The Textizen Blog

OCT 10 2013

"Does this look like a good idea?" Hyperlocal Input in Tampa, FL

The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has long debated a number of roadway systems to decrease traffic congestion along the 1¼-mile stretch of Gandy Blvd. in Tampa, Florida. One of these proposals, an elevated tollway called the Gandy Connector, aims to reduce traffic congestion and provide evacuation routes between Dale Mabry Highway and the Gandy Bridge.

The Planning Commission chose Textizen to reach out to residents, neighborhood organizations, and the business community within a 1-mile radius of Gandy Blvd. The focus on hyperlocal input was a divergence from tradition and we were excited be a part of something new.

Responses Roll In

We designed a trifold mailer for the Planning Commission to create a personalized, eye-catching campaign. The Planning Commission sent out tri-fold mailers to solicit local responses and received an average of 38 responses per day during the first week. By the end of the 3-week survey, more than 430 people participated in the survey.

Clear Divide Among Participants

It was clear that employees and business owners were adamant about preserving street-level traffic for the sake of their businesses while others simply sought to have a more open boulevard.

There were also some fervent advocates of the proposal.


“Connectivity. Progressive. Get Tampa out of the boon-dock dark ages.“

…as well as participants who yielded some of the most fiery responses we’ve heard to date.

“We…sales people vehemently oppose this. Almost 50% of our in-store customers are ones who discover us by driv[ing.]”

”Completely unnecessary and a huge waste of money”

Numbers and Voices Fuel Dialogue

Numbers provide statistics that strengthen arguments and policies while human responses provide context and personality. The hyperlocal nature of the information gathered during this campaign provides a window into the perspectives of residents and businesses in the area. The responses clearly indicate that people are passionate about what happens to their neighborhood and want to be involved. The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization is now using the details of the conversation to determine the next steps for the Gandy Connector.