on the right hand Jersey barrier wall as you navigate the flyover onto eastbound Interstate 375. These delineate where the Jersey barrier wall is.

So, did the Florida DOT do something to address this increasingly dangerous ramp? The signage is good but not good enough.

In fact, there was a recent article by none other than Drew Harwell at the St. Petersburg Times that briefly explains the improvements done by the Florida DOT. After I have read the article, more work needs to be done – in fact, major work needs to be done to fix this ramp.

More signage needs to be placed in addition to the rudimentary 50 mph ahead and speed limit signage. Over in Tampa at Exit 39 from Interstate 275 southbound there are large warning signs erected with the graphic of the tipping truck because of the design of the ramp which does indeed command reduced speed.

So, here’s my “laundry list” of improvements that the Florida DOT needs to make in the short and mid-term for the dangerous Interstate 375 flyover in downtown St. Petersburg. Hey, Florida DOT, are you reading this?

1. Place an Interstate 375 shield assembly just above the 50 mph ahead warning sign. That way, it lets motorists know that the speed reduction applies only to those motorists who are headed onto eastbound Interstate 375 from southbound Interstate 275.

2. Place yellow warning beacons on top of the Speed Limit 50 signage that was recently erected as an emphasis to let motorists know of the utmost need to reduce speed. After all, there is another set of yellow warning beacons at the end of Interstate 375 where all eastbound traffic is defaulted onto 4 Av N and the speed limit is further reduced to 30 mph.

Now let me emphasize this item a little further. Back when the advisory signage on yellow background was posted the Florida Highway Patrol could not write tickets for anyone going over the 50 mph advisory speed limit on the Interstate 375 flyover. Why? That advisory signage on yellow background was purely advisory in nature and it did not carry the full force and effect of Section 316.183 of the Florida Statutes. In essence, the 65 mph speed limit from Interstate 275 still applied to the Interstate 375 flyover until just before you reach the first sign gantry on eastbound Interstate 375; you had (and still have today) Speed Limit 50 signs flanking either side of the eastbound lanes. Now that the Speed Limit 50 signs have been erected before the flyover, the Florida Highway Patrol can now enforce the reduced speed limit on the flyover and hand out traffic tickets for anyone caught going way too fast on the flyover ramp.

If we step on over to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices – the MUTCD for short – we can understand what the color backgrounds of traffic signs in the USA mean. Yellow coveys a warning message just like the message of the diamond shaped sign before you approach a drawbridge (and the sign is basically the same name, Draw Bridge Ahead), while white conveys a regulatory message informing motorists what can or cannot be done just like the speed limit message. Notice for a moment the meaning of a sign on a white background; it conveys that a certain traffic law which is the subject of the traffic sign must be obeyed at this particular location; for instance, when you travel south on 4 St N towards Gandy Blvd. and you see the Speed Limit 40 sign, you had better reduced your speed to 40 mph or the St. Petersburg Police Department will pull you over and give you a traffic ticket.

(Psst! Want to learn more about traffic signs? Richard Moeur has a great website on traffic signs, simply click on this link – it’s well worth a read! If you are using Internet Explorer 7, you may want to click on that link by right clicking and selecting “open link as a new tab”; that way, you can easily refer back and forth between pages!)

3. Further north on Interstate 275 just about ½ to ¾ mile north of Interstate 375, place signage either ground mounted in the median or a partial overhead gantry mounted in the median warning motorists of the upcoming flyover ahead and the need to begin reducing speed to 50 mph if you intend to exit onto Interstate 375 from southbound Interstate 275. Supplement this with two yellow hazard beacons mounted on top of the sign if you need to place extra emphasis.

4. On the flyover ramp itself, mount a series of left chevrons on the Jersey barrier wall on the right side of the flyover ramp. This will let motorists know that the ramp curves to the left.

5. When the Interstate 375 flyover ramp – as well as the Interstate 275 viaduct which begins at Interstate 375 – was built in 1977, brackets and duct work were put in place to mount highway lighting. Unfortunately, these brackets were not used; instead, high mast lighting was used. Get rid of the high mast lighting and instead place highway lighting on the overpass brackets; if the Florida DOT wants to keep the high mast lighting do so as extra emphasis for safety reasons.

Now we need to explore one more probable safety item, and that is over at Interstate 375’s cousin, Interstate 175 (which is Exit 22 on Interstate 275, the south Downtown St. Petersburg distributor that serves Tropicana Field (Let’s Go Rays!), the two hospitals (Bayfront Medical Center and All Children’s Hospital) and the Mahaffey Theater as well as the St. Petersburg Campus of the University of South Florida). The design of the flyover ramp for Interstate 175 eastbound from Interstate 275 southbound is similar to the design for Interstate 375 and it also requires left lane exit. However, this flyover is a low level flyover in which you go under the northbound lanes of Interstate 275 but the curve banking is much more treacherous than the flyover over at Interstate 375. As this flyover goes over one of Tropicana Field’s parking lots, if you don’t slow down you’ll end up off the ramp and into the parking lot for Tropicana Field – and believe me, you’ll end up being transported to Bayfront Medical Center’s ER rather than a Rays game.

The only warning posted for the Interstate 175 ramp from southbound Interstate 275 is nothing more than a 50 mph ramp advisory sign on a yellow background mounted on the left hand Jersey barrier on the Interstate 275 viaduct just before you exit. Is the Florida DOT waiting for a serious accident to happen on the Interstate 175 flyover as well?

Which leads me to the ultimate major improvement for both eastbound Interstates 375 and 175 from southbound Interstate 275: Construct a right hand exit starting midway between 5 Av N and 22 Av N and have this right hand exit serve 5 Av N, Interstate 375 and Interstate 175. That would mean everyone headed to Downtown St. Petersburg has to use this exit, and that includes anyone wanting to take in a Rays game at Tropicana Field. In other words, it would mean a centralized exit for all of Downtown St. Petersburg from Interstate 275 southbound.

But we don’t know if this major improvement may ever be built. You have major land acquisition issues in this area, not to mention that few homes in this general area are designated as historic landmarks. Then you have the financial issue; in this day and age of the current economy the money isn’t there to do what’s needed. However, there’s the trade-off, and that is motorist safety.

And by the way, if you haven’t read the original St. Petersburg Times article on 6 March 2009, here’s a link straight to the article. Moreover, I also urge you to please read my blog entry on a major attempt by my employer to silence me if you haven’t already. And don’t worry, the Interstate 275 Blog and Interstate275Florida.com will continue to be around for years to come, and I will assure you that my employer will not infringe – or even attempt to infringe – on my First Amendment rights.

Headed to the 2008 World Series at Tropicana Field? Read this!

If you’re headed to Games 1 and/or 2 of the 2008 World Series at Tropicana Field, congratulations! By so doing, you are a part of history in the making as the Tampa Bay Rays go to the World Series for the first time.

Now for those of you coming from Tampa or Bradenton/Sarasota using Interstate 275, you need to pay attention to this blog entry. We’ll show you how to navigate Interstate 275 all the way to Downtown St. Petersburg and Tropicana Field. Also, for those of you lucky St. Petersburg residents who got tickets to either or both World Series games, we’ll show you how to navigate Interstate 275 to the Trop.

Coming from Tampa:

Use Interstate 275 south (crossing the Howard Frankland Bridge) to Exits 23A (Interstate 375) or Exit 22 (Interstate 175). Make sure you remain in the left lane for either exit, as these exits from Interstate 275 are left hand exits.

If you use Exit 23A: Take the first exit from Interstate 375, which will be Martin Luther King Street North. Turn right onto Martin Luther King Street North and remain in the right lane as you will go south about six blocks. Turn right at 3rd Avenue South and that will take you into the Tropicana Field parking lot.

If you use Exit 22: Recommended exit is the second exit on Interstate 175, 6th Street South, as the first exit – Martin Luther King Street South/8th Street South – will be congested. Once you get off on 6th Street South, turn left and go north on 6th Street South for two blocks. Then you will want to turn left onto 3rd Avenue South and proceed west; this will take you into the Tropicana Field parking lot.

Coming from Bradenton/Sarasota:

Use Interstate 275 north (crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, $1.00 toll) to Exit 22, Interstate 175. Be sure to be in the right lane.

Recommended exit is the second exit on Interstate 175, 6th Street South, as the first exit – Martin Luther King Street South/8th Street South – will be congested. Once you get off on 6th Street South, turn left and go north on 6th Street South for two blocks. Then you will want to turn left onto 3rd Avenue South and proceed west; this will take you into the Tropicana Field parking lot.

No matter what direction you come from, always read and follow variable message signs posted on Interstate 275 as you get closer to Tropicana Field. These signs will advise you on parking availability at Tropicana Field as well as Downtown St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg area residents headed to Games 1 and/or 2:

Follow the directions given above if you are headed to Tropicana Field on Interstate 275. Alternatively, you can follow 4th Street North, Martin Luther King Street North or 16th Street North as these streets will lead you into Downtown St. Petersburg and Tropicana Field. Besides, these three streets are a great alternative to Interstate 275 if in the event it becomes congested.

Parking at Tropicana Field:

The advice from the City of St. Petersburg: Get there early.

Here’s more advice from the City of St. Petersburg which you should know about before setting out to Tropicana Field to see the World Series which I would like to share with you:

Get there early: Enjoy restaurants and other entertainment opportunities downtown before the games. For the ALCS series, fans were observed arriving early; and this strategy will need to continue. Fans arriving several hours before the first pitch (8 p.m) will find parking available in on-site parking lots (approx. 7,000 spaces). Fans arriving an hour or two early will find parking available in surface lots within a half mile walk of the field (approx. 4,000 additional spaces). Many supplementary lots have opened for the playoffs, including the City’s water resources lot on 16th Street near 2nd Avenue North. Fans arriving after surrounding parking is full will need to park closer to the downtown waterfront and either walk or take the free baseball shuttle. If all on-site parking lots are full, police and variable message boards will indicate that fans need to utilize overflow parking.

Take the free shuttle to Tropicana Field: Avoid the traffic and higher parking costs around Tropicana Field. City officials have added extra vehicles and service time to the shuttle system in order to accommodate more fans. On both days, the shuttle will begin service at 5:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. games. Shuttle service ends 90 minutes after the end of each game. The free baseball shuttle picks up fans at the corner of Central Ave. and Second St. S. (under the Bank of America Tower’s pedestrian bridge) and drops off passengers on First Ave. S. near 16th St. The city-owned South Core garage, accessible on First Ave. S. just east of Second St., is the designated shuttle parking facility and costs $5. Other parking is available in the immediate downtown area. A dedicated van will be available for guests with special needs. Additional information including a route map can be found at www.loopertrolley.com/Events and additional baseball parking information is available at www.stpete.org/baseballparking.

Park downtown by the waterfront: For the Rays game, drivers should utilize the South Core garage as described above. The best route to the South Core garage from I-275 is the I-175 exit and drivers should stay in the left lanes to bypass the baseball traffic getting off at 8th Street and 6th Street. Drivers will then take a left on 3rd Street and a right on 1st Avenue South to arrive at the South Core garage. Parking downtown will generally be less expensive than parking around Tropicana Field.

Utilize alternate routes to the game: Drivers familiar with local roads may wish to avoid the interstate system in favor of surface level roads. Fourth Street from the north is a good route to both downtown parking and Tropicana Field parking. From the South, fans can utilize 16th Street and 5th Avenue South. Fans utilizing the interstate from the North may wish to exit early and utilize 54th, 38th or 22nd Avenue North and go east to 4th Street. Fans coming from the South on the interstate can exit early on 31st Street to 5th Avenue South.

Utilize alternate routes after the game: Alternate routes are also advisable after leaving the game. Points of congestion to avoid include 8th, MLK and 20th Streets between 5th Avenue South and 5th Avenue North as well as 5th Avenue North, from 8th Street to 22nd Street. Alternate routes to the interstate are advisable including 4th Street North to 38th or 54th Avenue North for north-bound traffic and 4th Street south to I-175, then I-275 or 31st Street South to I-275 for south-bound traffic. Drivers on 1st Avenue North may wish to go west to 34th Street and then go north or south rather than utilizing the primary routes of MLK, 8th and 20th streets. These alternate routes and points of congestion should also be noted by other drivers who may not have gone to the game but are on the road during peak ingress and egress periods.

Beware of where you park: Do not violate parking regulations; parking enforcement will be issuing citations for illegal parking. Also be careful when parking in overflow lots surrounding Tropicana Field. There have been reports of persons illegally selling parking on property they do not own or control. Do not park in a lot if you are not sure that it is legitimate. Parking attendants should be in uniform and should provide a receipt/ticket when you pay. If the lot or the attendant/cashier does not look legitimate, park somewhere else.


To sum up, here’s a schedule for the 2008 World Series played at Tropicana Field:

Game 1 is Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 8 PM.
Game 2 is Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 8 PM.
Game 6 is Wednesday, 29 October 2008 at 8 PM.
Game 7 is Thursday, 30 October 2008 at 8 PM.

Games 3, 4 and 5 are being played in Philadelphia; Games 6 and 7 will be played if necessary.

I got a related blog entry on the Tampa Bay Rays’ 2008 championship season, which you can read by clicking here. It’s worth a look!

LET’S GO RAYS! LET’S TAKE HOME THE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP! Interstate275Florida.com and EdwardRingwald.com are proud of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 2008 achievement!

Interstate 175 Reconstruction Underway

If you are one of those motorists who make Interstate 175 a part of your morning commute, chances are you have seen construction taking place. What you are seeing is a reconstruction project similar to that on Interstate 375 done in 2006.

Much like what was done on Interstate 375, this project will involve the following according to the Florida DOT’s Tampa Bay Interstates site:

1. Replacement of concrete slabs where needed such as cracked slabs

2. Resurfacing of the concrete surface for a smooth travel experience

3. And most importantly, replacement of signage as needed (some of the signage is there from day one when Interstate 175 was opened around 1979)

Until the work is completed, you may see lane shifts and sometimes closures as needed. I know, it’s an inconvenience to all but we have to endure these conditions if we want better roads. For more information you may want to check out the Florida DOT’s Tampa Bay Interstates site at MyTBI.com and select the Interstate 175 icon at the top of the page. Additionally, for more information on Interstate 175 you may want to check out my Interstate 175 page at Interstate275Florida.com.