Issue: 22            

August 2016    

Walk Bike News banner

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

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


Better together
Hillsborough and its cities link trail planning
The MPO worked closely with the Tampa Greenways & Trails Committee, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and surrounding counties to prepare the new Tampa-Hillsborough Greenways and Trails Plan inclusive of Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, and unincorporated Hillsborough. All of the amazing individual projects and trail and bikeway connections have been brought together and identified in one document, linking them together.

Here are some highlights of the important connections these trails will make to destinations in and around Hillsborough County:

The I-275 Greenway

The I-275 Greenway connects Cypress Point Park and the Courtney Campbell Trail (and Pinellas County) to Robles Park north of Downtown Tampa. From Cypress Point Park to Downtown Tampa, this trail would serve as a component part of the SUNTrail Southwest Coast Connector project. From the beauty of Tampa Bay and the developing Westshore district to the history of West Tampa, the energy of the parks along the way, into Downtown Tampa to Tampa Heights, this trail has the potential to connect visitors and local residents with all that Tampa has to offer. 

The Selmon Greenway
Connecting the existing Selmon Greenway to the Green Spine at E 3rd Avenue provides a connection from the West Tampa neighborhood through Downtown Tampa into Ybor City and points south. This route allows bicyclists and walkers to experience rapidly-developing Channelside, historic Ybor City, and the bustling activity of active Port Tampa and is also a component of the SUNTrail Southwest Coast Connector project.

USF Trail 

The University Area Community is located adjacent to the University of South Florida and its 40,000+ students, as well as Temple Terrace's roughly 25,000 residents. This trail along Fletcher Avenue provides a trail connection to the proposed Tampa Bypass Canal Trail and the recreational opportunities in Flatwoods Park, as well as a connection to southeast Tampa, Ybor City, Channelside, and points south. Strategies in the Livable Communities Element for the USF area include the facilitation of non-motorized travel by creating pedestrian links (sidewalks and trails) and safe crossings.

The Kirby Canal Trail 

The Kirby Canal Trail connects the Town 'N Country neighborhood to the neighborhoods and employment opportunities in the Carrollwood area in northwest Tampa. This trail is primarily along the Kirby Canal (Canal G) and, much like the Town N' County Trail to the west, travels through both developed and natural areas. The creek provides a respite from the surrounding development. This connection will provide a safe, off-street route and improve overall citizen mobility and connectivity to the greater greenway system including the proposed Perimeter Trail in Central Tampa via a bikeway along Kirby Street to the Lowry Park Zoo.
Tampa Walk-Bike Plan Phase V
Focus on a Central Trail Loop
A section of the Perimeter Trail planned in Sulphur Springs
The first four City of Tampa Walk-Bike Plans focused on identifying gaps and constructing sidewalks and bikeways in different areas of the city. Even small gaps can pose significant challenges to safely completing a walking or cycling trip. These plans are adding to a growing network of facilities and eliminating sidewalks that end abruptly and roadways that have no designation for cyclists sharing the lane. Now with Walk-Bike Phase V, the emphasis shifts away from roadways and focuses on the Green ARTery or Perimeter Trail. This plan offers a connected trail system from downtown Tampa, running east to Ybor City, north to the Hillsborough River, and west and south to the northern end of the Tampa Riverwalk. These areas are some of Tampa's most historic neighborhoods, contain beautiful parks, and are booming with up and coming shopping districts. The Perimeter Trail will provide an option to driving to these destinations and instead provides a healthy way to safely stroll, skate, or cycle around the urban core.

The full plan includes excellent illustrations and graphics of the various segments planned for the Perimeter Trail.
Making in-roads toward Invision

The MPO has wrapped up a study looking at options for reconfiguring the one-way pair of Florida Avenue and Tampa Street (which becomes Highland Avenue north of Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd). The idea to transform the roadways came from citizens in the midst of rehabilitating homes in the surrounding neighborhoods. They recognized that at times (what planners refer to as "off peak") the roads carry little traffic; the wide lanes allow cars to drive fast; the lack of bike lanes or complete sidewalks makes getting around unsafe, and without on-street parking the small lot sizes make it difficult for businesses to develop. Then with the completion of Invision Tampa and its identification of Florida/ Tampa/ Highland as important roads for connecting people by bus, bike, or walking from downtown to the north AND as locations for infill development, the MPO took on the challenge of studying what could be done. Working closely with city staff and the FDOT, as these are state roads, a number of alternatives were evaluated for how well they could meet the varied needs these roadways serve.

The most promising design removes one lane in each direction and repurposes that lane for multi-modal or community needs, such as a transit way, on-street parking, or separated bikeway. The study gives the FDOT and City of Tampa a great starting point for moving forward with a more in-depth study which will include engaging the neighborhoods for guidance. Please visit the MPO's webpage for this study to view presentations and the final report.
MPO Policy Committee puts focus on Vision Zero
Hillsborough County Vision Zero Logo 
Traffic deaths in Hillsborough County have averaged 167 per year over the last five years -- about 33 deaths per year more than other counties with comparable population. On June 28, the MPO Policy Committee began to tackle this issue with the first of four workshops to develop a Vision Zero plan. This roundtable discussion with community leaders featured . Read about the meeting highlights.

The next Vision Zero workshop will be held at the Policy Committee's September 27th meeting at 9:00 a.m. at the USF CONNECT building at 3802 Spectrum Blvd on the USF campus. The public is warmly invited to participate. Persons in need of special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or who require interpreter services (free of charge) should contact Michele Ogilvie at 813/273-3774 x317 at least 3 business days in advance. 
Coast to Coast Connector dream within reach!
Map of Gaps in the Coast to Coast Bike Trail
This map shows gaps in the Connector that need to be filled. 
Attention all cyclists! A dream trail is coming closer to reality. Deemed one of the longest bike trails in the country, the Coast to Coast Connector will skirt the northwest corner of Hillsborough County and connect to a system of on and off road trails unlike anything we've seen or ridden before. Along its way of connecting the west coast of Florida to the east coast, the trail will extend toward Hillsborough County through Brooker Creek Preserve and north to Pasco County.

In May crews broke ground on the Pinellas Trail near East Lake and Keystone Roads, taking the trail one step closer to completion to the west of us. With this momentum, the TMA Leadership Group and Chairs Coordinating Committee's priority trails:  the Southwest Coast Regional Trail will make for a convincing application for SunTrail grants. View slides of the Coast to Coast Connector plan and get ready to ride!  
Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Summer Summit
On July 21, 2016, a group of citizens, advocates, transportation professionals and members of allied organizations met at the John Hopkins All Children's Hospital Education and Conference Center in St. Petersburg for the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Summer Summit. Participants took part in an interactive session to reexamine the regional priorities identified  at the inaugural summit in December of 2015. Organized into groups by the Five E's - Education, Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Evaluation, each breakout session evaluated and made presentations on progress made on the priorities and goals for the coalition's future work. Read the coalition's mid-year Progress Report for 2016. 
Getting "TUFF" on Safety 

Tuff Bike Lane Safety Barrier As part of the MPO's quest to find new and innovative approaches to increasing the safety of our bicyclists and pedestrians, we continue to look at  new technologies and methods being used throughout the nation and the world to improve conditions and create a safer environment for everyone. For example New York City is experimenting with a new system to improve bike lane safety on their busy streets called Tuff Curb, a modular, durable, affordable vertical barrier to protect bike lanes. Read the entire story and explore dozens of other simple and ingenious ways to improve bike/ped safety.
Separate or integrate?       

The debate between integrating cycling in the roadway or dedicated separated bike facilities continues. As we celebrate major achievements in new and better treatments for on road bike lanes, the argument for more bikeways separated form vehicular traffic is making big waves around the world, nationally, and locally. A recent Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times makes the case for more dedicated lanes, citing that for many tentative cyclists, only a physical separation from moving automobiles can make them feel secure. Cities that have invested in protected bike lanes have seen a tripling in the number of bike trips made. You can read the Op-Ed here. Also visit our website to learn more about what the MPO is doing at the local level.
Free phone App helps improve safety 
A free phone app that tracks cyclists' and runners' patterns has been helping the Florida Department of Transportation to identify and improve facilities where non-motorists prefer to travel throughout the county. Coincidentally, two citizen activists and MPO School Transportation Working Group members, Jason Jackman and Matt Weaver are featured in a news story on this very topic. You can view the clip and read the article here.   
Build it and they will ride!
Bayshore Bike Lane
A new study by researchers at McGill University seems to back the common sense notion that building more and better bicycle infrastructure will encourage more people to commute by bike. Trends indicate cyclists prefer bike-ways that are not shared with motorists. To learn more read here.
On the lighter side
Most of us share a common childhood memory, riding our bikes, it was a right of passage. First learning to ride, maybe at an event similar to the MPO's annual Bike Safety Rodeo, again when you were finally allowed to leave your block. A recent piece on National Public Radio looks at an interesting trend, the sci-fi nostalgia of kids on bikes. It takes a fun look at how we frame bike riding in 20th century suburbs. It's an interesting take on Hollywood's treatment bikes and their symbol of personal freedom. Follow this link.    
In This Issue
Cities County Link
Walk BIke V
Florida Ave/Tampa St Study
Vision Zero
The Great Bike Debate
App for Safety
Movie Bikes