The closing of the Gandy is brutal for Tampa Bay bicyclists. Here is one take from Alan Badia, a speedy cylist who also lives in Seminole Heights:
The closing doesn't come as a shock to me because I am a Tampa native and I know how old this bridge actually is.
Bridges only last about 50 years in general, maybe even less here in Tampa where salinity levels are very high. Corrosion takes place much sooner.
The problem is that the Friendship Trail has become and was one of the safe ways to get from Tampa to St. Pete without mixing it up with cars on the bridge -- an IMPORTANT bike friendly route.
Now we'll be forced to ride with 80+ mph traffic on a debris filled road and cyclists will be killed.
I've seen the semi-trucks going way over the speed limit while riding the Friendship Trail below. All it's going to take is a high-speed vehicle getting a flat, losing control and then catastrophe.
That's just the cyclists. This doesn't even take into consideration the roller bladers, joggers, walkers, cruisers, etc. that use(d) the bridge.
Where will they go now?
Closing this bridge is a step backwards towards the goal of making this area a bike friendly community and something must be done to bring it back, however that may be.
Personally, I trained on this bridge 3-4 times per week doing 50 mile sessions knowing I didn't have to worry about getting run over by a vehicle.
When you take that worry away, you can really focus on the training itself. I had the best year of racing in 2008 that I ever had.
Now where will I train solo during the week? Flatwoods is a haul. So now I am looking into alternatives.