Tampa’s Central Business District (CBD) is framed by the Hillsborough River on the west and the Garrison Channel on the south. Several major waterfront development currently exist along this corridor, with others proposed. Once completed, this extensive development along the water’s edge will tend to isolate the pulic’s access to one of the regions’ primary attractions, namely the waterways.
For several years the City of Tampa has planned for a project that would circumvent that scenario and create an opportunity for the public’s use and enjoyment of the special amenities offered by the area’s waterfront. The proposed Downtown Riverwalk will fulfill that goal by providing an independent pedestrian corridor that parallels the shoreline of the CBD.
Study Purpose and Need
The purpose of the proposed Riverwalk will be to provide a continuous pedestrian linkage all along the natural waterfront boundary of Tampa’s CBD. In addition to providing public access to the waterfront, this project will also enhance pedestrian traffic and safety in the region. Throughout the project’s entire length, pedestrians will be able to traverse along the water’s edge without any conflicts with vehicular traffic.
The overall project begins at the western edge of the Benficial Drive Bridge and proceeds westerly along the Garrison Channel to the Tampa Convention Center. From there it bears northerly along the eastern shore of the Hillsborough River to the point where it ties to the recently completed Curtis Hixon Park and terminates near the Tampa Museum. The project is subdivided into three (3) individual segments, designated from south to north as:
- Segment One: From west of the Beneficial Drive Bridge to the Tampa Convention Center
- Segment Two: From the Tampa Convention Center to Washington Street
- Segment Three: From Washington Street to north of the Nations Bank Plaza
Due to the nature and extent of the current and proposed development along the CBD’s waterfront, the general alignment of the proposed Riverwalk will need to parallel the existing bulkhead, both horizontally and vertically, as much as practicable. Consequently, the Riverwalk in essence will be a linear pedestrian bridge over the water for the majority of its length.