Issue: 21           

May 2016    

Walk Bike News banner

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

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


May is  national bike month_
Cyclovia Temple Terrace is back!
Sunday, May 15, 9a - 2p
On Sunday, May 15th, the City of Temple Terrace and FDOT will close 56th street between Busch Boulevard / Bullard Parkway and Whiteway Drive to vehicular traffic for their second annual Cyclovia!

Cyclovia is a worldwide movement that closes the streets to cars for the day and converts them into safe, fun thoroughfares where people can walk, run, bike, skate, scoot, play and just enjoy the city in a whole new way. This event is made possible by partnerships with the City of Temple Terrace, Florida Department of Transportation, New North Transportation Alliance, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, Center for Urban Transportation ResearchAlert Today Florida, Hillsborough MPO,Keep Tampa Beautiful, Tampa Electric, and Palladium Graphics and Awards.

So let's meet on 56th Street for a day of walking and biking along with free fun and good health!
Penalosa : Plan for people first 
Gil Penalso (left center) sharing ideas with Temple Terrace Councilman Grant Rimbey (left), Tampa Councilwoman and MPO Livable Roadways Chair Lisa Montelione, and Tampa Councilman and HART Chair Mike Suarez following his very inspiring presentation on April 20. 
On April 20, our Livable Roadways Committee in partnership with USF's Live Move Student Group, featured international guest speaker Gil Penalosa, Chair of 8-80 Cities, World Urban Parks, and former Commissioner of Parks for the City of Bogata. His focus is on creating vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone with the design of parks and street as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, biking, and public transit.

Gil's passion about cities for all people stirred great enthusiasm among the overflow audience. "If you create a great city for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for all people," he said as he showed amazing transformations of cities from around the world.
Student Walk Bike Safety winning videos 
1st place - Pedestrian Safety by Ethan Huggins and Zuriel Cousin Blake High School
1st place - Pedestrian Safety
by Ethan Huggins and Zuriel Cousin
Blake High School

2nd Place - PSA Bike Safety by Wesley Thomas, Robert Ewing, and Craig Jones | Spoto High School
2nd Place - PSA Bike Safety
by Wesley Thomas, Robert Ewing, and Craig Jones
Spoto High School

Winners of our High School Student Walk Bike Safety video contest were announced at the February 16 Hillsborough County Public Schools
Board Meeting and were also recognized at the MPO's March 1st Board Meeting. View the Top 8 placing safety videos.

Congratulations the 32 budding film makers who entered the contest. They are all phenomenal spokespeople for peer-to-peer walk bike safety messaging! And thank you again to our partners: Hillsborough County Public Schools, City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, FDOT District 7, Columbia Restaurant Group, Tampa Bay Lightning, and CUTR at USF.  
New traffic signal was the missing link
Families use the new signaled crosswalk at E. Hillsborough Ave. and Meridian Apartments
On March 14, 2016, the City of Tampa declared a new signal fully functional on E Hillsborough Avenue at East Gate Plaza/ Meridian Point Apartments. The roadway is state-owned but maintained by the City of Tampa. The city has deploying portable electronic message boards on both approaches to alert motorists about the new traffic signal. The signalized crosswalk was needed for the neighborhood to safely access transit and all of the destinations on both sides of this busy road.

Congratulations to the City of Tampa and FDOT for collaborating to get this project completed. The total cost of the traffic signal project was $350,000; $306,000 for construction funded by FDOT and $44,000 for design funded by the City. The funds were well spent as seen in photos below taken only one day after the crossings were fully functional. Local families living on either side of Hillsborough Avenue can now safely access all the neighborhood businesses on the other. Pedestrian use a new signaled crosswalk at E. Hillsborough Ave. to arrive home safe.

These improvements resulted from the 2013 MPO Corridor Safety Study. The roadway was one of several corridors identified for further study in the MPO's Crash Severity Reduction Report. Not only is E Hillsborough Avenue heavily traveled, but there are 6-lanes, few medians, and some of the highest number of severe or fatal crashes stretching from Nebraska to 56th Street.

There is good news to report. Many of the corridor improvements identified in the MPO corridor study have occurred over the last year or are underway:
  • Doubled the number of safe crossings along the corridor
  • Reduced the speed limit for a portion of the corridor
  • At existing crosswalks:
    • Upgraded crosswalks to high-visibility markings
    • Added signs reminding drivers to yield to pedestrians before turning
    • Reduced pedestrian wait time to get the "walk" signal
    • Increased frequency of the pedestrian "walk" signal
The community can look forward to continued cooperation among the City, FDOT, and MPO to make our roadways better for everyone.
Linking transportation and health        
Staff attend Research that matters Conference at USF
Domingo Noriega, AECOM; Allison Marron and Daragh Gibson, Florida Department of Health-Hillsborough County; and Wade Reynolds and Michele Ogilvie, MPO staff, presented the George Road Health Impact Assessment at
USF's "Coming Home to Social Justice" on March 4, 2016 

The link between transportation decisions and community health impacts is often overlooked. With this connection in mind, the Hillsborough MPO has joined with the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County to highlight the value that safe, walkable streets can bring to the Town 'N Country community.

Town 'N Country is an area in western Hillsborough County roughly bounded by Tampa Bay to the south, the Veterans Expressway to the east, Linebaugh Ave to the north and the Hillsborough County boundary on the west. The 2010 census reports Town 'N Country's population to be 78,442 people, making it a larger city than Plant City or Temple Terrace if it were incorporated. Hispanic or Latino residents make up approximately 44% of the population, much higher than the rest of Hillsborough County.

Town 'N Country
Hillsborough County
Hispanic / Latino
African American
Population under 18

George Road is a north-south roadway with a trail system on either end-the Town N' Country Greenway on the north and the Skyway Park on the south. The Town N' Country Greenway provides connection to the Upper Tampa Bay Trail while the Skyway Park connects to the Courtney Campbell Trail. Connecting the two trail systems using George Road would provide a significant local and regional transportation connection for trail users, residents and commuters living and traveling through the corridor.

The health impact assessment of this project includes analysis of the potential changes in physical activity levels, traffic safety, access to green space, crime-related incidents, chronic disease, mental health and well-being, respiratory disease, and heat-related illness. Transportation engineering practice, combined with the analysis of determinants of health and health outcome indicators, can provide better transportation options that lead to healthier lives by improving mobility for non-drivers, lowering rates of traffic injury, and  improving chronic disease and mental health outcomes all while supporting the regional and state trail system.

For more information contact Michele Ogilvie or visit our project webpage
 Bridging The GAPS !      
A major goal of the Hillsborough MPO is completing vital walking and bicycling connections both inside our borders between the unincorporated county and three cities, and beyond the county line to wind trails through several counties as part of the West Central Florida's trails system.

Multiple agencies have teamed together and identified critical missing links that are crucial to completing the Southwest Coast Regional Trail. For our part, the MPO has designated the South-Coast Greenway Phase 1 and the Maydell Bridge connection over the Palm River, as important missing links in our existing system that will help make the Southwest Coastal Trail a priority in Florida's Shared Use non-motorized trail Network called SUN Trail.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) SUN Trail program is a move towards supporting additional investment in Florida's bicycle and pedestrian trails infrastructure. The $25 million in funding per year will help close gaps between existing off road trails and create a statewide network to enhance and improve the Florida Greeways and Trails system.

As part of the regional multi-use trails network, the Southwest Coastal Regional Trail was identified by the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) in their 2015 Master Plan to be extended from Pinellas Trail in St. Petersburg, connect with the Coast to Coast Connector through Tampa, and head south along the coast through Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice, North Port, Ft. Myers, and Naples. When all of these connections are complete it will become part of the nation's largest system of locally connected trails. This would greatly benefit the Tampa Bay region, and enhance Florida's recreational opportunities while improving bicycle/pedestrian safety.

TBARTA coordinated all of the MPOs in our region to unite and identify the most crucial missing links, sending a clear message that was presented at the Florida Greenways and Trails Council public meeting held in Tallahassee on March 31, 2016. The importance of this collective effort is underscored by the Tampa Bay region's current ranking as the second most dangerous place to walk and bike in the United States. Securing these funds and completing these projects will help serve our bicyclists and pedestrians and provide a safer more complete system of connected trails for recreation and for commutes. The Florida Greenways and Trails Council ranked TBARTA's proposal third among seven regional trails. All this hard work and coordination will serve as a foundation for the future when applying for these much needed funds at the local, state, and federal levels to complete these critical connections.
Riverwalk  extends, and more coming soon
Tampa's now iconic River Walk is still expanding. The latest construction connects from Waterworks park, under I-275, and continuing behind the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, linking with the existing stretch along Curtis Hixon Park. There are exciting plans to renovate the exterior of the Straz Center that intend to take full advantage of this new section of the Riverwalk.

Plans call for an event pavilion that will seat up to 800 people, an iconic over-the-water structure, a grand terrace, and a restaurant and cafe with terrace seating. There will also be docks for the city's new water taxis. This work at the Straz is estimated at $100 million, with the bulk coming from private donations and grants. This project will make the center and north downtown even more exciting and enhance Tampa's downtown image as a recreational, entertainment destination.

Adding to the amazing riverfront renovations are the new plans for more residential developments along the Riverwalk. Any investment to enhance the experience acts a catalyst for more growth and activity in our ever-expanding downtown. The idea for the Riverwalk was initiated 40 years ago, and it took the commitment of six mayors to make it happen. This wonderful public amenity underscores the importance of investing in a community's future.      
Fowler Avenue gets better bike lanes
As one of the most dangerous places to bicycle in the United States, we have some good new for bicyclists in north Tampa near University of South Florida.
Fowler Avenue may not seem like a first choice for biking but some recent changes may make it far less challenging. With a repaving project as a catalyst taking a few inches from each of the existing car lanes to create a  bike lane on each side of the road along with a visual buffer to separate bicyclists from the traffic. By summer of 2016, the new Fowler Avenue buffered bike lanes will run from Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B Downs Boulevard. It's part of a pilot project to create a standard type of bike lane the Department of Transportation can put in place on state roads around Florida.

Studies show that buffered or protected bike lanes save lives. Dedicated bike lanes with visual or physical barriers help drivers know where to expect cyclists. There are many other efforts being made to make Tampa more bike friendly. Large east-west corridors such as Fletcher Ave, Busch Blvd, and E Hillsborough Ave, to name a few, have all had bicycle and pedestrian amenities and signaled crosswalks added. But to achieve the goal of offering commuters  more transportation choices for bicyclists and pedestrians, we will have to  create more safer bike corridors, not just for recreation, but for the many  residents who are bike dependent.
Temple Terrace Florida Bike Month celebration
2016 Ride with the Mayor
The Annual Mayor's bike ride was held on March 11, 2016, commemorating March as Florida Bike Month. The 3.9 mile ride through beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods of Temple Terrace was a huge success.  Along with beautiful weather, friends, neighbors, and colleagues joined the Mayor and representatives of Walk/Bike Tampa Bay, FDOT, City of Temple Terrace and the Hillsborough MPO for camaraderie and cycling. Upwards of 100 participants road along. Thanks to MPO Board member Mayor Frank Chillura, all of the participants, as well as the Temple Terrace Police Department for escorting the crowd through the city.
WalkWise Tampa Bay provides innovative safety presentations
Citizens participate in the Walk Wise presentaion
WalkWise Tampa Bay is a grassroots initiative that provides innovative pedestrian safety education to citizens. Pedestrian safety is an issue that affects everyone. We are all pedestrians at some point during our day.

The WalkWise campaign provides a free interactive 30-minute presentation with time for discussion to anyone living or working in select Florida counties. Through the use of clickers, attendees are asked about their knowledge of traffic safety laws, safe behaviors, and perceptions of walking and bicycling in the Tampa Bay area. At the end of the presentation, attendees take the pledge to be safe and pass along their new knowledge to others. Everyone who attends also gets a free reflective backpack or bicycle light. To date, WalkWise Tampa Bay has delivered more than 1,200 presentations and more than 40,000 residents have taken the WalkWise Pledge to become ambassadors for walking, bicycling and driving safe.

WalkWise Tampa Bay is managed by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at USF and funded by the Florida Department of Transportation District 7. Request a safety presentation for your group.
Counting bike riders
Bike Counter This Bikeometer in Rosslyn, Virginia, provides a highly visible, engaging and fun view of the volume of bike usage on the Custis Trail in Arlington. Ride past the Bikeometer and notice the daily bike count tick off another digit and acknowledge another car-free trip in Arlington County. The information displayed is real time and also includes month and year-to-date data.

The Rosslyn Bikeometer is the sixth in the United States, preceded by versions in Portland, Seattle and California. It highlights Arlington's extensive bike and pedestrian automated counting program, which includes all the data from multiple counters on trails and bike lanes throughout the County. The Bikeometer is a fun feature, but it's also an important reminder that biking is a popular choice and an integral component of the transportation solution.
How D.C. cut traffic fatalities by over 73% in
a decade

How D.C. Cut Traffic Fatalities by over 73% in a Decade
In This Issue
Cyclovia Temple Terrace
Penalosa: people 1st
Student Walk Bike Safety video conest winners
New Signaled Crosswalk!
Transportation & health
State Funds for Trails
Riverwalk Expands
New Bike Lanes
Ride with the Mayor
Saving Lives