Dear Karen Palus, director of parks and recreation, city of Tampa:
It's come to my attention that several bicyclists have been told by security at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park that it is not legal to ride a bicycle in this park.
I am writing on behalf of SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), a consortium of nine Tampa Bay area bicycle stores representing thousands of bicyclists, to suggest to you that the city should ALLOW bicycle riding in Curtis Hixon Park. Unfortunately, the city government's reputatation for not being friendly, hospitable and accommodating to bicyclists as depicted in several national reports only gets worse when security tells people to stop riding a bicycle in this new big park.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is an important transition area from the city's riverwalk where people can ride a bicycle to the city's downtown and Ashley Street. The city of St. Petersburg has many waterfront parks that compare favorably to Curtis Hixon and it's a common sight to see bicyclists pedaling through the parks that border St. Petersburg's waterfront.
I hope the city of Tampa's government can take steps to change its unfortunate reputation as a city not friendly to bicyclists and allow bicycle riding in the park. I contacted your department via the TampaGov Customer Service Center regarding this issue, but never heard back.
I also recommend you add more bike racks to the park. On the park's opening day in January, I saw many bicycles locked to the riverwalk railing and also lying on the grass in the park. Bike racks are a good way of getting people to ride their bikes to the park and surrounding businesses while allowing bicyclists to lock their bikes in a secure area.
Director of SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers
A nationally-recognized consortium of 9 Tampa Bay-area retail bicycle stores committed to bicycle advocacy
Organizer of the Bicycle Bash festival, Florida's 2007 Bicycle Event of the Year