MPO looks at feasibility of George Road Trial Connector
The George Road Connector Study is examining possible routes for a north-south trail to link the eastern end of the Town 'n' Country Greenway to the Tampa end of the Courtney Campbell Trail. The George Road link is one portion of an ultimate connection between the Upper Tampa Bay Trail and the new trail on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
On Thursday, May 16, an open house was held in the Town 'n' Country Library to discuss four routes. Based on public comment, two are being explored further; one along Sweetwater Creek and the other along Webb Road. The study will look at land ownership, environmental, and access issues, as well as the crossing of Hillsborough Avenue.
The study will be completed this fall and will include one more open house.
For further information please visit the George Road Feasibility Study on the MPO website or contact Michele Ogilvie at (813) 273-3774 ext. 317.
Hillsborough Commissioners mull funding South Coast Greenway
The South Coast Greenway may get funded in the County's next budget, according to a report by Mike Salinero of the Tampa Tribune. The Greenway, which would eventually stretch all the way from Gibsonton to the Little Manatee River Preserve, is in line to receive $2.5 million, which would fund the first phase from 19th Ave. N.E. to Collage Ave. in Ruskin.
For more information see the article in the Tampa Tribune.
New trail along Courtney Campbell will be for bicycling and walking
|The Courtney Campbell Causeway connecting Tampa and Clearwater is being repaved and enhanced, including the addition of new walk/bike paths physically separated from the road.|
The $23 million project along State Road 60 is being built by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), FDOT received $14.6 million in federal grant, which is dedicated for walking and biking infrastructure, to build the nine-mile trail.
A 12-foot-wide trail on the south side of the Causeway is expected to be completed in October 2013. The north side of the Causeway will host a five-foot sidewalk, which is scheduled to open in 2014.
"The idea for the trail came from the Courtney Campbell Scenic Highway Corridor Advisory Committee," says Michelle Ogilvie of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. "The committee worked with the local Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and FDOT toward producing a feasibility study for the trail concept in 2008."
The sea level Courtney Campbell Causeway received the Scenic Highway Corridor Designation in 2005. It provides a picturesque and vital link across the body of water called Old Tampa Bay.
"The bay is our brand, our identity and the trail will provide a safe place to enjoy it," says Ogilvie. "The trail will strengthen the relationship between the counties, allow ecotourism to expand, and help build regional identity."
The Courtney Campbell Trail will connect existing trail developments on both sides of the Bay, serving as a resource to the region.
Image and information courtesy of 83 Degrees Media.
County implements ten safety projects
Funded by the Hillsborough County Commission, ten projects addressing walk and bike safety are moving closer to reality. Already completed improvements on Providence Road brought bike lanes from Bloomingdale Avenue to SR 60. Nine projects remain from the top-10 safety projects identified jointly by the MPO and Hillsborough County, including 56th St., 42nd St., Bearss Ave., Bruce B Downs Blvd., Fletcher Ave., Hanley Rd and Waters Ave.
Hillsborough County is working through final design of the pedestrian and bicycling safety projects with the three engineering firms on board for construction. Public meetings held by County staff gave citizens and business owners an opportunity to comment on each project's design.
Additional information on the corridors and proposed improvements can be found on the County website or by contacting Mike Flick at 813/635-5400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upper Tampa Bay Trail gets nod as top priority for funding
On July 12th, the West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee prioritized a list of regional multi-use trails. Their top priority is a long-awaited segment of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. Known as Phase IV, the seven-mile stretch would finish the trail from Peterson Rd. to the North Suncoast Trail on Lutz-Lake Fern Rd. The cost of the project is estimated at $11 million.
The Chairs Coordinating Committee (CCC) represents the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.
Receiving the nod as a top priority puts this phase of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail in a favorable position to compete for statewide funding devoted to "transportation alternatives."
A newcomer on the list, the George Road Trail Connector, was also approved by the CCC as a regional priority. The Connector is envisioned as a link between the Courtney Campbell Trail and the Town 'n' Country Greenway. From there, cyclists and walkers could easily get to the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. The MPO is conducting a trail feasibility study for this corridor, and a cost estimate is not available yet.
For more information, see the Multi-Use Trails Regional Priorities map or contact Michele Ogilvie at 813/273-3774 x317.
|USF Bulls Walk & Bike Week Sept 9th - 13th
Join the MPO's Livable Roadways Committee in celebrating non-motorized ways to get around and sharing safety tips with the next generation!
Kick Off Event and Press Conference. We will have booths and vendors on hand. Arrive early and get a free T-Shirt! (Marshall Center Amphitheatre). Walk with the Bulls! Join President Genshaft and friends as we take a stroll around campus.
September 9, 2013 @ 9:30am
September 10, 2013 @ 11am - 2pmComplete Streets Open House (Marshall Center Amphitheatre) Join us anytime from 11-2pm to learn and give feedback about active transportation projects around campus.
September 11, 2013 @ 12pm - 2pmWalk Wise and Bike Smart safety presentations! Presentations will be given every half hour! (Marshall Center Tarpon Room 3704).
How to win a free bicycle
: Attend the Bicycle Celebration on September 12th to enter a drawing for multiple prizes, including several free bicycles. Receive a stamp for each event you attend, and you'll receive an additional raffle ticket for each stamp. There will be separate drawings for students and faculty/staff. The more you attend, the more chances you'll have to win!
For more information visit Bulls Walk Bike Week on Facebook or contact Lisa Silva, Livable Roadways Committee staff, at 813/273-3774 x329.
Coast to Coast Trail Envisioned
Imagine cycling from Florida's Space Coast all the way across the peninsula to the Pinellas Trail without ever having to share the road with automobiles. Later this year, a dedicated group of government officials and trail advocates will do just that to draw attention to the Coast to Coast Connector.
The Coast to Coast Connector is a significant effort to provide a safe and continuous multi-use trail from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic through Central Florida. The proposed trail would connect Titusville to St. Petersburg, a distance of 275 miles with approximately 75 percent (over 200 miles) of the corridor already developed and open to the public or funded for completion. The estimated cost to complete the remaining gaps is approximately $42 million.
The Connector will connect communities along its entire length into an outstanding route that will allow residents and visitors to explore Central Florida by bike or foot. The Connector includes two of the state's most popular trails, the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail and the West Orange Trail, both of which have fueled the economic transformation of communities, particularly Dunedin and Winter Garden. This corridor also includes significant portions of the developing 51 mile East Central Regional Rail Trail, the longest single rail-trail corridor ever acquired by the state. The Connector will link all or part of existing multi-use trails, developed and managed by a broad range of communities and agencies.
The Connector is a top priority within the Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan which is being implemented by the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, and is the keystone project within the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation's "Close the Gaps" Campaign. The Foundation has invited a select group of public officials to ride along the complete route later this fall. The public will be encouraged to participate in the ride along segments.
On July 12, the MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee passed a resolution of support for the Connector.
Image and information courtesy of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation.
Tampa Bay's annual Ride of Silence
|On May 21st, cyclists gathered at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa sporting Wednesday night wearing reflective gear, helmets, and lights. These bicyclists decided to join the ride throughout downtown in an effort to raise awareness for bicycle and pedestrian safety on the roadways.|
Approximately 65 riders attended the Ride To Silence. Participants were escorted by the Tampa Police on their 11.1 mile bicycle ride.
Tampa's first Ride of Silence started back in 2011 as a response to the tragic fatalities in 2010. Organizer Jose Menendez started the local event to honor the twelve who were killed that year and to bring awareness to the community to prevent future accidents.
Many of the participants were local cyclists who know the conditions of Tampa's roads. Some believe that Tampa was built for cars and motor vehicles and not for bicycles and pedestrians. They feel that it is this reason that there are so many accidents with bikers.
Doreen Jesseph is a local rider who cycles regularly. She remembered many of the tragic accidents of individuals biking or walking to and from work. She decided to attend the Ride of Silence to honor those who have lost their lives and to help bring attention to the terrible conditions bikers and walkers face.
Menendez hoped to bring attention to the road safety for bikers, but he also believes it is important for motorist and cyclists to do their part by following safety laws.
It was important for the participants in the event to follow all the proper traffic laws. Cyclists are just like a car on the road. Organizers spoke to the riders and reminded them to stop at each traffic light or stop sign and to use hand signals to identity turns and even stops.
Organizers and riders believed that it is important to be seen on the road to be safe. Lights and reflective gear is a must of cyclists and even walkers in the day and especially at night.
Many of the riders wanted to show their support of road safety by attending the event, while some just wanted to join in the ride. The proactive and the passive riders came out in force this year because they love the ride and are ready for a safer road.
Jesseph commented that the road conditions have been improving in recent years. The improvements are incremental, as Tampa remains the second worst city for bicyclists. The study, "Dangerous by Design" ranked four major cities in Florida as the top worst metropolitan areas for bicyclists.
For as long as the road conditions are dangerous, events like Ride of Silence will be held locally and nationally.
Image and information courtesy of Creative Loafing.
Trail Summit decides what's next
Three watershed events in trail planning occurred by the end of 2012. The Tampa Riverwalk received a federal grant to complete construction of this 40-year-old vision. The Tampa Bypass Canal Trail, creating a "spine" through Hillsborough County, and connecting other trails, was found to be feasible. And the construction of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail was funded from Van Dyke Road to Lutz Lake Fern Road.
These events led to the question "What next?" To answer that question, on May 21, 2013, the Tampa and Hillsborough Greenways and Trails Committee and the MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee hosted a Trail Summit at All People's Life Center.
Summit participants agreed that the first step was to inventory existing and proposed trails in Hillsborough County. Mapping of existing trails was conducted with the assistance of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases maintained by the County and MPO.
Staffs from each municipality in Hillsborough County, and the Florida Department of Transportation and the Department of Health, assisted in collecting data on existing and proposed trails. Inter-jurisdictional discussions confirmed that the numerous projects built in the last decade can be linked together to create a comprehensive, connected, countywide Hillsborough trail network.
On exhibit were Hillsborough County's top 10 Safety Projects, the City of Tampa's current sidewalk and bicycle lane projects, a new Vision Trail map, the Green Artery, the Tampa Riverwalk, the Coast to Coast Trail Connector. Also on the agenda was discussion and adoption of Trail prioritization criteria.
For further information please contact Michele Ogilvie at (813) 273-3774 ext. 317.
Hillsborough County Traffic fatalities drop but motorcyclists still a concern
photo courtesy of www.seefloridago.com
There's good news in Hillsborough County's quest to reduce traffic fatalities. The number of traffic deaths to date in 2013 is 75 persons. Any number is too high, but when compared to the 102 people who died in 2012 at this same time, there has been a reduction of over 26%.
A Fatality Reduction Team was formed by FDOT District 7 specifically to address how each member agency can contribute to making our roadways safer. La102w enforcement, public works, and planning officials from around the district have been employing staff and funds for programs to reduce crashes and the results show their efforts.
Still of heightened concern are the number of motorcycle fatalities. The state's Strategic Highway Safety Plan recognizes as an emphasis area Vulnerable Road Users which includes motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists. The number of motorcyclist who died on Hillsborough County roadways for the entire year in 2012 was 38, yet in the first 6 months of 2013 there have been a total of 25 deaths. Both the Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office have been invited to join the statewide Motorcycle Safety Coalition.
For more information, contact Gena Torres at 813/273-3774 x357.
Green Artery Celebration Day & Workshop
Mark your calendar for September 28, 2013 for the Green Artery Celebration Day 2013!
Join the Green Artery & Mayor Bob Buckhorn for a fun morning of biking, walking, stroller pushing, skateboarding. Special routes will be dedicated for wheelchairs & persons with disabilities.
Four Green Artery Perimeter Trail Celebration Travel Routes are planned:
1. Fair Oaks Community Center (5019 N 34th St) Start Time: 8:30 am
2. Sulphur Springs Pool (701 E Bird St.) Start Time: 10.00 am
3. Rivercrest Park (4802 N River Blvd.) Start Time: 10:00 am
4. Desoto Park, Palmetto Beach (2617 Corrine St.) Start Time: 10:00 am
No Cyclist Left Behind! Travel with groups or explore the route on your own.
Or stop by the Fair Oaks Community Center between 8am and noon for a bike safety rodeo for the kids, a helmet raffle, displays and activities.
That evening a celebration dinner
is also planned, featuring guest speaker Ryan Gravel, designer of the Atlanta Beltline. The dinner will be held at 6:30 PM, Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 N Central Avenue.
Tickets for this event are $15.00. For more information please contact email@example.com.
The link between childhood concentration and walking or biking to school
|Sarah Goodyear, Feb 05, 2013|
Every day outside my son's Brooklyn school, no matter what the weather, you will see a distinctive pale blue bicycle locked to the rack. It belongs to a 7th-grade girl from a Dutch family whose members have stuck with their traditional practice of riding to school each day, despite finding themselves in the not-so-bike-friendly United States for a few years. This lovely blue city bike was a gift from the parents to their eldest child, who is now almost as tall as a grown woman. She has graduated from riding with her parents, and deserves a first-class vehicle to get to class each day. She is fiercely proud of it.
According to the results of a Danish study released late last year, my Dutch friends are giving their daughter a less tangible but more lasting gift along with that bicycle: the ability to concentrate better. The survey looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It found that kids who cycled or walked to school, rather than traveling by car or public transportation, performed measurably better on tasks demanding concentration, such as solving puzzles, and that the effects lasted for up to four hours after they got to school.
The study was part of " Mass Experiment 2012," a Danish project that looked at the links between concentration, diet, and exercise.
Niels Egelund of Aarhus University in Denmark, who conducted the research, told AFP that he was surprised that the effect of exercise was greater than that of diet:
"The results showed that having breakfast and lunch has an impact, but not very much compared to having exercised," Egelund told AFP.
"As a third-grade pupil, if you exercise and bike to school, your ability to concentrate increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies," he added.
The process of getting yourself from point A to point B has cognitive effects that researchers do not yet fully understand. I wrote last year about Bruce Appleyard's examination of cognitive mapping, in which he compared children who were driven everywhere with those who were free to navigate their neighborhoods on their own. His work revealed that the kids whose parents chauffeured them had a much poorer comprehension of the geography of the places they lived, and also a less fine-grained knowledge of the landscape around them.
In an article about the Danish study from the Davis Enterprise, Egelund says that he thinks there is a deep connection between the way we move our bodies and the way our minds work:
"I believe that deep down we were naturally and originally not designed to sit still," Egelund said. "We learn through our head and by moving. Something happens within the body when we move, and this allows us to be better equipped afterwards to work on the cognitive side."
Lots of parents drive their kids to school because walking or driving on streets and roads designed exclusively for cars makes the journey prohibitively dangerous for anyone, especially children. That problem is not easily solved, especially since schools are increasingly being built on the edges of sprawling development, rather than in a walkable context. [ PDF]
But many other parents drive their kids because it's easier, or seems to be easier. They often frame it as a kindness to the child to spare them "trudging" all the way to school, even if that trek is only half a mile long. As these short driving trips become the societal norm, it gets more and more difficult for families to deviate from them. School traffic begets school traffic.
So what could turn the trend around? The connection between active transportation and better physical fitness is well-documented and intuitively easy to draw, and yet apparently not compelling enough. As the Davis Enterprise article points out, even in a U.S. city with relatively good bicycle infrastructure such as Davis, California, parents continue to drive their children to school in huge numbers. More than 60 percent of elementary students in that city arrive for class each morning with their parents behind the wheel. Nationally, as of 2009, only 13 percent of kids in the United States walked or biked to school, down from 50 percent in 1969.
But if more parents realized that packing the kids into the back seat actually affects their ability to learn, would they change their ways? Advocate for building schools in more walkable locations? Demand improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure? Or simply make the time and effort required to get to the kids to school under their own steam, accompanying them if need be?
Many parents pay for test prep and after-school enrichment programs to make their kids more academically competitive, and go to great lengths to schedule time for those activities. Imagine if they invested those resources instead in something as simple as helping their children to travel safely from home to school on foot or by bike, arriving ready to learn.
Article and photo reprinted courtesy of The Atlantic Cities.
County Center Lobby
601 E Kennedy Blvd, Tampa
SR60 Freight Compatibility Stakeholder Meeting
August 29, 2013
5:30p - 7:30p
Brandon Community Center
502 E Sadie St, Brandon
USF Walk Bike Week
September 9 - 13, 2013
Green ARTery Celebration Day
8:00a - 2:00p
Fair Oaks Community Center
5019 N 34th St, Tampa
Unless otherwise specifiied, all
BPAC (Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee) and LRC (Livable Roadways Committee) meetings are held here:
Planning Commission Boardroom
601 E Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33602
To view all upcoming meetings and events, please visit:
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.