The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Seven conducted a Project Development & Environment (PD&E) Study for Fowler Avenue/State Road (SR) 582 from N. Florida Avenue to west of N. 56th Street in Hillsborough County, Florida, a distance of approximately 4.0 miles.
The project limits are shown on the project location map below.
Fowler Avenue is currently a four-lane facility from N. Florida Avenue to Interstate 275, an eight-lane divided facility between Nebraska Avenue (US 41) and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard (County Road (CR) 581)/N. 30th Street, and six-lanes divided elsewhere. Bicycle facilities are located adjacent to the travel lanes and pedestrian accommodations are locate adjacent, but separate from the travel lanes.
Fowler Avenue is classified as an urban principal arterial. It is also a critical evacuation route as designated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s evacuation route network.
The Fowler Avenue PD&E Study evaluated transit alternatives from Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and innovative intersections from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard to Bull Run Drive. The transit corridor from Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard would reconfigure Fowler Avenue to include one of three transit alternatives: Business Access and Transit Lane; Median Guideway; and Frontage Lane. Intersection and bicycle and pedestrian safety was also studied throughout the project limits.
The objective of the project was to develop and evaluate a “Build” alternative and provide the environmental and engineering analyses and documentation for the FDOT to reach a decision on the type, conceptual design, and location of the improvements. The “No-Build” or “No Action” alternative remained a viable option throughout the PD&E Study.
Fowler Avenue is an urban principal arterial that provides vital east-west connectivity between I-275 on the west end of the project corridor and I-75 just outside the project corridor to the east. The 7.8-mile alignment of Fowler Avenue is from N. Florida Avenue to U.S. 301, a major U.S. route that runs from Sarasota, FL to Delaware. The corridor is a regional east-west commuter route for residential communities that lie to the west (Forest Hills and Carrollwood) and east (Thonotosassa).
There are nine Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) routes that traverse Fowler Avenue in the study corridor (Routes 1, 400, 45, 12, 9, 5, 48, 275 LX and 6) providing transit service to destinations throughout Hillsborough County.
There are also existing bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides of Fowler Avenue providing connectivity for individuals and bicyclists.
A total of 3,320 crashes were documented between 2015 and 2019 along this corridor. Approximately 56% were rear-end crashes, which is a crash type typically related to “stop-and-go driving” conditions and is indictive of traffic congestion, and approximately 20% were angle and left-turn crashes. Of the 3,320 total crashes, there were 53 severe crashes with nine fatalities and 46 incapacitating injuries. A total of 120 of the total crashes involved a pedestrian or bicyclist, which includes the nine fatalities and 17 incapacitating injuries. Refer to the graphics below for all crashes and crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists.
From Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard/N. 30th Street, three transit corridor alternatives were analyzed independently during the PD&E Study. All three alternatives include the conversion of the existing general purpose/continuous right turn lanes into transit prioritized/exclusive lanes to accommodate transit. These transit alternatives included:
- Business Access Transit (BAT) Lane Concept
- Frontage Lane Concept
- Median Guideway Concept
Refer to the following graphics developed for FDOT’s University Area Multimodal Feasibility Study for each transit alternative. These alternatives will be further developed in accordance with this study as it progresses.
From Bruce B. Downs Boulevard to west of N. 56th Street, innovative intersection concepts were analyzed, but found to not be feasible. Innovative intersections analyzed include partial Median U-Turns (MUT), Restricted Crossing U-Turns (R-CUT), Thru-cuts and/or other innovative designs.
Project alternatives will provide safety improvements and multi-modal accommodations along the Fowler Avenue project corridor from N. Florida Avenue to west of N. 56th Street.
Partnerships & Companion Studies
Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit (HART) Arterial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) –
HART BRT Arterial Study (gohart.org)
Hillsborough County Planning Commission Fowler Avenue Vision Plan –
Fowler Avenue Vision Study | Plan Hillsborough
Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) Regional Rapid Transit (RRT) –
Regional Rapid Transit | TBARTA
FDOT University Area Intermodal Center Study
FDOT N. 56th Street/ 50th Street Corridor Planning Study –
56th Street / 50th Street Corridor Planning Study (fdotd7studies.com)
Study Purpose and Need
Purpose of the study:
In the years 2015-2019 a total of 3,320 crashes occurred in the study corridor including:
- 53 were severe crashes – 9 fatalities and 46 incapacitating injuries
- 75% of all crashes were at 10 intersections in the corridor
- 56% of all crashes were rear-end and 20% were angle/left turn
Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes include:
- 120 of all crashes involved a pedestrian or bicyclist
- All 9 fatalities and 17 of the incapacitating injuries involved pedestrians and bicyclists resulting in 51% of all severe crashes
- 68% of all crashes occurred at or near a signalized intersection
- 73% of all pedestrian/bicycle crashes occurred between Nebraska Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard
Demographic data found in the FDOT Environmental Screening Tool identifies areas west of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard both north and south of Fowler Avenue that have large populations with no or only one vehicle per household making these populations dependent on walking, bicycling and transit. Additionally, the University of South Florida (USF), located on the corridor just east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, is attended by over 24,000 students, many of whom commute along the corridor to the campus and many of whom live in student apartment housing surrounding the campus that walk, bicycle or rely on the USF student transit service, the Bull Runner. Providing a safe, travel time reliant, transit, pedestrian and bicycle friendly facility is imperative to obtain Vision Zero objectives for the corridor.