Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bicycling -- Transportation, not Just Recreation, In Tampa

Last Thursday, I attended a city meeting on behalf of SWFBUD to lobby for a bicycle street program in Tampa. The meeting was held by City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena and I'm passing along her memo:

Date: March 3, 2009

To: Chairman Scott & Members of City Council

From: Linda Saul-Sena, Council Member

Re: Bicycle Friendly Communities Special Discussion

I chaired the Special Discussion meeting about making Tampa a bicycle friendly city at 1:30pm on Thursday, February 26th which was attended by Mary Mulhern, Steve Daignault, Karla Price, Alan Snel, Gena Torres, Chip Thomas, Karen Kress, Kenneth Sturrock & Marty Shelby.

We discussed the shift of bicycling in Tampa from being a mode of recreation to a mode of transportation. The current status of bicycling as recreation was demonstrated by the role of a Parks & Recreation staff member as the spokesperson for the City’s bicycle plans, as compared to the Transportation Department staff taking the lead. The Committee requested that the Administration identify a Transportation Department staff member as the point person/advocate for bicycle planning/implementation in Tampa.

The discussion identified opportunities to improve the safety of bicycling by creating a safe network, citywide, for bicycle transportation. This plan would identify existing bicycle lanes and trails and needed connections. The plan could then be prioritized and budgeted as part of our Public Works budget over the next decade. Every road improvement, widening or resurfacing project should be viewed as an opportunity to improve bicycling opportunities. Council Member Mulhern said that she would act in her capacity as an MPO member to integrate bicycle facility improvements into MPO planning and funding recommendations.

Finally, the group suggested that the Administration identify City owned buildings, which could have bicycle racks and encourage private sector installation of bike racks as a tradeoff for parking spaces.


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