Issue: 25             

May 2017    

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

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


May is National Bike Month!

National Bike Month Image

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling - and encourage more folks to giving biking a try. 
Vision Zero Workshops take to the streets

Members of the Vison Zero Colalition meet to survey Conditions near Hillsborough Ave. and Hanley Rd. in Town & Country
With Plant City's Commission action in March, all four local governments, and the school board, have approved a vision of ZERO fatalities on our roadways. This year, the MPO is drafting an Action Plan of immediate next steps.

At the second Vision Zero public workshop  held in January, the MPO's Policy Committee members walked side by side with other Vision Zero Coalition members as the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office led the group on a safety audit of Hanley Road and Hillsborough Avenue, pointing out traffic hazards and behaviors of road users. The exercise highlighted law enforcement strategies being considered by the "Consistent and Fair" action track team. The Times reported: "They stood on the sidewalk of the busy intersection, their fluorescent vests and clipboards catching the attention of passing drivers. The group, composed of a dozen or so transportation planners, engineers, politicians and law enforcement, scanned the roadway looking for any way to make it safer for those who walk or ride a bike."

Mayor Linbauch of Temple Terrace participates in Vison Zero workshop 3, painting a temporary expanded bike lane on the Bullard Parkway Bridge
Mayor Leinbach of Temple Terrace participates in Vision Zero workshop #3, painting a temporary green bike lane on the Bullard Parkway Bridge
Workshop 3 was held April 25, and included a demonstration of the "Paint Saves Lives" action track. The Coalition members and others from the community used bright green paint to widen and paint the bike lane bridge over the river on Bullard Parkway. The paint was temporary, but the City of Temple Terrace has the idea under consideration  to call attention to where motorists and cyclists are sharing the road.

For more information about Vision Zero Hillsborough, visit the website and facebook page.

Sidewalk gaps filled, thanks to TDCB

Missing sidewalks sement on the north side of Busch Blvd east of Florida ave
Missing sidewalk along heavily traveled Busch Blvd

It seemed like a crazy idea at the time - send out members of the MPO's Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board (TDCB) with white canes and wheelchairs to visit one of the busiest roadways in the county - Busch Boulevard. But their feedback on the challenges they faced traveling along and crossing the road is resulting in new sidewalk construction between Florida Avenue and Nebraska Avenue, near a social service center and well-used bus stops. Thanks to FDOT, expect to see new sidewalks where the dirt pathways are by November 2017! 
MPO School Transportation Working Group featured on National Panel

National non-profit Bellwether Education Partners hosted a panel on May 2 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the current state of school transportation from multiple perspectives, including the unique challenges for urban districts, rural districts and communities with a high degree of school choice. School Board Chair and MPO member Cindy Stuart was asked to speak about the interagency collaboration and problem-solving of the Hillsborough MPO School Transportation Working Group (STWG). Hillsborough County Public Schools has been identified as the only school district nationwide who is represented and is a voting member on their local MPO.

Miles to GoBellwether Partners released a new report, Miles to Go: Bringing School Transportation into the 21st Century, on the same day, announcing:

School districts struggle to provide efficient service in the face of escalating costs and increasingly complex education systems where more and more students attend schools outside their neighborhoods. Stagnant state funding streams force districts either to sacrifice service quality and forego system upgrades or divert funds from other purposes. Federal and state regulations concerning student safety and special student populations' educational rights are at odds with strategies to improve efficiency. All those competing priorities must be carefully balanced.
Sidewalk Stompers empower community

Cindy Stewart with Hilssborough County Schools visits with communkyt member at Rosevelt Elementary in Plan Ceia
Sidewalk Stompers making Walk to School Wednesday a routine at Roosevelt Elementary School

When the MPO's school transportation working group (STWG) heard of a parent-led walking school bus called Palma Ceia Sidewalks Stompers they knew they needed to learn more. A handful of parents from Roosevelt Elementary were frustrated with hazards their children faced on daily walks to school. In response, Sidewalk Stompers was born where parent volunteers round up students and walk as a group to school...forming a walking school bus. Co-founder, Emily Hindsdale got things started with "Walk to School Wednesdays."  The event has created an exciting buzz with students carrying handmade signs and rewards and prizes being donated to the walkers.

The STWG had to see the event firsthand and took a field trip to join a Walk to School Wednesday. The experience was a lesson in seeing the unsafe traffic conditions and lack of sidewalks students face. School Board and STWG chair, Cindy Stuart added, "I am excited to see a school taking action to map safe walking routes for students. Educating students and parents on walking safely is a healthy way to start the school day." 
View the field trop video.

In a related story on ABC Action News involving school safety, the Palma Ceia Sidewalk Stompers were featured along with State Representative Jackeline Toledo about new legislation to address safety issues facing our communities.
Plant City Ride with the Mayor & more

2017 Plant City Bike to Work with the Mayor

Plant City takes cycling seriously. On a chilly Wednesday morning, Mayor Rick Lott led a group of bike enthusiasts on a 3-mile ride through beautiful downtown Plant City as part of Florida Bike Month celebrations.

The MPO is supporting Plant City with a Walk/Bike Plan.This draft plan is a way to fill in pedestrian and bicycle network gaps and prioritize projects to move them from an idea to construction. Many great ideas and needs were identified by residents at a February 2 open house at Bruton Library, including:
  • Lack of sidewalks and sidewalk connectivity 
  • Need to connect north Plant City to downtown
  • Difficult to find places to run

Comment or questions? Contact Wade Reynolds at 813/273-3774 x361.   

Bridging the gaps

Dale Mabry Pedestrian Overpass Feasibility Analysis 
I-275 overpass at Dale Mabry Hwy.
The lack of a trail crossing over Dale Mabry Highway may be the most critical missing link in the Gulf Coast Trail. The MPO is hoping to identify the solution to fill this gap by funding a study to evaluate options for a pedestrian overpass across Dale Mabry Highway near I-275. And there's good news! Preliminary results show there's room for a trail bridge on the south side next to a pond. The study also includes taking a look at the parallel Spruce Street, from Dale Mabry to Rome Avenue, for a ground level connection between the adjacent neighborhoods. To learn more, view the analysis presentation or the draft study

Once a safe trail crossing is constructed over Dale Mabry Highway, a connection from Pinellas to Downtown Tampa starts to fall into place. With the investment FDOT has made in the Courtney Campbell Trail, adding a trail along the south side of I-275, and the City's dedication to completing the Riverwalk and "Green Spine," a person can soon meander across much of Tampa Bay on a trail network. Read more in the Greenways and Trails Master Plan Update (2016). 
New phases funded for Tampa's "Green Spine"

Tampa's Green Spine urban trail/cycle track along Cass Street, Nuccio Parkway, and 15th Street will allow folks access to the Hillsborough River from the surrounding communities of Hyde Park, Tampa Heights, and VM Ybor. Plans include connecting to the Selmon Greenway. The project was conceptualized as part of the InVision Tampa Center City Plan to provide better pedestrian and bicycle access. A major portion already exists in downtown on Cass Street to Nebraska  Avenue. The total length of the project will be approximately 3.4 miles.The next phase, funded by Tampa Transportation & Stormwater, will be a westward extension across the river to Willow Avenue. And there's even better news! Grant funding prioritized by the MPO will be made available for the next phase, likely to be an Ybor Connection.

As the green spine connects both sides of the river through and around downtown, a connecting trail called the Green ARTery connects Tampa's historic neighborhoods north of downtown and Ybor City. The connections being made are more than trails. they are a way to connect and unite these communities and to celebrate. Green ARTery Partnership will be holding an Evening of Fun with Dinner, Games and Dance for our twenty Green ARTery neighborhood representatives and community partners, on Friday, May 23, at Tampa Heights Community/Civic Center, 2005 N. Lamar Avenue from 7:00 to 11:00 pm.
Tampa's most beautiful boulevard to be safer 
Bayshore Construction
Bayshore Boulevard has long been considered one of Tampa's greatest assets - with sprawling mansions, breezes off Tampa Bay, the longest continuous sidewalk, and the best views of the downtown skyline. It has also been home to some serious crashes between cars, runners, cyclists, and dog walkers. That is why the City is shining this gem even brighter with a continuing transformation with safety improvements that:

  • Remove faded striping and install new striping
  • Reduce travel lane widths to 10 foot.
  • Add a 2-foot buffer to the existing bike lane
  • Install rapid reflective flashing beacon crosswalks at three locations
  • Reduce the posted speed limit from 40 MPH to 35 MPH
Trails Foundation Director addresses County Commission

W. Dale Allen, Executive Director, Florida Grenway's and Trails Foundation
Dale Allen, executive director of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, was invited to speak to the Hillsborough County Commission about the importance of creating new trails in Hillsborough, to "close the gaps" and link to networks crisscrossing Florida as part of the new SUNtrail program.

"Because right now, Florida leads the nation in traffic fatalities for bicyclists. It's a terrible statistic and we now have in place a program that I think could substantially change that. This started with the development of the first cross-state trail from coast to coast. I'm pleased to say that all seven gaps that link the 14 existing (segments of the Coast to Coast trail) are under development right now. Over $75 million is being invested by the state of Florida". said Mr. Allen.

Commissioner Pat Kemp proposed taking a special look at trails and the rest of the commission agreed, asking staff to
identify priorities for new hiking and biking trail projects in the unincorporated county. 
May meetings you may not want to miss!

May 17 2017 meeting  
Pedestrian deaths climb across country,

especially in Florida

Families use the new signaled crosswalk at E. Hillsborough Ave. and Meridian Apartments
Florida is contributing to a grim national picture: Pedestrian fatalities have jumped 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to the study. Yet total traffic deaths increased by 6 percent over the same time period. When the final numbers are tabulated, the report said 2016 could be the first year in more than two decades where more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed across the country. Read the full story at, or read the full Governors Highway Safety Association Report here. 
Plan Hillsborough commuter challenge

Recently, the combined staff of the Planning Commission, MPO, and Hillsborough River Board took on the challenge to use alternative transportation modes to commute to work. The competition got serious with most of the staff participating in one or more alternatives to driving alone. Many went the extra mile by riding the bus, walking, biking or a combination of all these for the first time. One live tweet read, "ALERT! This @PlnHillsborough #CCW stuff can be habit forming! #walking #bicyling #bus #streetcar Commute with big #smiles and great views!", Congratulations to all of the commuters. View more tweets at: @PlnHillsborough @HillsCoPlanCom @HillsboroughMPO.

Fun fact:  commuting to work by bicycle grew more than 60 percent nationwide from 2005 to 2014, pushing the total number of riders to nearly a million, according to data from the Census' American Community Survey. In Florida, the increase was even higher, at 70 percent, ranking the state No. 16 in growth nationwide. Read More.   
In This Issue
National Bike Month
VISON ZERO Takes to the Street!
TDCB helps fill gaps!
STWG on national panel
Sidewalk Stompers
Plant City RIdes
Bridging the Gaps
Green Spine Growing
Bayshore Traffic Calming
Trails Priorities
May feature meetings!
Pedestrian Deaths Climb
Commuter Challenge success! | 601 E Kennedy Boulevard, 18th floor | Tampa | FL | 33602