Thursday, December 2, 2010

SWFBUD Interviews Tampa Mayoral Candidate Bob Buckhorn

Tampa mayoral candidate Bob Buckhorn likes bicycling -- so much so that he spent spent more than an hour and half with SWFBUD discussing the importance of bicycling to the overall health and quality of life of a city.

-- Buckhorn said he is committed to turning around Tampa as a city that's not kind to bioyclists and his goal is to be on the cover of the League of American Bicyclists magazine as the mayor who turned Tampa from its bad reputation to the highest grade level, a platinum designation.

-- Buckhorn said he wants to "attract intellectual capital" to Tampa to create and staff the kind of jobs that make a city strong. To do so means making bicycling attractive by buildings trails, bike lanes and using markings on existing roads as part of the quality of life that would attract that intellectual capital.

-- He said the recent "(bicyclist) deaths have attracted attention, but it's been a systematic problem." He admitted Tampa "has not done a very good job" at making its city hospitable to bicyclists.

-- Buckhorn said the bicycle improvements in St. Petersburg are due to former Mayor Rick Baker's commitment to bicycling. Buckhorn said Baker recently told him that turning around St. Pete from an unfriendly bike city to a city with bike infrastructure was one of his highlights as mayor.

-- He said making the city more friendly to bicycling would attract more people to downtown and would create stronger economic impact. He said road engineers dictated the road designs in Tampa and that too many roads were built to get cars from point A to point B as fast as possible without including bicyclists in the mix.

-- Bicycling can make Tampa compete better with cities such as Denver, Portland, Phoenix, San Antonio, Raleigh, Bickhorn said. "We have an obligation to do it."

-- Buckhorn said he would use the mayor's office as a pulpit to advocate for bicycling in Tampa and use a TV PSA campaign to educate residents about the importance of bicycling and the importance that everyone knows that the roads are there to be used and shared by everyone -- drivers and bicyclists alike.

-- He would stress that bicycling is an inexpensive way to commute to jobs and would encourage if not require downtown buildings to have bicycle racks.

-- "Bicyclists make this a better place."

-- He said getting intellectual capital to Tampa is essential because "companies follow the labor pool."

-- Buckhown endorses all forms of bicycle inmprovements from shared road markings such as the "sharrows" on Euclid Ave. to an expanded regional bike trail system.

-- "It gets back to the road engineers who controlled the debate" about road design, Buckhown said.

-- Tampa needs a "fundamental paradigm shift."

-- Buckhown cited the mayor of Los Angeles who took an active role in trying to improve bicycling in that city.

-- Buckhorn said his younger brother was a big bicyclist in the Washington, DC area until a bike crash resulted in him shattering his elbow.

-- Buckhown said he bikes with two daughters on Davis Islands.

-- "I don't need to be a bicyclist to know the bottom line," he said. Buckhown said bicycling gets into other things that make a city strong and said "bicycling is a big part of land use plans."

1 comment:

Harry said...

I wish I lived in the City of Tampa so I could vote for this guy!