Sunday, June 30, 2013

Startup 275 Contest

I came across something Interstate 275 related, not only on a few billboards on Interstate 275 in Tampa as well as a link from Tampa Bay Interstates, the official Florida DOT source for Interstate 275 construction in the Tampa/St. Petersburg metropolitan area.  For you commuters out there that make Interstate 275 a part of your commute, here's a chance for you to have fun and (hopefully) win some prizes!

It's called Startup 275, and the contest is open to those Interstate 275 commuters who use the section of Interstate 275 in Tampa that is presently undergoing a major reconstruction from FL 60 (Exit 39) to the Hillsborough River just west of the Ashley/Tampa/Scott Street downtown Tampa exit complex (Exit 44).  I know, any construction project will entail major inconveniences here and there but in the end, we will see a newer and better version of Interstate 275 in Tampa that you will enjoy.  In fact, there is room in the center median for the addition of a commuter rail line running down the center of Interstate 275, and having both a widened Interstate 275 plus an operational commuter rail system in our region will mean a major jump start for our region's economy.

But at least the folks over at Startup 275 are having plenty of fun helping you make the most of your Interstate 275 Tampa commute.  And you can too!

So what are you waiting for?  Head on over to the Startup 275 website today for contest rules, frequently asked questions, and a chance to enter!  Besides, carpooling is good not only for you but for the environment!

By the way, here are some things that you should remember when you head out the door and you are on your way to work from home or vice versa:

1.  Put down that cell phone at all times while you're behind the wheel.  Florida's new texting while driving ban goes into effect 1 October 2013.

2.  If you're the driver, give driving your 100 percent attention.  This is very important while you are transiting the Interstate 275 construction zone in Tampa or any other construction zone for that matter.

3.  Leave in plenty of time so that you can arrive at your destination on time.

4.  55 mph, especially in the construction zone, is indeed 55 mph and not one mph over.  The 5 mph over the speed limit exemption does not apply for construction zones as well as school zones and toll plazas; this means a law enforcement officer can give you a ticket for even 1 mph over the speed limit.

5.  After all, the construction on Interstate 275 in Tampa is a headache.  But when everything is said and done in Fall 2016 you'll see an Interstate 275 in Tampa which will be much better.

Updates to the Blog Community Guidelines

I have made a few minor edits to the community guidelines for both the Edward Ringwald Blog and the Interstate 275 Florida Blog.  You can view them here.

Among the highlights:

You are responsible for whatever comment you make on any of my blog entries.  In other words, you take full responsibility for your comment. 

Remember, where you go and what you do on the World Wide Web is not private.  Here's a web site to help you determine what your Internet Protocol (IP) address is:  What is my IP Address.  After all, your IP address is the string of numbers that identifies you on the public Internet. 

This applies whether you post as an anonymous user or you post while you are logged in to your Google or Open ID account.  When you post under your Google or Open ID account, your comment is titled like this: 

(user account name) said... 
Your comment shows up here.

This is in addition to the commenting guidelines that are already in place, of which I will remind all of our commenters as stated below:

1.  Stay on the blog topic.
2.  Be respectful of others out there.
3.  Don't hate or express hatred.
4.  Don't use language that you wouldn't use with your parents.  Or with your boss.  Or at your school teachers.  Or with anyone else in authority.
5.  No commercial messages of any kind.
6.  No infringing on the publicity and privacy rights of others.
7.  No personal identifying information such as automobile tag numbers, Social Security numbers, driver license numbers, financial account numbers and the like.

One more item I need to mention is that I have a no comment removal policy, much like the consumer site where once you post a comment about the experience you had with a business, it's there forever.  However, comments that are moderated are screened prior to being allowed to be posted, as this blog is a family friendly blog for all ages.

I fully support the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which provides for freedom of lawful speech and freedom of lawful expression among other things.  As the blog you are reading is hosted on servers here in the United States (it's hosted on Blogger, a part of online giant Google), and as the Fourth of July is just around the corner as I am writing this blog entry, I will defend my lawful right of free expression and free speech not only for the entries I write but for the comments you make.  To that end, my blog community guidelines for both the Edward Ringwald Blog and the Interstate 275 Florida Blog have support for the values enumerated in the First Amendment.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Delays on the Veterans Expressway Ahead

I know, this isn't quite Interstate 275 related but many of you use the Veterans Expressway (FL Toll 589) in order to get to Interstate 275 and to Tampa or to St. Petersburg.  The work commenced on Monday, 20 May 2013, so be prepared for some delays on the Veterans Expressway due to a major widening project!
This project will involve widening the Veterans Expressway in three phases, according to the folks over at Florida's Turnpike:
Phase I involves widening the expressway from Memorial Highway to Gunn Highway.  This is the current project and we'll get to that momentarily.
Phase II involves widening the expressway from Gunn Highway to the Sugarwood Toll Plaza.  Construction should begin sometime in 2014.
Phase III involves widening the expressway from the Sugarwood Toll Plaza to Van Dyke Road.  Construction should begin sometime in 2015.
Phase I not only involves widening the expressway from Memorial Highway to Gunn Highway, it also involves the conversion of the Anderson Road Toll Plaza from its traditional toll collection format to all electronic tolling using SunPass, similar to the system already in place on the Selmon Crosstown Expressway in Tampa.  In other words, there will be no toll booths for toll collectors to take your money - instead, you will see overhead electronic gantries that will read your SunPass transponder and collect the appropriate toll.
Unfortunately, for those of you that use Anderson Road to enter or exit the Veterans Expressway, the ramp has been closed and demolition of the overpass bridge that takes the ramp over the northbound lanes of the Veterans Expressway is underway.  However, there are plenty of you out there that use the Anderson Road exit coming from the south primarily to reach AMC Theatres' Veterans 24 which is conveniently located just off the expressway.

So, how do I get to Anderson Road (and to AMC Theatres' Veterans 24 for a movie) from the Veterans Expressway coming from the south?  It's very easy, if I shall explain:  Simply exit the Veterans Expressway at Waters Avenue and after you clear the toll plaza (and if you got a SunPass, use the SunPass lane to the far right for your toll savings) be in your right lane so that you can turn east on Waters Avenue.  East on Waters Avenue to the second traffic signal, which will be Anderson Road, but if you are headed to AMC Theatres' Veterans 24, you will want to be in the left lane when you approach Anderson Road.

Allow more time than usual to get to the movie theatre due to the closure of the Anderson Road ramp.  In fact, you can even go to AMC Theatres' website to check out what's playing at Veterans 24 and even purchase your tickets - that way, you can have the ticketing part out of the way and - as AMC Theatres says - be closer to showtime.

As for the Veterans Expressway itself, I know the road work is going to be an inconvenience but in the end the results will pay off:  No more having to stop for toll booths, as the overhead SunPass gantries will electronically take your toll or if you do not have a SunPass you can use toll-by-plate which will capture an image of your license plate and mail you a bill for the toll plus an administrative fee, similar to the setup on toll roads in Miami-Dade County as well as the Selmon Crosstown Expressway right here in Tampa.

Not only you will save on tolls with SunPass here in the Tampa Bay region, you can use your SunPass at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as well as the Pinellas Bayway too!