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Old 03-20-2008, 01:14 AM
 
2,531 posts, read 5,662,932 times
Reputation: 1286

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I used to live in the Tampa Bay area for a couple of years, and I wanted the perspective of locals in the area about this.

One morning, I was listening to a radio show I was, and it sort of validated something I noticed around in the Tampa Bay area, although this can be
applied to other metropolitan areas as well.

For example, someone on the radio talked about how he was born and raised in Tampa, and had never been to the beaches along the Suncoast -some of which are reputed to be some of the best in the country. He and his family would go to Ben T. Davis beach instead, which is on the polluted Tampa Bay. I know people around here who had never been or go to St. Pete unless for work-related reasons, and people who never go to Tampa, unless they had someone to pick up at the airport.



Coming from California, driving long distances is no sweat for me, so when I lived in Highpoint, I went to Tampa quite often. It was easier for me to get to Tampa, since it's a straight shot from where I lived off Roosevelt Blvd/Ulmerton Road area to I-275, than it is to go to Clearwater and points north, because of the construction and congestion of US-19.

My dad worked in South St. Pete at the time and people looked at us as if we are crazy when we tell them that we lived off Ulmerton Road. It's only a 20 minute drive in light traffic, but people acted as if we live in Jacksonville. "Oh my God, why do you live way up there?!" people
ask us. With the housing prices the way they were, South St. Pete was out of the question for us.


Meanwhile, people at my job (off Ulmerton Road) commuted from places as far as Temple Terrace and Riverview, and somehow make it to work and
live to tell about it.

I thought the "Bridge mentality" comes from the fact that many parts of the Bay Area are hemmed in by water, and there is no way to get from certain parts of town to another without having to go over, well, a bridge!-Howard Frankland, Courtney Campbell, or the Gandy or the Sunshine Skyway.

In some ways, I understand that part of this mentality comes from the fact that although now the Bay Area is a metro area with 2.5 million
people or so, it wasn't always this way. I always thought St. Pete, for felt like a ''big town'', whereas Tampa feels like a small city. (People who
live(d) in Minneapolis/St. Paul will know exactly what I'm talking about)

Another reason I think is the suburban areas seem to be much newer than Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater themselves, and the infrastructure has not really caught up with all the people who have moved here either. US-19 should have been a freeway 20 years ago, and the Howard Frankenstein was only widened 10 years ago. Since US-19 is mostly an arterial, it can take an hour or more to get from one end of the county to another. I hated US-19, and I commute on I-285 nowadays, so that should tell you something.


Is it the large population of retirees, who may hate to drive anywhere far?

My dad fell for the bridge mentality when he lived here. I told him that we may have to move to Hillsborough County to find a cheaper house, but he was not hearing it.

One thing I did like about the way Tampa Bay was that many of the areas were designed to have everything you needed within a spitting distance. I live in Atlanta now, and the popular way of developing up here is to put all the stuff on one major street for so many miles. Think of the Bruce B. Downs Blvd situation up in New Tampa/Wesley Chapel, and think of this being repeated many times over throughout a metropolitan area. Actually, Bruce B. Downs and Brandon Blvd seemed to be the worst of it.

Is it civic rivalry? Folks from St. Pete seem to be really sensitive about their 'place' in the metro area. It seems like this spills over into the media. Channels 8 and 13 were obviously "Tampa" stations while Channel 10 is the "St. Pete/Pinellas" Station. Channel 28 seems to be "Tampa Bay all around", and yet, dead last in the ratings!

So, even though this is the second-largest metropolitan area in Florida, it didn't 'feel' like it to me.

Contrast this to Orlando, which unlike Tampa, has grown out in all directions, since it's not hemmed in by large bodies of water (Lake
Apopka notwithstanding). Also, the general growth of the area has been focused to the north and east AWAY from the tourist areas to the south
and west. People know it's a spread out area, and they accept it, and commute accordingly and begrudgingly.


Am I the only one who notices this? Your thoughts?
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Old 03-20-2008, 07:07 AM
 
Location: South Tampa - Bayside West Neighborhood
1,824 posts, read 7,803,919 times
Reputation: 1031
LOL...in Tampa talk to some people that live "South of Kennedy", as in South Tampa...it's crazy but some never want to go "North of Kennedy" Blvd unless they HAVE to

Maybe some people just feel confortable in their community or neighborhood, and dont like to venture out much...me, I'm an explorer and will take advantage of the entire areas excellent mix of activies, culture, recreation, etc....

I would likek to see the Community Leaders(County and City) take a more REGIONAL approach to certain issues and concerns, it has gotten better in the 20 years I have called the Tampa Bay area home.
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Old 03-20-2008, 07:55 AM
 
15,864 posts, read 33,279,973 times
Reputation: 20115
Quote:
Originally Posted by tampaguy03 View Post
LOL...in Tampa talk to some people that live "South of Kennedy", as in South Tampa...it's crazy but some never want to go "North of Kennedy" Blvd unless they HAVE to

Maybe some people just feel confortable in their community or neighborhood, and dont like to venture out much...me, I'm an explorer and will take advantage of the entire areas excellent mix of activies, culture, recreation, etc....

I would like to see the Community Leaders(County and City) take a more REGIONAL approach to certain issues and concerns, it has gotten better in the 20 years I have called the Tampa Bay area home.
LOL - Tampaguy, my hubby always tells me about those guys he works in downtown Tampa with staying "South of Kennedy!" As if the rest of the city is a sewer or something. My hubby has always commuted long distances, as did his dad. We live in Lakeland, he prefers driving the 45 minute, 35 mile commute to living in South Tampa. We like it here, and he prefers being a good distance from his stressful job, as he finds it to be more relaxing.

I think overall though many people just don't want to drive long distances in congested traffic, it's just not pleasant. And heaven help you if you get stuck on one of those "bridges." We drive all over, however, my dad would never go anywhere - he mostly stayed in West Tampa where we lived; although when he was much younger we went to the beaches in Clearwater and St. Pete a lot. SIDENOTE: A post above mentioned "polluted" Tampa Bay, and I agree it used to be but it is much better now - the water looks real nice compared to what it did many years ago. I'm just sad that all the neat funky "fish shack" type restaurants are gone from the Causeway and replaced by condos, hotels, and big chain eateries .
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