The advanced trauma care services at Tampa General Hospital save the lives of people throughout the region. Expanding that level of lifesaving care would be a huge public benefit.
But some residents of Davis Islands, where the hospital sits, are sidetracking the plans because they have a larger beef with the amount of traffic the island attracts. This is wrongheaded at best, selfish at worst. And Tampa's City Council is indulging it.
Tampa General, if anything, should have the city's support in expanding emergency room and intensive care services. As the only Level 1 trauma center in the region, Tampa General is where the most critically injured go; having it here and helping it grow should be a priority for this community. But instead the focus has shifted from the medical needs of patients to the supposed inconvenience of an expansion for island residents.
The reality is that the hospital does not cause the island's traffic problems. Indeed, aside from the congestion at the Little League park, Davis Islands has no real traffic at all. The bridge flows well; so does the main drag, Davis Boulevard. As for the hospital, it sits at the entrance to the island. A separate section on the bridge diverts all hospital-bound traffic. One can visit Tampa General without driving a city block on the island.
If residents have a problem with traffic, their problem is with the city, not the hospital. Traffic on Davis goes far too fast, especially leading to the business district. More cars are there because the city did a wonderful job revamping the business district and the waterfront parks. These are public places - and people from all parts of town should enjoy the beautification efforts. Tax dollars paid for them.
If traffic on Davis is a problem - prove it, fix it. But don't blame the hospital for traffic it doesn't create.