Ybor City Bans Truck Traffic, Eyes A Balanced Future

January 30, 2017

As heavy truck traffic is removed from the streets of Ybor City, efforts to return the area to its place as one of West Florida's most vibrant urban neighborhoods receive a major boost.

Seventh Avenue serves as Ybor City's main commercial artery, filled with restaurants, retail stores, nightclubs and art galleries within a compact, walkable setting.

The architecture along Seventh Avenue is reflective of the neighborhood's Cuban and Spanish heritage. Many of the historical buildings are constructed from brick and feature wrought iron, second-story balconies.

Several alcohol-related laws were amended to encourage nightlife venues to open along Seventh Avenue in the early 1990's. These nightclubs and bars were largely responsible for the redevelopment of most of the historical, commercial building stock in Ybor City.

Centro Ybor, a family-oriented shopping center and movie theater opened in 2000, at the former Centro Espanol social club. Centro Ybor features a structured parking garage and a TECO streetcar stop.

A 2.7-mile vintage electric streetcar system, the TECO Line Streetcar System, began service in 2002 that links the Tampa Convention Center, the Waterside Marriott and the CBD with the Channel District and Ybor City. Although the system mainly attracts tourists, it has spurred the private construction of more than $1 billion in transit oriented development in Ybor City and Channelside.

The majority of early Ybor City residents lived in single family company housing adjacent to cigar factories. Most of the historical housing stock were wood-frame, gable-roofed structures.

New residential infill has returned to Ybor City featuring a variety of single family and multi family housing styles.

Within the past decade, the poverty rate in Ybor City has dropped in half largely due to the construction of new residential options to meet the demand of those seeking a return to urban living.

Article by Mike Field

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