Issue: 20          

February 2016    

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The Newsletter of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

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


 Statewide Trail Sponsors Come to Tampa     
SUNTrail program presentation at Tampa Museum of Art
Dale Allen presents the SUNTrail Program at Tampa Museum of Art
The Hillsborough MPO proudly hosted the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation Board Meeting on February 4th and 5th. The Foundation's Board raises and invests resources to promote a statewide system of greenways and trails that further economic benefits, offer safe transportation alternatives, improve access to parks, preserves, and scenic byways, and enhance healthy recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors. Since its inception, the Board has raised more than one million dollars to support programs and projects.

The event kicked off with a Riverwalk Boat Tour of downtown Tampa narrated by the City of Tampa's Riverwalk Development Manager, Lee Hoffman and piloted by MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee Chair, Jim Shirk. Later, several excellent presentations were heard focused on the vision of a regionally connected trail system. Emphasized was the economic benefit communities with robust trail systems.

Planning professionals from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties shared project ideas for connecting gaps to neighboring counties and the state-wide trail system. That's where the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation comes in, offering guidance on getting those trail gaps prioritized... and funded!
Making safe connections... 
Two important meetings for plan updates!

Please join us for an OPEN HOUSE to view and comment on the Tampa & Hillsborough Greenways & Trails Master Plan Update at a meeting of the Tampa and Hillsborough Greenways and Trails Committees:

Tuesday, February 16, 6:15p - 7:30p 
@ Lightfoot Senior Recreation Center 
10901 N 56th Street in Temple Terrace

Town 'N Country! Please join us for a public meeting to view and comment on the George Road Complete Street Study Update:

Thursday, February 18, 6:00p - 7:30p 
@ Town 'N Country Regional Public Library 
7606 Paula Drive #120 in Tampa 

Persons planning to attend these public meetings in need of special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or who require interpreter services (free of charge) should contact Michele Ogilvie, 813/273-3774 x317 at least three business days in advance. You may also contact Michele if you have questions or comments about these plan updates. 
A vision of zero deaths on roads 
In the last three months, the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County School Board and the County Commission passed resolutions endorsing Vision Zero.  The Vision Zero movement began in Sweden, which was able to reduce traffic deaths by 34% over twelve years, and the idea has since been adopted by many U.S. cities. On January 26, the Hillsborough MPO's Policy Committee agreed to host four collaborative workshops over the course of the coming year to help Tampa and Hillsborough County draft a Vision Zero Action Plan.

New York City adopted a Vision Zero Action Plan more than two years ago and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 2015 was officially the safest year on NYC's streets since traffic record-keeping started there in 1910. New York City's pedestrian deaths reached a historic low of 134 in 2015, a 27% reduction from the prior year. Comparatively, in 2015 Hillsborough County experienced 193 traffic deaths with 51 of those being pedestrians fatalities. This a 50% increase in fatalities for people walking in Hillsborough.

We can learn from New York City's success by considering their 2016 priorities as we develop our Vision Zero Action Plan.  The priorities are:
  • More safety redesigns of crash-prone corridors and intersections
  • Safer left turns which account for nearly 30% of fatal and serious injury pedestrian crashes - the City is undertaking a 100-intersection pilot initiative to test safer left turn designs
  • Safer bicycle routes building on the record 12 miles of physically-protected bike lanes created in 2015, the most in a single year.
NYC Vision Zero
NYC Vision Zero Before
NYC Vision Zero
NYC Vision Zero After
  • Targeted enforcement to protect seniors who comprise 13% of the city's population but 38% of the city's pedestrian fatalities in 2015 - the NYPD is undertaking aggressive enforcement against dangerous driving near the city's 250 senior centers
  • Speed enforcement cameras that lead to violations for excessive speeding in a school zones - violations declined by half at locations after speed cameras were installed
  • The Department of Education and the DOT are working together to incorporate a Vision Zero curriculum designed for 4th - 6th graders starting in the 2016-2017 school year
Coast bike share update

The concept of bike share has evolved since first introduced in 1960 when shared bikes were free, with no payment, and no protection. Now there's Coast, the 4th generation bike share system. Using multiple technologies, it has made bike sharing easy, convenient and fun. With GPS, integrated locks, adjustable heights, no greasy chains, adjustable gears, and even a handy basket, the new generation of bike sharing has entered the 21st century.
Coast is Tampa's official Bike Share program. The program features 300 bikes across hubs located in Downtown, Hyde Park, Ybor City, Channelside, Davis Island, and Harbour Island. The program recently passed the one year milestone and is currently planning a regional expansion into Pinellas County.

Using smart apps like SOBI for reserving, paying, trip-planning and finding a station to return your bike, "Coasting" has never been easier. With partners like TBARTA and local transit operators, the number of total active members has reached 15,307. Tampa is unique with over 80% of users being Florida residents. As far as local ridership goes, 37% reside within city limits and additional 32% reside in the eight county TBARTA metro area. Last year, Coast trips totaled an impressive 45,718.

Other than leisurely trips, there are many reasons riders are using Coast. Out of 56% of new trips, 48% were because the destination was too far to walk. Most riders are using paved trails though some venture further using local bike lanes. The new Tamp Riverwalk is seeing a lot of traffic using the connection to reach Channelside, Bayshore, and neighborhoods well beyond. Also expanding to the University of South Florida, the new Share-a-Bull bike share program is averaging about 20 rides per bike per day, making USF the busiest bike share in the country! Ride on!

This is all great news for cyclers of all types but if we want to increase biking as part of urban mobility and transportation we must focus on well-designed protective infrastructure that invites all skill levels to not only use but enjoy the ride. To go with the flow, get more information online or email Eric Trull, Program Director.
High school student safety video contest winners to be announced February 16th!
HCC Student Judges for safety videos  
More than 30 student walk bike safety videos were submitted by high school students from across Hillsborough County. The video contest, the brainchild of a group of concerned officials who gathered at the MPO offices after another student had lost her life on the way to school in the fall of 2015, led by MPO Executive Director Beth Alden. Ideas were discussed on ways to focus a safety message to high school students. And what better way to engage teenagers than to have them use their electronic devices to creatively shoot a video on traffic safety aimed at educating their own peers?

Arrangements were made with the Hillsborough Community College Radio-TV Program Director, Nerissa Lamison, to allow her students to judge the video submissions. While viewing the videos, Ms. Lamison chided her class on what a great job the high schoolers had done with production quality and sound. While watching, her students could be heard reacting differently to each of the 32 videos - complimenting, laughing, even screaming depending on the approach taken by the student videographer.

First and second place winners will be announced February 16, 2016, at the 3:00 p.m. School Board Meeting at 901 East Kennedy Boulevard. The winning students will also present their videos at the March 1st MPO Board Meeting at 601 E Kennedy Boulevard at 9:00 a.m. We hope to see wide distribution of the winning videos throughout the county, state, and beyond. Thanks to all of our participants. And may the best video win!
Temple Terrace celebrates Florida Bike Month
Participants join the 2015 Ride with the Mayor in Temple Terrace
Get ready to Ride with the Mayor on March 11, 2016! It's not every day you get to ride with the Mayor of Temple Terrace on a leisurely group bicycle ride commemorating March as Florida Bike Month. Families are not only welcome, but encouraged to join in on the 3.9 mile ride through beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods of Temple Terrace. Arrive at the Temple Terrace Recreation Complex 6610 Whiteway Drive at 7:30 a.m. for t-shirts, coffee, and donuts (while they last) before setting out at 8:00am for the ride. Last year more than 80 participants riding along with the Mayor and his family. So keep your car parked, and come out early and enjoy the ride!
Congratulations to our new CAC officers 
After several years at the helm, Ed Austin suggested that the honor to chair the MPO Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) should be given to others. Ed took the position very seriously and emphasized how important the CAC is in representing the public on recommendations to the MPO Board.
New CAC Officer
Laura Lawson, CAC Chair

Laura Lawson will now serve as Chair. A Kentucky native who first came to Tampa Bay in 1989 to attend Eckerd College, Laura later earned her law degree from the University of Kentucky. She returned to the area in 1997, settling in Hillsborough County.

Residing in Carrollwood at the time, Laura got interested in transportation when she realized "I couldn't walk to the grocery store." She worked for Bay Area Legal Services and the Hillsborough County Guardian ad Litem Program and now serves as appellate counsel for GAL. "I've always had an interest in public service," Laura said. Because her legal work frequently brings her into contact with disadvantaged populations, she recognizes "what a big problem transportation is for many people."

Laura was appointed to the CAC in 2014 as a member at-large representing women, and through the CAC seeks to influence the design of upcoming transportation projects.

David Wilson, CAC Vice Chair
David Wilson, a commercial real estate sales associate with Marcus & Millichap, has been elected Vice Chair. He was appointed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan to the CAC Committee. David also serves on the County's Affordable Housing Advisory Board and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Black Advisory Council. David is a Tampa native, currently resides in Valrico, and attends Bell Shoals Baptist Church. His favorite part about living in the Tampa Bay area is being able to enjoy himself in the urban space, but come home to peace and quiet in Valrico. "I serve on the MPO CAC because I know transit and general transportation is going to take Hillsborough from good to great. This opportunity has been a true blessing," said David.
Bike-friendly businesses on the rise in Tampa
Bike Basket with Bike Friendly Tampa Logo
Bike Friendly Tampa is a certification program for businesses that demonstrate commitment to promoting and supporting cycling. The Tampa Downtown Partnership has won a grant to provide free consulting to a limited number of companies located in downtown Tampa who are interested in distinguishing themselves by becoming a nationally certified Bicycle Friendly Business. Phase I of the project focused on downtown ground floor merchants. The initial response resulted in earning the City of Tampa #1 status in the state and top 10 in the country!
It's time to branch out to other businesses in Phase II. If you'd like to be part of Bike-Friendly Tampa, please contact Karen Kress, AICP at 813.221.3686.
Rounded up another Gasparilla Children's Bicycle Safety Rodeo
2016 Gaspirilla Childre's Bicycle Rodeo  
On Saturday, January 23rd, Team HCSO and the MPO's Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee hosted the Children's Gasparilla Bike Safety Rodeo where about 100 children were fitted with bicycle helmets and practiced the safety rules of the road. The BPAC thanks the Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sherriff's Office and St. Joseph's Children's Hospital for their support for their roles in making this annual event successful.
Upper Tampa Bay Trail adds more miles
Local officials and stakeholders join in the ribbon cutting for the newest section of the Upper Tampa Bay Tail
Hikers, joggers, cyclists, and skaters can now experience another 4.35 miles of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail (UTBT).  The popular southern section of the UTBT, from Memorial Highway to just a bit north of Ehrlich Road has been recognized as an incredible community asset. For years, trail users could also start at the northern section on Lutz Lake Fern Road at a temporary trailhead on their way to the 42-mile Suncoast Trail. Now, the trail stretches south from a new trailhead at Lutz Lake Fern Road to Van Dyke Road, and the temporary trail head has been replaced with a permanent structure with over 50 parking spaces, restrooms, water, and an automated pay station. Before long, the last gap between Van Dyke Road and where the existing trail ends just north of Ehrlich road will be connected and create close to 60-miles of continuous trail to enjoy!

The new section of trail is in the heart of nature, cutting through Brooker Creek Preserve. The trail will, for the most part, be a 12-foot wide, asphalt lane, some portions are on elevated boardwalk through wetlands, and there are unpaved walkways branching off the main trail into the conservation area.  There will be bike racks near those charted areas if cyclists choose to stop and walk.

The MPO has supported the funding of the UTBT since it was first conceived in the 1980's. The new trail section costs $5.6 million, with funding coming from Southwest Florida Water Management District, Hillsborough County and FDOT. To discuss the project with county officials, you may call Steve Valdez, general contractor, Citizen Engagement, at 813.272.5275, or Richard Sanders, construction project contractor, Public Works Department, at 813.307.1840.
New signs point the way on the Selmon Greenway 
The Selmon Greenway is fast becoming a jewel of Downtown Tampa and is expected to be an important transportation alternative for people living, working, and visiting downtown.  It was designed and paved in 2014 with nearly $500,000 from the Expressway Authority and $1.9 million from a Tiger Grant the City of Tampa received for the Riverwalk. The paved trail runs east-west from the Brorein Street bridge to the Riverwalk and Meridian Trail to 19th Street in Ybor City... but it isn't always an easy path to find, especially at the Kennedy connector. Without signage, not everyone knows that it exists and connects to a growing network of bikeways.

That is changing after the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) board voted to invest $2.5 million from expressway and parking tolls to upgrade the trail with signs, pocket parks, bike racks, landscaping and other amenities. Eventually lighting will also be added for both safety and visibility and benches and public art. To learn more about the this and other initiatives, view THEA's 5-year Work Program.
Meet the entrepreneur whose bamboo bikes are improving the planet

Bambike creates jobs by building bamboo bicycles. Check out Erik Ortiz's report on
In This Issue
Trail Sponsors come to Tampa
Two important meetings!
NYC Vision Zero
Coast Bike Update
Student Safety Video Contest
Temple Terrace Bike Ride
New CAC Officers
Bike Friendly Tampa
Annual Bike Rodeo
New Trail Section Open
Selmon Greenway Signs
Bambikes improving the world