Transit eNews of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

and its Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board (TDCB)

Issue 21 | December 2016


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In this Issue

Upcoming Events

December Meetings 
Dec. 6 - MPO Board
Dec. 14 - CAC/TAC
Dec. 14 - BPAC/LRC

County Center
601 E Kennedy Blvd
Downtown Tampa 

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Stakeholder meetings on December 5th   

The Brandon Corridors & Mixed-Use Centers Study is a joint pilot project of the MPO and Planning Commission in partnership with Hillsborough County, HART, and FDOT. The purpose of the study is to better coordinate the envisioned land use pattern with planned transportation improvements along major corridors. Two stakeholder meetings open to the public will be held on Monday, December 5th as follows:

Business Focus Stakeholder Meeting
Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce
330 Pauls Drive, Brandon, FL 33511
3:00 - 5:00 pm

Brandon Regional Service Center
311 Pauls Drive, Suite 110, Brandon, FL 33511
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Become a transportation advisor!

Positions are currently open on our Citizens Advisory Committee (meets the 2nd Wednesday monthly @ 9a) representing the Port Authority, African-American Community, Business Community, and Neighborhoods. The Livable Roadways Committee (meets the 3rd Wednesday monthly @ 9a) has openings representing Neighborhoods and Transit Users.
Northwest County's bus service study 
Cover of the Northwest Transit Study Draft With the MPO's support for a consulting team, HART is taking another look at how to best serve the communities of Citrus Park, Northdale, Carrollwood Village, Westchase, and Town & Country.  It's a challenging proposition since homes often are not in walking distance of bus stops or destinations like stores, parks, and schools. And it isn't easy to cross big roads to get to and from a bus stop. After collecting comments and survey responses from residents, suggestions include:
  • Extend the limited-stop express route on the Veteran's Expressway up to SR 54, and make its access to the Park & Ride at Gunn Highway less circuitous
  • Extend Route 34 on Hillsborough Ave farther west to connect to PSTA's buses in Oldsmar
  • Improve frequency on the Waters Ave bus route, which connects many neighborhoods and shopping areas and runs hourly today
  • Add a new route to serve the Ehrlich-Bearss corridor
These ideas will be evaluated further by HART and MPO transit planners. Please forward your comments to Sarah McKinley. A draft of the report will be posted on-line in the next month.   
National peer exchange features Hillsborough's work   
Where do you get good information about the long-term implications of short-term decisions? This was a hot topic at the Federal Highway Administration's Scenario Planning Peer Exchange recent workshop in Norfolk, Virginia. Hillsborough MPO Executive Director Beth Alden was one of two guest speakers. Hillsborough's story: Imagine alternative scenarios, crunch the numbers, think out of the box about how to tell the story with pictures and graphics, and make it easy for citizens from all walks of life to give feedback. The Atlanta Regional Commission's story: Brainstorm a dozen "disruptive" trends - like climate change, automated vehicles, and ridehailing services - and engage people in a game that combines a few trends together for unexpected outcomes. The former is considered a normative scenario planning exercise, while the latter is exploratory.

More information on scenario planning tools, how you can use them in your community, or for technical help.
HART & Transdev launch HART HyperLINK!

Funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), HART HyperLINK was launched on November 14th. This first-in-the-nation transit-operated rideshare service gets you to and from your destination within a defined three mile radius from a designated HART Bus Stop. Features:
  • Shared rides to local bus stops
  • Low cost: only $3 each way
  • Available on IOS and Android
  • Pay with cash or credit
  • No smartphone? No problem! Book a ride by calling 813-298-0455 
Connection to HART system: ✓ Rideshare technology: ✓ ADA-accessible: ✓ Give #HARTHyperLINK a try. Your first 5 rides are FREE with code: hartlink-5free
New way to Cross the Bay
New Cross Bay Ferry The Cross Bay Ferry has begun running regular trips between downtown Tampa and Saint Petersburg. The 98-foot long ferry can carry a total of 149 people. With both interior and exterior seating you can load up your bicycles, strollers, even luggage, for the approximately 50-minute ride across the bay.

Whether commuting to work or recreating on weekends, or simply to avoid traffic jams on the bridges, this new mode of commuting across Tampa Bay is an exciting pilot project through April 2017. Tampa and Hillsborough County along with St. Petersburg and Pinellas County each paid about $350,000 to help underwrite the $1.4 million project.

If all this isn't exciting enough, Frontier Communications is sponsoring "Ride Free Day, Powered by Frontier, so passengers can ride free on Sundays including December 18, January 15, February 19, and April 16. Frontier also will be providing approximately $180,000 in television advertising on its Tampa Bay-area FiOS cable channels to promote and support the Cross Bay Ferry pilot project, and a host of restaurants and shops will be offering special discounts to ferry passengers, including free beer, free spa treatments and hotel room discounts.

This week, the Cross-Bay Ferry began regular, weekday service and launched a Commuter Value Pass program with 20 tickets for $100, which equates to $5 per ticket, compared to the regular $10 one-way ticket price. That purchase comes with free taxi rides home for those who miss the last ferry trip. For more information -- ticket costs, parking options, and more -- visit Cross Bay Ferry online. Visit TBARTAmyCOMMUTE for information on the Emergency Ride Home program and other commuter services to give you options and help you save money on your commute.

New route for HART's In-Towner
The In-Towner Trolley has a much more inclusive route to serve the downtown!  As of October 31st, weekdays now include the Channel District and Harbour Island. Saturdays are positioned as an event parking shuttle.

Check out the maps to find your closest stop.  Operated by HART and funded by the City of Tampa. The In-Towner remains a free service and comes every 12-15 minutes. Hours vary.    
FREE Downtowner rides daily!         
The New Downtowner Ride Sevice Vehicle 
The Tampa Downtown Partnership has launched the Downtowner! This FREE service is on-demand and point-to-point. Rides are requested through an app, or hailed on the street. In its first month, the Downtowner served nearly 13,000 riders, and its drivers have covered over 7,840 miles.

In total, 12 six-passenger street-legal electric low speed vehicles (traveling on roads 35 mph or less), and includes one handicap accessible vehicle
operate seven days a week within Downtown Tampa's business district, Channel District, River Arts District, the University of Tampa area, as well as the non-gated north end of Harbour Island.

Because the service is technology-based, it appeals to the millennials moving into the urban center and who are accustomed to real-time access. "The app provides an opportunity to monitor its use, allowing us to adjust service so that we can prepare for busy times," said Stephen Murray, Downtowner CEO and University of Tampa Alumni. "The goal is to keep wait times at 10 minutes or less."

The Downtowner is made possible through the generous support from both the public and private sector. The MPO prioritized a federal grant that assists with its funding. The City of Tampa's Downtown and Channel District Community Redevelopment Agency are key partners. Others include: FDOT, SPP/Lightning, Marriott Waterside, Hilton Tampa Downtown, Barrymore Riverwalk Hotel, Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown, Le Méridian Tampa, Park Tower, Bank of America Plaza, Tampa City Center, Franklin Exchange, Rivergate Tower, 100 N Tampa, Fifth Third Center, SunTrust Financial Center, and Two Harbour Place. Learn more. 
Uber partners with Lightning with new Uber lanes
Wheelchair dependent person using Uber The Tampa Bay Lightning have taking a step to aid fans coming and going from Amalie Arena. Uber lanes are now available outside the arena. The team has announced two exclusive Uber drop-off and pick-up lanes along Channelside Drive between Florida Avenue and Morgan Street. This is especially important to transportation disadvantaged who rely on public transit to get to all the exciting events at the arena and helps relieve parking and traffic congestion problems. Go Uber and Go BOLTS! 
HART to receive up to $1Million for driverless circulator service  
Driverless Cars
HART has teamed up with the FDOT to make getting around Downtown Tampa easier and safer. Up to $1 million will be available to fund an Autonomous Vehicle Circulator Service between Marion Transit Center to Downtown Tampa along the low speed, controlled access, Marion Street Transitway. This project would be one of the first of its kind in the U.S. using autonomous technology and has the potential to become a genuine problem solver.

With more typical bus service improvements underway, these autonomous vehicles can help solve those tricky first-mile, last-mile challenges to get transit riders even closer to the door of their destination.  
Critical Infrastructure Symposium Rescheduled
In an ironic turn of events, the originally-scheduled symposium was postponed due to inclement weather. The new date has been set for Wednesday, December 14, 2016 from 9am until 3pm. The symposium will focus on sharing information on the impacts of sea level rise, extreme precipitation and storm surge impacts, facilitating discussions regarding preparedness and resiliency. The event will be held at the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, Marshall Student Center. For more information, click here. 

Fresh food on-the-go is back!    
Fresh Famers Market at Local Transit Stop
The Farmer's market at netp@ark is open for business, and this time for an extra hour to make purchasing healthy, fresh, and local produce easier. Transit riders and the public can buy all the ingredients needed to make a healthy dinner as they make their way home from work or school.   

The link between transportation and health is most obvious in areas referred to as "food deserts" which are typically urban communities where it is difficult to buy affordable and good-quality fresh food. The netp@ark Farmer's Market provides an essential service to Hillsborough County residents' quality of life. The market at netp@ark is the result of a partnership effort between HART, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB), and Bio-Organics LLC to bring fresh food straight to the community. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, credit and debit cards. The farmers market is held the first Wednesday of every month, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
HART service changes    
Service changes will go into effect on Sunday, December 4, 2016. Highlights include the Route 96 Weekday In-Towner current routing will become permanent from detour implemented back on October 31 and Route 97 Saturday In-Towner will be operating every 30 minutes from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Some changes will also make schedules more reliable with adjustments designed to improve service while increasing the efficiency of the system. View new route schedules.
Voters support transit     
Voters supported public transportation as 69% of transit measures passed on November 8th. "Americans from every background agree that more public transportation is great for their community.  And with a passage rate of 69 percent, they show they are more than willing to pay for it," said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Chair Doran J. Barnes
Transportation's future could fly high!  
Uber plans self-flying drone taxis A recent article in The Telegraph by James Titcomb explains how our commutes may be high flying fun in the future.  If you summon an Uber in 10 years' time, you will probably get a car that drives itself. But then again, you may not be traveling in a car at all. The taxi-hailing app is working on technology that would allow airborne passenger drones to fly its users short distances around cities, it has emerged, raising the prospect of a future in which skylines are dotted with Uber aircraft shuttling commuters back and forth.

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