Thursday, March 26, 2009

SWFBUD Backs Bike Lanes on Tyler and Cass streets in Tampa

This morning I contacted Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Public Works Director Lee Irvin to throw SWFBUD's support behind bike lanes on Tyler and Cass streets in Tampa.

Dear Mayor Iorio and Mr. Lee,

This morning I had the opportunity to attend a city staff transportation meeting regarding a proposal by the Tampa Downtown Partnership to stripe bike lanes on Cass and Tyler streets as part of the UCAP utility work along those two streets. I was invited by Karen Kress of the Tampa Downtown Partnership to the meeting and I want to go on record that on behalf of SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), I strongly support this bike lane idea that was outlined by Ms. Kress and Tampa Downtown Partnership consultant Michael Moule. It makes perfect sense. The roads are on the city's bike lane plan and the UCAP project offers the perfect opportunity to stripe bike lanes during the road work following the utility work. It also is consistent with the mayor's goal of making Tampa a green city and Mr. Lee's efforts to stripe bike lanes when new street work is done.

In fact, SWFBUD encourages the city of Tampa to look at its UCAP map and stripe bike lanes on roads in the city that are re-paved as a result of the utility improvements. That would be consistent with the objectives outlined in the Bicycle Component of the city's Comprehensive Plan and make Tampa a safer place to ride bicycles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Talking Bicycling On The Daytime TV Show

This morning, I appeared with Brian Eckman, owner of SWFBUD member bike shop Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, on the nationally-syndicated Daytime TV show on WFLA, Channel 8. Brian chatted about the latest in bicycle gear and I talked with Daytime hosts Dave and Cyndi about bike commuting.

Dave and Cyndi brought in their own bikes and pedaled into the studios to start the show. They were easy to chat with.

Brian chatted with hosts Dave and Cyndi about bike gear.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tampa Says No To Bikers At Skate Park In New Tampa

Mike, an employee at Oliver's Cycle Sports, and Chad at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium told me the city of Tampa is excluding BMX bicycles at a new Skate Park in New Tampa. I looked into the matter on behalf of SWFBUD and this is what a city of Tampa official had to say:

Dear Mr. Snel,

The message you sent to the City’s Messaging System has been forwarded to my attention. The idea of a Skate Park in New Tampa originated from parents of local skateboarders. As the initial conceptual plans were being developed it was considered to have skateboarders and BMX bikes utilize the skatepark. As we moved forward with our analysis, several issues affected our ultimate decision to not allow BMX bikes at this particular facility. They included increased construction costs to protect every edge with oversized rails, the types of damage bikes and their pegs cause, safety issues, maintenance issues, and decreased ability to provide adequate staff to allow both kinds of users. The decision was presented and discussed at a series of public meetings while we were developing the final design of the skatepark and transitioning from conceptual plans to construction documents.

The timing of the design of the skate park was at a time when prices were soaring. Hitting a budget was a difficult task. Seeing and realizing the amount of damage BMX bikes cause coupled with the associative costs of attempting to fortify the park we realized we could not afford to build a park to withstand bike use. We also realized high maintenance costs would be associated with properly repairing the concrete where pegs literally explode and crater the concrete, along with other documented, typical bike damage.

Another huge factor were the safety concerns of biker-skateboarder collisions. The speed and mass of the biker far outweigh that of a skateboarder. Arguments can be made about different sessions to avoid this, but even if we were able to pay for the construction and repairs, we do not have the money for additional staff to constantly manage Skatepark sessions. The decrease in available operating funding over the past few years has affected how the Parks and Recreation Department can construct and operate facilities.

Our Department has two other sites where skateboarding and bike use are permitted. One is the DeSoto Park Skatepark and the other is located at Perry Harvey Sr. Park. DeSoto has appropriate pre-fab ramps and half-pipes constructed to withstand bikes. Perry Harvey has gentle rounded edges where pegs are not utilized to grind along them. Perry Harvey is open during daylight hours. The DeSoto Skatepark has particular hours of operation. Please contact them at

Please contact me should you have any other questions.
Brad Suder
Planning, Design, and Natural Resources
Parks and Recreation Department
City of Tampa
(813) 231-1336

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.


Two More Retail Bicycle Stores Join SWFBUD

SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) is proud to announce that two more retail bicycle stores are joining SWFBUD.

They are:

The Trek Bicycle Store. Tampa Bay -- Clearwater

Just Ride Bicycles in Fish Hawk Ranch.

They join: Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Oliver's Cycle Sports, Chainwheel Drive, Revolution Bicycles, Bicycle Outfitters, University Bicycle Center, Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, and Tampa lawyer Thomas Singletary as SWFBUD members.

SWFBUD lobbies for improved bicycle conditions in the Tampa Bay region and puts on the Bicycle Bash by the Bay. SWFBUD is open to all businesses and individuals. Contact Alan Snel if you want to join SWFBUD at