|MPO Board adopts TIP|
The MPO's Transportation Improvement Program was adopted by the MPO Board on June 4th. Listing funding for key transportation projects over the next five years, the TIP becomes effective on October 1st. Nearly $2 billion in State and Federal funds are planned to be spent for transportation improvements in Hillsborough County by the MPO's partner agencies.
With the adoption of the 2013/2014 TIP comes funding for several new projects:
- Widening of US 301 from SR 674 to Balm Rd (2016)
- Widening of Bruce B Downs from Bearss Ave to Palm Springs (2014)
- Widening of Bruce B Downs from Pebble Creek to Pasco County (2017)
- Bike lanes on Bayshore Blvd from Gandy Blvd to Rome Ave (starting in 2014)
- Design and construction of Interchange modifications on I-75
- Numerous resurfacing projects to maintain existing roadways
Ongoing projects, like the construction of the I-4 Selmon Connector, the widening of SR 574 through Valrico and Seffner, and the widening of I-275 between Westshore and Downtown Tampa, continue to be priorities of the TIP. Visit the MPO web site for a complete listing of the Transportation Improvement Program projects, to view maps of funded projects, or to search our database by street name using the Interactive TIP Tool. Additional information can be requested by contacting Wally Blain at 813/273-3774 x 361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee and its
Young Professionals recently toured the I-4 Selmon Connector construction project to
see the progress and learn about the impact on Downtown Tampa traffic patterns.
Photo courtesy of Danielle Mercer, Vice Chair Public Policy Emerge Tampa Bay
Smooth roads ahead
Roadway resurfacing projects today include so much more than just new asphalt and a fresh coat of paint. Resurfacing projects underway like those on 56th Street and Hillsborough Avenue include safety features, travel reliability and mobility enhancements, in addition to a smoother ride. Technology improvements for better signal coordination using an Advanced Traffic Management System have been implemented along the 56th Street corridor. Mobility improvements have included designated bike lanes, sidewalk construction to fill in previous gaps, and better connections for transit service. Raised bumps on the painted lines alert motorists if their car is passing over the solid striped line at the pavement's edge. From design to implementation, combining multiple creative solutions like these into one project provides a more complete transportation solution.
Upcoming projects similar to these include:
- 40th Street from SR 60 to Hillsborough Avenue (Tampa)
- Boy Scout Blvd from O'Brien St to Dale Mabry Hwy (Westshore)
- Fowler Ave from Nebraska Ave to Bruce B Downs Blvd (North Tampa)
- Hillsborough Ave from Silvermill Dr to Lagoon St (Town N' Country)
- SR 39 from SR 60 to Charlie Griffin Rd (south of Plant City)
- SR 574 from Valrico Rd to Wheeler Ct (Seffner / Dover)
- SR 60 from 22nd St to 50th St (Ybor / Palm River)
More information and additional projects.
Image courtesy of Davis Islands Civic Association.
Welcome USDOT Secretary Foxx
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, seen above with his wife and children, was officially was sworn in as the Secretary of Transportation on July 2nd on a Bible belonging to his great-grandparents. Foxx, who is the 17th US Transportation Secretary, inherits the job from Ray LaHood. The US Senate voted 100-0 in favor of Foxx's nomination on June 27th.
Serving as Charlotte's mayor since 2009, Foxx made efficient and innovative transportation investments the centerpiece of Charlotte's job creation and economic recovery efforts. These investments included extending the LYNX light rail system, expanding Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and starting the Charlotte Streetcar project.
As Secretary of Transportation, Foxx leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation. "Safety will remain our top priority at DOT," Foxx said in a statement, adding that he would "work to improve the efficiency and performance of our current transportation system while building the infrastructure we need for future generations."
Read the full U.S. Department of Transportation press release.
|Adding more trucks to the mix of cars, bicycles & walkers on Brandon Blvd|
Most people know Brandon Boulevard, also called State Road 60, as a heavily-traveled commercial road going through the heart of Brandon. It also connects the Port of Tampa with phosphate mines, manufacturers, and citrus growers in Polk County. This connection will be even more important, as CSX is building an Integrated Logistics Center (ILC) including an Intermodal Rail Terminal in Winter Haven just north of SR 60. The 318-acre terminal is adjacent to 930 acres on which CSX is planning development of distribution centers, warehousing and manufacturing facilities to serve its growing business in Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.
All this will generate hundreds of additional truck trips on SR 60 each day. FDOT has a Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) study underway to widen Brandon Boulevard (SR 60) between Valrico Road and Polk County in part to handle the anticipated truck traffic increase. However, there are no existing plans to add through lanes to the segment of SR 60 between Valrico Road and I-75.
These factors triggered the MPO to study of the compatibility of heavy truck traffic with surrounding land uses, traffic congestion, and safety for all users of this busy roadway. This study addresses potential conflicts between truck movements and pedestrian, bicycle, and automobiles on SR 60 from I-75 to Valrico Road and has identified well known as well as lesser known issues such as:
- A lack of crosswalks along the corridor, in particular at the high crash intersection of Brandon Town Center Drive
- Long gaps between traffic signals making it difficult and dangerous for pedestrians to cross SR 60
- Heavy traffic, high speeds, and gaps in bike lanes making it hazardous for bicyclists
- A lack of parallel local streets that could relieve SR 60 traffic
- Long queues of traffic exiting the mall
- A lack of sidewalk and bike lane connections making it especially dangerous for walkers and cyclists to get from one side of I-75 to the other
- Locations that are difficult for trucks to make deliveries, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot at Mount Carmel Road
MPO planners have been working with representatives of major freight movers, residents, County government and FDOT engineers, and community members to develop solutions. The MPO will hold a public workshop in August to get feedback before making final recommendations later this year. To assure you are on the email list for the August public meeting, or for more information, please contact Lisa Silva at 813/273-3774 x 329 or email@example.com.
|'Completing' Plant City's Collins Street|
Back in 2000, the Florida Department of Transportation agreed to divert traffic around Plant City's historic district by relocating the State Road 39/ I-4 interchange to Alexander Street and creating a new bypass for SR 39 north of I-4. The bypass project is now being built and scheduled for completion in 2014. Once completed, FDOT will transfer the portion of SR 39 from Alexander Street to Knights-Griffin Road, also known as Collins Street (and a portion of Redman Parkway), to the City's ownership.
Plant City asked the MPO to help develop a 'complete street' concept plan for the two-mile segment of SR 39 from Alexander Street to Reynolds Street. Today, this segment of SR 39 varies from two to four lanes and serves a wide variety of neighborhoods, shopping centers and businesses, some of which are vacant or under-utilized. The concept plan will also help to promote the City's Midtown Redevelopment Vision Plan, as well as its historic downtown.
The plan will address opportunities and constraints, focusing on a themed design and integrated streetscape concept. A 'complete street' serves all users - motorists, bicyclists, walkers and people with mobility impairments. Improvements adding to the 'streetmosphere' could include:
- Plenty of decorative street lighting
- Trees and landscaping to provide shade and interest while encouraging traffic speed reduction
- Intersection improvements, additional sidewalks, and highly-visible decorative crosswalks
- On-street parking and bulb outs
- Reconfigured lanes to accommodate both bicyclists and on-street parkers
- Themed signage and street furniture
The concept plan will be presented to the public in August and to the Plant City City Commission this Fall. For more information, contact Lisa Silva at 813/273-3774 x329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Roll your carpool into 10K cash with Startup 275|
Thanks to FDOT and TBARTA teaming up to launch Startup 275, your carpool can do more than save you money, it could earn you big bucks! A creative campaign targeting would-be entrepreneurs who carpool along the I-275 construction zone between Westshore and downtown Tampa, Startup 275 is a new spin on carpooling that will earn one carpool team $10K to jumpstart an idea voted on by the public. Tampa-based Cox Media radio station 97X, the presenting sponsor, will be giving away the cash prize.
Startup 275's goal is to increase interest in carpooling, promote safer commutes in the I-275 improvement zone, and rally the community around resident-driven big ideas created by residents who drive... together. Eligible commuters must register their carpool and travel I-275 at any point between the Howard Frankland Bridge and the Hillsborough River at least 12 days a month. Plus, be among the first 500 carpools to do this to and from work or school a minimum of 12 days eacj month and a $25 VisaŽ Gift Card is yours... not once, but every month!
There's no better time to register your carpool or start up a new carpool. What are you waiting for? Get the low down on carpooling, stimulating cash-earning big ideas, rules, FAQs, tips and more at Startup 275.
|Texting while driving banned in Florida|
On May 28th, Governor Rick Scott signed into law SB 52, making texting and driving a punishable offense on Florida roads. The bill strictly prohibits reading electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle. However, drivers may still view navigational devices, electronic maps, or safety alerts - such as those regarding weather - without fear of penalty. Drivers are also permitted to text while the vehicle is stopped, such as at a traffic light or during traffic. Also, talking on a wireless device while driving is still legal.
Texting and driving in Florida is a "secondary offense," meaning officers must pull someone over for another infraction - such as careless driving or speeding - before including a texting while driving charge. However, an amendment to the bill by the Florida House prohibits using phone records as evidence against a driver, unless the ticket was issued from a crash resulting in personal injury or death. The penalty is a $30 fine plus court costs, rising to $60 for the second offense. The law goes into effect October 1st of this year. Florida is the 41st state in the nation to ratify a texting ban to all drivers.
For more information, visit the Florida Legislature's Online Sunshine.
Image courtesy of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
|USF Electric Vehicle showcase|
On May 31, the Patel College of Global Sustainability held a joint meeting of the Suncoast and Central Florida Electric Vehicle Associations in conjunction with the Sierra Club as part of its Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition (TBCCC) programs. The event kicked off in the USF Patel Center driveway with an electric vehicle display and driver meet-and-greet, giving participants the opportunity to get first-hand accounts of owning an EV. Several TBCCC members displayed their electric vehicles including Margaret Rush from EPC Hillsborough County, Juan Reina from TECO, Mike Malley from Duke Energy and Helda Rodriguez of NovaCharge. Two Tesla models, a Model S and a Roadster, were highlights of the show, as the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year was awarded to Tesla's Model S. Also on display were two cars converted to EVs, one of which was a 1967 Austin.
Next, the event moved inside the Patel Center for expert presentations on electric vehicles moderated by USF's Steve Reich, TBCCC coordinator. The program began with remarks on the electric vehicle ownership experience by Al Lococo of the Central Florida Electric Vehicle Association. The program continued with the Patel College's Dr. Jochen Eckart focusing on how to provide a clean, healthy and livable region through the work of the TBCCC and concluded by inviting participants to join the coalition. The Sierra Club's Britten Cleveland picked up on the importance of collaboration to affect policy on the local and national levels. Ms. Cleveland, who runs the Florida Healthy Air Campaign aimed at reducing dependence on fossil fuels, presented compelling evidence on the direct role electric vehicles can have in drastically improving the environment in the U.S. After some debate and input from the audience on the trajectory of EV sales, it was determined President Obama's goal of having one million EVs on the road by 2015 can be achieved.
Article and photo courtesy of USF.
|MPO Advisory Council recommends paying per mile|
Imagine paying for every mile you drive... Every mile driven to work, the grocery store, or a night on the town gets taxed. The concept isn't so farfetched. A statewide transportation advisory group is asking the State Legislature to begin moving Florida toward a system requiring people to pay for every mile they drive.
In the past year, Florida's Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council (MPOAC) released a two-year study to find a way to pay for the state's future transportation needs. Long-term, it said the state could no longer rely on the gas tax, which pays for Florida transportation projects like maintaining roads, widening highways, and subsidizing public transportation.
The influx of high-mileage cars - which cause the same wear and tear on streets and roads as any other car - means money from gas taxes are declining to the point that the MPOAC estimates there is a $74 billion shortfall to pay for needed transportation projects in the state's metropolitan areas. Instead, the state should seriously consider a mileage-based user fee, a system that would track the miles residents drive and charge them about 2 cents a mile, according to the study. If implemented, the gas tax would be eliminated.
For more information, see complete article, courtesy of the Sun Sentinel.
|CCC Public Hearing Notice|
|Click ad above for more info and agenda packages.|
Tuesday, July 23
County Center Building
601 East Kennedy Blvd
Save the Date!
Thursday, October 17, 2013
CALL FOR ENTRIES
6:15 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner & Awards
Deadline for Entries
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
In accordance with Title VI of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to
race, color, national origin,
age, sex, religion, disability
or family status.