Issue 8       

February 2013   

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The Newsletter of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) & Livable Roadways Committee (LRC) 

Making trail connections in Hillsborough

Hillsborough County is busy knitting together its trails and bicycle/ pedestrian connections. The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the City of Tampa partnered to develop the Tampa Walk-Bike Plan, to connect neighborhoods and activity centers surrounding Tampa's three primary business centers: Downtown, the University of South Florida, and the Westshore Business District. The Plan identifies pedestrian and bicycle projects that can be readily constructed within existing roadway cross-sections and public rights-of-way. These 'early win' projects will build momentum for more complex projects.

Another kind of 'early win' project is along the Tampa Bypass Canal, a flood control waterway on the east side of the cities of Tampa and Temple Terrace. Connecting several parks, the canal has the potential to become a major bicycle and pedestrian corridor allowing families, friends and visitors to enjoy scenic vistas, active recreation and possibly encounter wildlife close to the city.  It may even make it possible for some residents to bicycle to work or to do errands.  With the concurrence of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), which owns the canal, the MPO began assessing the feasibility of developing a multi-use trail along the canal. The greatest challenge to this concept is that major roadways must be crossed along the proposed trail, including Interstate-75, US 301, Interstate-4, Fletcher and Fowler Avenues, Harney Road and Adamo Drive. In addition to providing a conceptual alignment for this multi-use trail. The MPO's recent feasibility study recommended trail crossing options at each of these roadways.

Another highly visible project is the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail, which is under construction now and will traverse Old Tampa Bay to connect Tampa with Clearwater.  This project came about because of a concerted regional effort to successfully compete for state funding.  The Bicycle/ Pedestrian Advisory Committee has also strongly supported reconstruction of the Friendship Trail Bridge connecting Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.  A group of trail advocates presented a well-thought-out proposal and business plan to the Hillsborough County Commission, which directed the Public Works Department to consider further options to maintaining this connection.

Hillsborough County's Walk-Bike Network is starting to emerge and connect communities. View the Bicycle Alternative Network map, or join us at a BPAC meeting to hear more!

Deputies & BPAC make bike safety fun2013 Gasparilla Bicycle Rodeo
In January 19, on a sunny morning before the 2013 Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza, the MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) teamed up with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) for our annual Bicycle Safety Rodeo. 170 anxious little pirates came from far and wide to the Rodeo on beautiful Bayshore Boulevard. Coming to get their very own new custom-fitted bicycle helmet, kids of all ages and sizes got some tips before trying their skills on our safety course.

BPAC Bicycle Rodeo safety course

Getting the right fit.
Hopefully, Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Gaspsarilla Bicycle Safety Rodeo tradition will save lives for years to come!

BPAC Safety Outreach Fund is glowing!
After analyzing bicycle and pedestrian crashes for the Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Action Plans, the MPO was determined to reduce the alarming numbers of people being hit by cars and set out to:
  • Alert cyclists on how dangerous it is to ride against the flow of traffic
  • Emphasize to pedestrians that crossing a road at a crosswalks is much safer
  • Remind drivers to be aware there are other road users besides motor vehicles
  • Distribute bicycles lights and reflective vests to cyclists who ride at night.
Turning words into action, the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) created a safety outreach fund to collect donations for bicycle lights, reflective vests, and safety outreach materials. Both Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa stepped up by contributing $3,000 each.  Grass roots donations are also coming in, and the money received so far has been used to purchase 1,000 reflective vests.  These vests were paired with 1,000 bicycle lights contributed by the Florida Department of Transportation in a kit with a safety brochure and bicycle map. Almost 500 of the kits have been distributed to cyclists who have been observed riding without lights and vests by the Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, and Plant City Police Department as well as by the MPO.

To donate to the MPO's Bicycle Safety Outreach Fund, contact Gena Torres at 813/273-3774 x 357 or email:

Temple Terrace paints the town for bike safety
The City of Temple Terrace has long been committed to making its roadways safe for bicyclists. Recently, the Temple Terrace Public Works Department has been working diligently to implement the city's bicycle plans. Recent improvements are expected to accommodate the increased bicycle traffic on local roads.

Residents first saw these improvements last year with the installation of combined 'share the road' signs for bicycles and golf carts. The signs have popped up on local throughways such as Whiteway Drive, Druid Hills Road, Ridgedale Road, and North Riverhills Drive (from North Glen Arven Avenue to Temple Terrace Highway) so far. In addition, striped bike lanes now adorn Raintree Boulevard from Soaring Oaks to Fowler Avenue and North Riverhills Drive from East Fowler Avenue to North Glen Arven Avenue.

A pilot project to paint 'share the road' stamps on Whiteway Drive has also been completed. After considerable feedback from residents and bicyclists, the department may expand the installation of these road markings onto other roadways throughout the city.  These improvements will go a long way toward fulfilling Temple Terrace's promise to be one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the Tampa Bay area.

For further information on the city's plans, please contact Temple Terrace Public Works Director Bob Gordon at 813/506-6570 or email:

Walking on Westshore
This article by Linda Saul-Sena has been reprinted with permission from Creative Loafing.
Built in the 1960s, the Westshore Business District adhered to a simplistic development pattern characteristic of the time: Cars dictated everything about the design, with no consideration of aesthetics. The result: a sea of asphalt bordered by a series of architecturally uninspiring boxes marching northward along Westshore Boulevard and low strip centers along Kennedy Boulevard.

The innovative expansion of Tampa International Airport in the late '60s sparked hotel and commercial growth. With the openings of WestShore Plaza in 1967 and, much later, International Plaza (built on the site of an old golf course in 2001), a strictly car-dominated suburban business district morphed into an area in which over 5,000 apartments and upscale condos have been built or are in development.

As the number of apartments and condos multiply, people increasingly seek the option of walking or bicycling. Rush hour traffic misery chills the thrill of your office-with-a-lovely-view unless you have a choice like living close enough to be able to walk or bike to work, or have access to transit. Business travelers and tourists do not want Orlando-esque traffic to keep them from crossing the street for a meal or shopping. Making life easier for walkers and bicyclists ultimately improves the value of the real estate.
Fortunately, the entire Westshore District is about to embrace the radical premise that pedestrians and bicyclists, green space and public art, are all important to the area's evolution. The Westshore Alliance has hired USF architecture professor Trent Green and his graduate students to develop a master plan, one that not only anticipates the creation of a multi-modal transportation hub but could shape decision-making about urban design for the next 25 years.

"The focus of this plan," says Green, "is to create a framework that will transform Westshore into a walkable, pedestrian area." And he's not just talking about the two boulevards. The study area for the Westshore Master Plan extends as far as International Plaza and the Home Depot/Target/Whole Foods complex on Dale Mabry.

Ron Rotella, longtime executive director of the Westshore Alliance, has promised surrounding neighborhoods that they will have a voice in shaping the master plan. A series of meetings will be held in February to solicit ideas and comments, with the final version showing up at Tampa City Council for approval in April. He envisions Westshore as a grand boulevard, putting the portion south of I-275 on a 'road diet' with extra pavement given to bike lanes and/or sidewalks. "We've completed the private sector plan which requires an 'urban edge,' building fronts right on the sidewalk such as the new Florida Blue offices and Chase Bank. Now, the time has arrived to plan the public realm."

"We're 25 years past due," wryly commented Joe Toph, the architect/principal of Urban Order/Tampa. He was a vocal proponent of establishing design standards back in the late 1980s. He argued that Kennedy Boulevard should be the organizing structure for Tampa's urban form - that you should be able to walk into a building from a door facing the sidewalk. Toph can point to his own work to show the impact of architectural standards. Call it A Tale of Two Starbucks. He designed two outlets of the ubiquitous coffee chain for the same client. One of them, the Hyde Park location on South Howard, has a generous outdoor cafe space on a wide sidewalk. The other - on Westshore Boulevard - fronts onto a road-facing parking lot and features a drive-through.

The reason the two are so different from one another? The design rules for Hyde Park insisted upon the public space in front. And the result, as every coffee fiend, gym rat and casual passerby in South Tampa knows, is that the SoHo Starbucks became a highly visible, near-iconic hangout, one that took full advantage of the coffeehouse's potential as a 'third place' - not work, not home, just a comfortable place to be.

The Westshore location, on the other hand, is all about the car.

Linda Saul-Sena was a member of the Tampa City Council and MPO Board and currently serves on the MPO's Livable Roadway Committee.   This article was written by Ms. Saul-Sena for Creative Loafing. Photo by Chip Weiner for Creative Loafing.

New Bicycle Registration Program

On January 7, 2013, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) launched a Bicycle Registration Program countywide. Should a bicycle be lost or stolen, the best way to help the Sheriff's Office locate, identify, and return a bicycle to its rightful owner is to register it. You can register your bicycle with the Bicycle Registration Program by completing the bicycle registration form and submitting it to HCSO. Once registered, you will be issued a decal with a registration number to affix to the bicycle frame.


The registration number assigned to your bicycle and your information will be entered into the Sheriff Office's records management system. Simply by registering your bicycle, YOU are helping to deter bicycle theft!


View the HCSO's Bicycle Theft Prevention website.

View the registration form.

New Bicycle Repair Station at USF
New USF Bicycle Repair Station 
The first Bicycle Repair station at the University of South Florida has been installed on the first floor of the Beard Garage located off of Alumni Drive.  The repair station is convenient to use and offers an air pump and an assortment of tools. The location is covered, providing shelter for users.

Purchased by the New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA), a public/private partnership in the USF area managed by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) with funding from the Florida Department of Transportation District 7, the station is "encouraging bicycling as a mode of transportation, an important part of a sustainable campus," said Julie Bond, NNTA co-chair. "We are working to make the campus a safe and enjoyable place for both bicyclists and pedestrians."   NNTA has also provided bicycle racks that are installed in USF parking garages and at local businesses.

For more information and to provide comments on this new facility, please visit: Tampa BayCycle

Commissioners approve new bike lanes in SouthShore

The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners voted to make an investment in bicycle lanes in South Hillsborough County. During their January 9 meeting, Commissioners voted unanimously to move $3.1 million collected from developers' transportation impact fees into a fund for paved-shoulder bicycle lanes. Primarily along 19th Avenue in Ruskin, this bicycle connection builds upon the plan of an east-west bicycle corridor running from U.S. 301 to E.G. Simmons Park, with the current allocation allowing for the portion from near I-75 to the park. Also approved, a new bicycle lane will be installed along Big Bend Road in Apollo Beach from U.S. 41 to the TECO Manatee Viewing Center.

"We need to tell our County Commissioners that safe bicycle lanes and trails are important to MANY of us, if we want them to actually build the network of safe cycling infrastructure that is in our plans. We need to tell them we appreciate it when they do agree to build bike lanes & trails," Ruskin resident Mariella Smith posted to her blog. "Today we can make that point by thanking our Commissioners for their recent action.."

Details courtesy of The Observer News.

Image courtesy of Mariella Smith.

Traffic fatalities down 1.9%, but bicycle and pedestrian deaths up 3.7% nation-wide
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new analysis indicating that highway deaths fell to 32,367 in 2011, marking the lowest level since 1949 and a 1.9 percent decrease from the previous year. The updated 2011 data show the historic downward trend in recent years continued through last year and represent a 26 percent decline in traffic fatalities overall since 2005.

In contrast to overall highway fatalities, pedestrian deaths increased by 130, a 3 percent jump and "pedacyclists" deaths increased by 8.7% from 2010 to 2011. "The latest numbers show how the tireless work of our safety agencies and partners, coupled with significant advances in technology and continued public education, can really make a difference on our roadways," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "As we look to the future, it will be more important than ever to build on this progress by continuing to tackle head-on issues like seat belt use, drunk driving, and driver distraction."

While Americans drove fewer miles in 2011 than in 2010, the nearly two percent drop in roadway deaths significantly outpaced the corresponding 1.2 percent decrease in vehicle miles traveled. In addition, updated Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) information released today shows 2011 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2011, down from 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010.

Thirty-six states experienced reductions in overall traffic fatalities, led by Connecticut (100 fewer fatalities), North Carolina (93 fewer), Tennessee (86 fewer), Ohio (64 fewer) and Michigan (53 fewer). Florida had 46 fewer fatalities in 2011, 1.9% less than 2010.

"In the past several decades, we've seen remarkable improvements in both the way motorists behave on our roadways and in the safety of the vehicles they drive, and we're confident that NHTSA's 5-Star Safety Ratings Program and nationwide collaborations like 'Click It or Ticket' and 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' have played a key role in making our roads safer," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Even as we celebrate the progress we've made in recent years, we must remain focused on addressing the safety issues that are continuing to claim more than 30,000 lives each year."

View the latest 2011 FARS data.

Details courtesy of NHTSA.

In this issue
Making trail connections in Hillsborough
Deputies & BPAC make bike safety fun!
BPAC Safety Outreach Fund is glowing!
Temple Terrace paints the town for bike safety
Walking on Westshore
New Bike Registration Program
New USF Bicycle Repair Station
Commissioners approve new bike lanes in SouthShore
Traffic fatalities down, pedestrian fatalities up

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