Issue 15    


Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) eNews 

January 2015      


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MPO Board elects new officers,

selects new Executive Director 

MPO Chair, Commissioner Les Miller  

At its January meeting this morning, the MPO Board elected new officers for the coming year. County Commissioner Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr. was elected MPO Chair. "I am optimistic about all of the transportation opportunities we have in Hillsborough County," said Chair Miller. "I'm thankful for the confidence this board has placed in me. We have a lot of work to do, and I'm excited about the MPO working with our partners in all of our jurisdictions to provide the best possible results for our community." MPO Vice Chair, Tampa City Council Member Harry Cohen  


Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen was elected MPO Vice Chair. He will continue to chair the MPO's Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board.  


Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione will continue to chair the MPO's Livable Roadways Committee.


At the end of the meeting, the MPO Board conducted final interviews for the Executive Director position. Our current Assistant Executive Director, Beth Alden, AICP, was unanimously selected. Ray Chiaramonte, AICP, the current Executive Director of the MPO, will be retiring on January 31, 2015 after 35 years of service to the citizens of Hillsborough County. "This is great news," said Mr. Chiaramonte. "I have complete confidence in Beth's knowledge and ability to lead our staff working with the elected officials our planning partners in all of the jurisdictions we serve." Beth Alden, AICP, MPO Exec Dir  


Serving in progressively more responsible roles since 1999, Ms. Alden's contributions and leadership are a big reason the Hillsborough MPO has been continually cited for best practices nationwide. Invited to serve on the State of Florida's Mobility Performance Measures Taskforce, in the Federal Highway Administration's Scenario Planning Peer Exchange, and be one of the writers of the American Institute of Certified Planners' national certifying exam for transportation planning, she brings excellent credentials and the recognition of peers across the state and nation.  


"I appreciate the support of the MPO Board and look forward to continue working with the elected officials and staff in our partner planning agencies in Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and Hillsborough County," said Beth Alden. "Our community has so many assets, and I am dedicated to making it even better." Ms. Alden graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina State University, receiving a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture. She received her Master of Planning from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.


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State & federal investments in Hillsborough County

Last month the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) unveiled its proposed five year work program. The Tentative Work Program is FDOT's plan to allocate state and federal dollars to projects from July 2015 through June 2020. The work program funds major transportation projects throughout the state and proposes to spend over $1.2 billion in Hillsborough County alone. Several projects prioritized by your MPO have now been added to the funded list: 


View FDOT District Seven's Tentative Work Program  


The program has funding for major Interstate projects in our area, including:

  • Additional right-of-way for the interchanges of I-275 at I-4 in downtown Tampa and at SR 60 in the Westshore area to accommodate future express lanes
  • Preliminary engineering to add lanes and reconstruct I-275 north of downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave

The program would also fund studies of safety and traffic operations improvements to corridors such as:

  • SR 580 (Busch Blvd) from Dale Mabry Hwy to Nebraska Ave
  • Hillsborough Ave from Memorial Hwy to I-275
  • SR 574 (MLK Blvd) from 40th St to I-4

Although the exact nature of such improvements won't be known for some time, the MPO's East Hillsborough Ave Corridor Study made recommendations along these lines. FDOT also proposes environmental studies and preliminary engineering to add lanes to roads in outlying areas such as:

  • US 92 from Kingsway Rd to Thonotosassa Rd in eastern Hillsborough County
  • SR 574 (MLK Blvd) from McIntosh Rd to US 92 in Plant City
  • US 301 from Fowler Ave to future SR 56 in Pasco County

FDOT's program proposes funding for local initiatives large and small, including:

  • A $194 million state contribution for an automated people-mover from Tampa International Airport's main terminal to the Consolidated Rental Car facility near the economy parking garages
  • $35 million for Tampa's Advance Traffic Management System to connect and install smart traffic signals at 177 intersections throughout the city
  • Almost $24 million to replace aging HART buses over the next five years
  • $3.7 million for a unified fare collection system to enable riders to use just one pass to ride any transit system in the Tampa Bay region
  • Construction of pedestrian improvements and bike lanes on Plant and Hyde Park Avenues from Kennedy Blvd to Platt St.


The Tentative Work Program was presented for approval at the MPO's January meeting.A statewide public hearing is scheduled for March 2, 2015, before the work program goes to the Florida Legislature for approval in the overall state budget. Once approved, the work program goes into effect on July 1, 2015.


For more information, contact Lori Marable, FDOT District Seven's Public Involvement Coordinator, at (813) 975-6405 or (800) 226-7220.

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Public Meeting on Bruce B Downs Widening on January 12 

Hillsborough County logo  

Date:   Monday, January 12          Time:   6:00 p.m.
Place: Tampa Palms Elementary, 6100 Tampa Palms Blvd, Tampa


The Hillsborough County Public Works Department has scheduled an open house format public information meeting to provide pre-construction information receive feedback on the planned widening of Bruce B Downs Boulevard from Bearss Avenue to Palm Springs Boulevard. The existing four lane divided roadway will be converted to an eight lane divided roadway, with a sidewalk on the west side of the road, a paved multi-use path on the east side of the road, various sections of landscaped medians, and reconstructed bridges over Cypress Creek.


The widening of Bruce B Downs Boulevard will not only reduce congestion and increase traffic capacity but also provide additional safety features for pedestrians, bicyclists, and the motoring public. Construction of this $56 million section of the multi-phase Bruce B Downs Boulevard Widening Project is expected begin in late January 2015 and be completed by spring 2017.


All meeting facilities are accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additional necessary accommodations will be provided with a 48-hour notice. For more information, call Steve Valdez, Customer Engagement Division Director, at 813/272-5275. TTY: 813/301-7173. Prensa: Para información, llamar al 813/272-5314.


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Tampa Bay plans express lanes and buses  


Recently the Florida Department of Transportation's District 7 announced a master plan for a managed lanes system in the Tampa Bay region. Dubbed the Tampa Bay Express (TBX), the plan contemplates new express toll lanes throughout the region. The toll lanes would be built next to existing lanes in the I-275, I-75 and I-4 right-of-way.


Drivers could use the TBX lanes by paying a variable toll of $0.15 to $2 per mile based on congestion at any given time. As congestion increases, the toll rates would rise, and as the traffic lessens, rates would decrease. This "dynamic pricing" based on demand throughout the day would provide drivers with a more reliable commute and increased mobility. Highway segments with the greatest need will be further studied. FDOT is considering design-build and public-private partnerships to implement the TBX master plan. 


Can these new lanes support rapid transit? FDOT partnered with the Hillsborough MPO to study that idea. In concept, express buses would stop near Wesley Chapel, USF, Downtown Tampa, Westshore, Carillon/Greater Gateway, and Downtown St Petersburg. The study considered different route options, and with input from stakeholders and transit agencies, has narrowed down to focus on I-275, offering three different combinations of frequency and hours of service.


Express bus station sites have not been decided on, but potential locations include I-75 at SR 56, and I-275 at Fletcher Ave, downtown Tampa's Marion Transit Center, and the proposed Westshore Regional Intermodal Center. In Pinellas, potential station locations include I-275 at the Greater Gateway Area and downtown St. Petersburg. 


FDOT plans to hold a series of public workshops introduce the projects and get public feedback. For further information and meeting dates email FDOT Government Liaison Administrator Lee Royal or call 813/975-6427.


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MPO introduces TIP map app     


With the click of a mouse, the Plan Hillsborough website gives citizens the ability to find out about long-range plans and projects and identify opportunities to get involved. Staff recently added a new tool to enable users to learn more about upcoming transportation projects in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  


The TIP is a five year plan that prioritizes and allocates funding for transportation projects. Updated annually with adoption by the MPO Board in June of each year, this program is the "short-range" component of the MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan. Development of the TIP is a continuous process involving agency staff and public participation.


The existing tool, called the Planning Information Mapping Application (PIMA), is an interactive feature in which users can view land use, transportation, environmental, and other planning-related maps and data. Users can zoom in on areas of interest, search for specific properties, and view parcel and land use information. A new "Search TIP" feature has been added to PIMA that allows users to scan the TIP for projects in their area, search for specific projects coming up in the next five years, and print reports or maps.


The TIP document includes MPO project priorities and detailed project listings for five fiscal years - but it doesn't have maps showing project locations. Refining the data underlying the TIP enabled staff to develop the automated mapping tool, thus allowing users to see and map these projects in the context of our community.




To learn more about the TIP for Hillsborough County Florida, contact Joseph Price at 813/273-3774 x362.


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Platt & Cleveland Streets to get separated bike lanes 


The City of Tampa is set to begin work on Platt and Cleveland Streets in South Tampa. The two projects along major thoroughfares into and out of downtown Tampa will include resurfacing of both roadways and provide for new cycling infrastructure, the City of Tampa's first green-painted, separated bike lanes. Crews began work in the first week of December 2014.


"There probably isn't a roadway as in need as Cleveland Street is, but we're going in to fix the source, the problems you can't see below. As the City moves forward to repair and improve our existing infrastructure on streets like Platt and Cleveland, it's important that we make sure they are really serving all its users, including cyclists and pedestrians," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "In this case, we are adding new bike infrastructure, the first of their kind in Tampa, but we're already planning miles more."


The Cleveland Street reconstruction project runs from the Hillsborough River west to S Armenia Avenue. The project includes repair of existing utilities and drainage system. LED streetlights and ADA compliant pedestrian ramps will also be installed. A buffered bike lane will be added on the north side of Cleveland Street with strategically marked green paint to alert drivers to watch for cyclists. Additional on street parking will be added along the south side. The work is scheduled to be completed in April 2015.  The project costs $2 million and is being constructed by Ajax Paving.


On Platt Street from Audubon Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard, crews will resurface the roadway and remove one travel lane to accommodate a protected bike lane with strategically placed green paint and provide additional on street parking.  Both the parking and bike lane are along the south side.  Scheduled to be completed in February 2015, the project costs $1.4 million and is being constructed by Asphalt  Paving Systems Inc.


Both projects will impact traffic. The City of Tampa recommends that motorists use alternate routes during construction to avoid any potential traffic congestion. However, access to businesses and residents will be maintained throughout the course of construction. For more information, contact Ali Glisson, Public Affairs Director at 813/274-8262 or


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EVs "fill up" in Temple Terrace 


Electric vehicles have been a game changer for Jamie and Kimberly Robe. He drives a battery-powered Nissan Leaf, and she sports a Chevy Volt, an electric car that also runs on gas. "We basically never go to the gas station, and there's no oil to change," said Jamie, who every weekday morning drives 11 miles from his home in Temple Terrace to a downtown Tampa parking lot near his workplace, where he "fills up" at one of its EV charging stations.


On the other hand, Kimberly, a stay-at-home mom of their four children, generally charges her car with an EV charger in the garage. "There's almost no repair on the vehicles and they're fun to drive and not going to a gas station is just an awesome thing," Jamie said. "Plus, you know you're not filling it up with fossil fuel."


This couple is not alone in their affection for EVs and hybrids, or in their effort to protect the environment. Temple Terrace resident Tamera Beisler, who purchased a new Cadillac ELR in early September, along with an EV charging station for her garage, said she's driven it 1,700 miles and seen an increase of only $30 in her TECO bill, which amounts to about $1 per day. The only downside, she and others say, is that there is not an abundance of public EV charging stations in the county, including Temple Terrace, where there are none.


That issue is changing, thanks to City Councilman Grant Rimbey who did some research that led him to Helda Rodriguez, the founder and president of NovaCharge in Oldsmar, a company devoted to supplying and installing EV charging stations throughout the Southeast. In turn, Rodriquez - who recalled accompanying her grandfather as a child on the Temple Terrace Golf Course and speaks fondly about the city - contacted her sources at Nissan, who consented to providing and installing a Level 3 DC Fast Charger EV charging station at no cost to the city of Temple Terrace.


The unit - which will be accessible 24 hours a day and can provide a full charge in 20 minutes - has a plug that accommodates Nissan's Leaf as well as Tesla, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Fuji electric vehicles. However, it is not suitable for use on Chevy Volts. Rodriguez said the value of Nissan's donation is approximately $30,000. The location will be either in the parking lot directly behind City Hall at 11250 N 56th Street with access off East 113th Avenue, or across the street in the city's lot abutting the Outback restaurant. Nissan's decision is based on easy accessibility by the public.


Rimbey said having an EV charging station in Temple Terrace fits in with the city's mission statement to be a historically conscious, sustainable and progressive multimodal community. "Plus, the EV chargers and alternative transportation in general have a special appeal to the Generation Xers and Millennials, which the city wants to begin attracting for the sake of our future," he said.


Tom Krumreich, the owner of a Honda Civic hybrid who lives just outside Temple Terrace and is vice president of the Suncoast Electric Vehicle Association, believes it will boost the city's image as a progressive community. "To the best of my knowledge, this level 3 DC Fast Charger will be one of the few located in the Tampa Bay area, and being located in Temple Terrace will further add to the city's reputation for supporting all forms of transportation," he said.


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Dale Mabry Hwy selected for living memorial  


MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) is an international military headquarters and a huge presence in the local economy. Home to the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and to the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), MacDill also supports an Air Force Aerial Refueling Squadron, military hospital, commissary, Reserve and Guard centers, and Hurricane Hunter aircraft. Dignitaries visit MacDill from all over the world. Most visitors enter and leave MacDill through the Main Gate on South Dale Mabry Highway.


Tampa has a strong tradition of honoring those who serve. Various community groups have wanted to create memorials, but funding has been hard to come by. The Tampa Bay Memorial Palm Project (TBMPP) desires to plant a palm to honor each service member stationed at MacDill who has died in the line of duty. Recently, the 2015 FDOT Landscape Funding Program awarded an $800,000 grant to the City of Tampa to fund the TBMPP on Dale Mabry Hwy from Gandy Blvd to MacDill AFB. The City of Tampa will provide the landscape plans and oversee installation and maintenance. Tampa's Parks and Recreation staff has already started designing the project. 


Dale Mabry Hwy is one of several corridors that Tampa has targeted for improved aesthetics. "Just as we did throughout the urban core, we're expanding our beautification efforts and working to transform our arterial roads to become the welcome signs they should be.  A community feels about itself the way it looks," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "These roads are true gateways throughout our community."


The schedule calls for the conceptual design to be completed by May, followed by a public meeting in June 2015.  Construction is expected to be finished by September 2016.  For more information contact Lisa K. Silva, AICP, PLA at


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Airport expansion breaks ground  


On November 20, more than 500 people gathered under a tent on top of the South Economy Parking Garage at Tampa International Airport to celebrate the official groundbreaking of TPA's historic master plan expansion project. A host of dignitaries, came together to plunge ceremonial gold shovels into dirt and launch what is the biggest construction project at TPA in more than 40 years. "We're about to transform an airport that has helped transform our community," said Airport CEO Joe Lopano. "We are so lucky to be right here, right now."


Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said that Tampa and the airport's time has arrived. "This is a world-class airport and what's going to happen here today and over the next couple of years will seal our place on that international stage," he said.  


The project, which costs $943 million and will be completed by 2017, will expand the main terminal, move rental car operations outside of the vicinity of the terminal and create a new 1.4-mile people mover to connect the new facilities. It will also widen an overpass over the George J Bean Parkway, eventually allowing the roadway to expand.


Florida Governor Rick Scott, in a letter read to the group, said this expansion will help bring in more visitors and that means more jobs for Floridians. "This expansion not only helps TIA, one of the world's premier airports, but also increases passenger capacity and creates opportunities for Florida's families," he said. "Every 85 visitors to our state creates one job for Floridians."  


The master plan expansion is expected to create or save 9,000 construction-related jobs. It will also create more than 1,000 new permanent jobs. The first phase of the master plan project includes a commitment to direct $122 million to minority and disadvantaged businesses. It will also support local businesses. Half of the 72 subcontractors so far are from Tampa or Florida companies.


Aviation Authority Chairman Robert Watkins said he felt lucky to be part of such a remarkable group during this remarkable time, giving credit to a long list of visionaries that came before him. "We wouldn't be here without the vision of the leaders who came before us," he said. Watkins said that when the airport opened, it served 3.4 million passengers each year. Within 10 years of the new terminal opening, that number had more than doubled to 7.1 million. "The expansion that we're doing the groundbreaking for today is also intended to double capacity of this airport," he said. The airport currently serves 17 million passengers each year.  


Passengers and guests will begin to see the first changes in early December as TIA begins the expansion of the main terminal to the east. To follow the progress of the expansion project and stay up-to-date on travel impacts, go to


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FDOT's Hattaway named public official of the year 


By Michael Maciag (article & photo courtesy of Governing Magazine)


When Billy Hattaway took a 10-day trip out to the West Coast in 1996, it triggered a "conversion experience" for the then-state roadway design engineer at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). He toured cities with roundabouts and other pedestrian-friendly infrastructure features -- rare sights in the Sunshine State. After returning, he began pushing Florida to adopt some of the walkable ideas he'd seen. He got nowhere. Frustrated by his state's lack of action, he later left to become a private consultant, assisting other states instead.


Nearly two decades later, Hattaway is back. Thanks to changes in leadership and evolving attitudes about transportation planning, Hattaway has found himself leading a sweeping effort to turn around pedestrian safety in Florida, a state notorious for having some of the highest pedestrian death tallies year after year. FDOT hired him back in 2011 as a district secretary to lead its pedestrian and bike safety initiative. "I came back because the current leadership is all about making a difference," he says, "and that's what motivates me."


The state's efforts extend far beyond the typical public awareness safety campaign. In each district office, they've hired dedicated specialists to coordinate pedestrian and bicycle efforts and to correct safety issues. Hattaway has traveled across the state, talking to staff and leading training sessions on road design and fixing problem areas. Over the past two years, more than 800 engineers and planners working in FDOT and local governments received training. Rather than issuing general guidelines, Hattaway is revising the technical documents used by engineers to incorporate updated requirements, such as increased sidewalk widths. To better target its efforts, the department also employs a data-driven approach to identify accident-prone corridors. "Ten or 15 years ago, nobody there viewed pedestrian and bicycle safety as a major priority," says Pei-Sung Lin of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida. "We've now started to see the whole state get excited about this."


Much of this has culminated in Florida's first-ever statewide pedestrian and bicycle strategic safety plan, which is being implemented by the state and a coalition of stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and public health departments. Police, for instance, produced a training video for officers. And FDOT is working to better engage with the public about pedestrian safety needs. The agency and state legislature are clarifying terminology so that laws, like what constitutes a crosswalk, are easier to understand.


Reversing generations of transportation planning and a car-centric culture will take time. But while Hattaway's pedestrian safety initiatives have been in place just a few years, they're already seeing signs of improvement. In 2012, Florida's state ranking for annual pedestrian deaths per capita fell out of the top three for the first time in decades.  

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In this Issue
MPO Board Elects/Selects
FDOT Work Program
Bruce B Downs Public Mtg
Tampa Bay Express Plans
New TIP Map App
Platt & Cleveland St improvements
Temple Terrace EV Station
Dale Mabry Living Memorial
TIA Groundbreaking
Hattaway Named Public Official of Year

Upcoming Meetings & Events 

MPO ITS Committee

Jan 8, 2015

1:30 p.m. 


George Road

Walk Bike

Connector Study

Public Meeting

Jan 15, 2015 

6 p.m. 

Town N Country Library

7606 Paula Dr, Tampa 



Gasparilla Children's

Parade Bicycle Safety Rodeo

Jan 24, 2015

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Bayshore Boulevard 


MPO TAC Committee

Jan 26, 2015

1:15 p.m. 


View full MPO calendar  


You are warmly invited to attend...

Open House Farewell Reception honoring
Ray Chiaramonte 
on his Retirement

January 30
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

The Planning Commission 
601 East Kennedy Boulevard
18th Floor, Boardroom 
Tampa, FL 33602




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