Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hit-and-run Driver Kills Bicyclist on Hillsborough Ave. Monday Night

A bicyclist was killed Monday night and the common denominator with this death and other recent bicyclist deaths was darkness. The death was at 7:30 pm and it was done at the hands of a driver who fled the scene in a hit-and-run.

Not many details here, as both the TBO and and Times stories are short reports with the same info.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Talking SWFBUD Before The Pinellas Bicycle Committee

This morning I had the lucky chance to appear before the Pinellas County Bicycle Advisory Committee to offer a presentation about SWFBUD and the type of work we have done in the past few years.

It was great to see some familiar faces such as Tom Ferraro, who chairs the Pinellas BAC; members such as Cheryl Stacks, who does a terrific job as St. Petersburg's city bike/ped coordinator and Chip Haynes of Clearwater, who designed the fliers for SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash when we held it in St. Pete. It was also nice to see Tim Bustos and Becky Afonso of the Florida Bicycle Association (Tim, FBA's executive director, also gave a presentation). Scott Jessup of Chainwheel Drive and Glen Gullickson of Bicycle Outfitters were also in the house.

As a member of the Tampa-Hillsborough Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, I can appreciate the passion and commitment to bicycling showed by the Pinellas folks. St. Pete and Pinellas are ahead of Tampa and Hillsborough in regard to bicycle infrastructure, so my SWFBUD work has focused more on the Tampa side of the Bay.

I briefly offered an overview of SWFBUD's work:

-- Organizing the annual Bicycle Bash festival:
Take a look at a past Bash.

-- Organizing the SWFBUD Swap Meet.

-- Prompting Hillsborough County to initiate the Bicycle Safety Action Plan in response to bicyclist deaths in Tampa Bay.

--Writing a PSA and partnering with Hillsborough County on bike safety:

Check the video.

--Prompting the local MPO to look at SWFBUD BAM Network (Bicycle Area Mobility):

Read the BAM story in Creative Loafing.

--And working to create a host of other local bike infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes, sharrows and improved intersections.

There's more to come.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

SWFBUD To Hillsborough County: Build The Connector Trail To Link The Upper Tampa Bay Trail With The Suncoast Trail

SWFBUD joined a bunch of other bicyclists tonight in north Hillsborough County for an update on a segment of the trail that will connect the Suncoast Trail with the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. The county wanted to get comments from the masses last night and SWFBUD offers these two words:

Build it.

For those who would like a rundown on this particular trail project, I offer you this very official-sounding description:


-- Section “C” is the northern most section of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

-- TRAIL DATA: Paved, 12 Feet Wide
4.35 Total Miles
2,475 Feet of Boardwalk

-- CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE: Start: September 2012

-- Substantial Completion: November 2013

-- PROPOSED CONSTR. FUNDING: Existing in CIP 80222 – $791,800
Transfer from CIP 89002 - $1,200,000
Existing from SWFWMD - $630,000
(To be used in the Preserve Only)
Unsecured FDOT LAP Funding - $1,500,000

SWFBUD Supports Connecting Suncoast and Upper Tampa Bay Trails

Dear County Commissioners,

SWFBUD will be attending a Hillsborough County information meeting tonight regarding the proposed trail to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail. For nearly the past five years, SWFBUD has advised the Hillsborough County Commission to move forward with connecting these two regional trails and the connector trail is a top priority in the MPO bike trail plans.

I am speaking on behalf of the thousands of bicyclists represented by SWFBUD's retail bicycle shops in advising you to please connect these two trails. For years, this has been discussed and the connection of the two trails is a long time coming.

I hope you can attend tonight's meeting on the status of the connector trail that would link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.


Alan Snel
Director of SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Attend Tuesday Meeting on US 301 Improvements (Which Include Bike Lanes)

The local Florida DOT office is holding a public information meeting on proposed improvements to US 301/State Road 41 on Tuesday from 5 pm to 7 pm at the FDOT District 7 office at 11201 N. McKinley Drive in Tampa -- just south of the USF campus.

The proposed improvements are from south of the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail to north of Fowler Avenue.

For bicyclists, you should know that the proposal includes widening 301 from 2 lanes to 4 lanes, with sidewalks and bicycle facilities (which I guess means bike lanes).

Please attend and advise the DOT how important it is to have safe bike lanes on roads whenever they are improved.

SWFBUD Supports Hillsborough County Building Connector Trail to Link Upper Tampa Bay Trail with Suncoast Trail

There's a Hillsborough County meeting Thursday to get comments from the public about the connector trail that would link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.

SWFBUD has for years lobbied Hillsborough County commissioners to connect the two trails.

Please attend this meeting to voice your support for this connection.

Here's the info: UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL PHASE IV “C” CIP# 80222
Public Awareness Meeting February 23, 2012
Martinez Middle School, 5601 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road

Section “C” is the northern most section of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

It will begin at Van Dyke Road and the old railroad corridor that is now owned by Tampa Bay Water.

The trail will proceed north to a point across from Wayne Road and Gunn Highway intersection; turn east proceeding along trail right of way accessing the Brooker Creek Headwaters Preserve.

The trail will meander north along the western limits of the preserve to a trailhead along Lutz Lake Fern Road approximately one half mile east of Still Wood Drive.

From here, the trail will continue east along the south side of Lutz Lake Fern Road via trail right of way to a signalized crossing to the north side.

The alignment from here meanders along trail right of way until it connects to the Suncoast Trail at the Suncoast Expressway.

TRAIL DATA: Paved, 12 Feet Wide
4.35 Total Miles
2,475 Feet of Boardwalk

TRAIL USE: Multi-use (Hikers, Joggers, Skaters, Cyclist), Daylight hours or as posted, No Equestrian Use, No bikes off the paved trail in the Preserve

TRAILHEAD: Replaces existing parking facility at the Suncoast Expressway
53 Parking Spaces (Increased parking by 28 spaces)
Permanent Restrooms
24’x24’Picnic Shelter
Other Amenities


CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE: Start: September 2012
Substantial Completion: November 2013

PROPOSED CONSTR. FUNDING: Existing in CIP 80222 – $791,800
Transfer from CIP 89002 - $1,200,000
Existing from SWFWMD - $630,000
(To be used in the Preserve Only)
Unsecured FDOT LAP Funding - $1,500,000
(To be used along LLF Rd. Only)



SWFBUD Store Velo Champ Broken Into During Monday Night

SWFBUD was saddened to hear that SWFBUD bike shop Velo Champ in Seminole Heights was broken into on Monday night. Here is the post on Velo Champ's Facebook page:

"To our customers, neighbors and the bay area cycling community. Our shop was broken into last night (Monday) at 9:00pm. A storefront window was broken out and a Cinelli cyclocross bike was stolen and later recovered.

"Thanks to a neighbor, who while jogging, witnessed the break-in and called 911 following the prompt notification to TPD by our alarm company.

"Any information regarding the incident will be appreciated. We are thankful that we have such careful neighbors, and hope with fingerprints and a witness, that we can catch this person.

Support Your Local."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SWFBUD Swap Meet Draws Nice Crowd To Taco Bus St. Pete

SWFBUD partnered with the Taco Bus in St. Petersburg to have a terrific swap meet, even with the breezy gusts and the occasional light rain.

I spoke with many folks about the BAM Network -- Bicycle Area Mobility system to tie the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail, the South Coast Greenway and the Selmon Greenway into a unified highway system for bicyclists. SWFBUD bike shops also enjoyed meeting customers.

Thank you Taco Bus!

Brian shares his bicycle expertise with a swap meet attendee

Clayton had a good time selling from the back of his Yaris.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SWFBUD Swap Meet -- Feb 19, 11 am to 3 pm at Taco Bus St. Petersburg

Just a reminder -- the SWFBUD Swap Meet is Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm at the Taco Bus St. Pete at 2324 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

SWFBUD stores will be selling great gear, closeouts, clothing and used bikes -- and individuals can sell too for only $10.

We have the Chocolate Mushroom Gravy Band playing live music and the Taco Bus will be serving its great food.

SWFBUD will also be selling BAM T-shirts at the swap meet. Please support the BAM.

alansnel@yahoo.com for more info or questions.

SWFBUD Mourns The Death Of A Bicyclist Killed Monday In Hillsborough County

SWFBUD mourns the loss of another bicyclist killed on the roads of Hillsborough County/Tampa Bay area.

This time in the middle of the afternoon at 2:04 PM Monday an 18-year-old woman was killed.

She was crossing US 41 when struck by a Chrysler PT Cruiser. It was one year to the day that Dr. Robert Niedbalec was killed on Fletcher Avenue in Temple Terrace on Feb. 13, 2011.

Monday, February 13, 2012

SWFBUD Remembers Bicyclist Robert Niedbalec 1 Year After His Death

One year ago today, two motorists racing down Fletcher Avenue and driving erractically between 42nd Street and I-75 outside Tampa led to the death of veterinarian Robert Niedbalec of Temple Terrace who was killed while riding his bicycle in the bike lane by one of the drivers.

SWFBUD thanks the hard work of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which arrested the drivers a few months ago.

Here is the HCSO press release on the arrest of the drivers in connection with Robert's death.

Daniel M., who lived in the area, installed the ghost bike in Robert's memory.

RIP Robert.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

City of Tampa, Take That "Bike Lane Ends" Sign Down!

SWFBUD asked the city of Tampa for years to improve Bayshore Blvd -- and recently the city extended a former bike lane that ended a mile and a half from downtown.

That meant the "Bike Lane Ends" sign could be toppled and removed.

And it was this afternoon as city staffers removed the sign that was no longer needed.

On my left is Sally Thompson, Jean Duncan, Jim Shirk and Beth Alden.

A Tampa public works employee prepares to remove sign.

A bicyclist came by and enjoys the new bike lane on Bayshore.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SWFBUD Asks You To Voice Your Support For Upper Tampa Bay-Suncoast Connector Trail

Please tell Hillsborough County to build the connection trail between the Suncoast Trail and the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

There will be a meeting for UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL PHASE IV "C" at the Martinez Middle School at 5601 W. Lutz Lake Fern Rd., Lutz, Fl 33558 on Thursday Feb. 23 at
6:30 p.m. to voice your support.

The contact is Richard Sanders at 813-307-1840

Details Of Project:

Construction Plans complete for trail from Van Dyke Road through the Preserve along Lutz Lake Fern to the Suncoast Trail at Suncoast Expressway. Some remaining funding issues to build all. Expected to build some portion now maybe all if FDOT LAP funds become available. Scheduled for September Construction NTP.

Project will provide 4.3 additional miles of a paved recreational trail through a protected preserve offering the experience most never get a chance to see up close.

SWFBUD Says Thanks To Tampa For New Bike Lane and Removing Bike Lane Ends Sign

Come and witness a fun moment when the Tampa public works department removes a "Bike Lane Ends" sign tomorrow at 1 PM on Bayshore. SWFBUD has asked the city foryears to improve Bayshore for bicyclists and the city extended the bike lane on Bayshore as part of its Bayshore improvement project and can now remove the bike lane ends sign.

I'll be meeting the public works guys at 1 PM Wednesday for the fun moment and for some photos.

Friday, February 3, 2012

SWFBUD Thanks Michael Ploch For BAM T-Shirts

Michael Ploch shares his enthusiasm and support for cycling by backing SWFBUD and SWFBUD's BAM Network plan. Here's a T-shirt designed by Michael to support the BAM -- Bicycle Area Mobility -- in Hillsborough County. The T-shirt shows the BAM map designed by HOK architect Nico Stearley.

Please contact alansnel@yahoo.com if you want a T-shirt. They're $10 each.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thank You Rep. Janet Cruz of Tampa For Supporting Bicycling and The BAM Network

My Fellow Members of the Hillsborough Legislative Delegation:

I am writing to express my support for the expansion of the “BAM Network” for Bicycle Area Mobility. Aside from the inherent road safety benefits, the BAM Network promises to provide significant benefits in health, the economy and jobs, and tourism.

Attached is information about BAM and contact information for the director, Alan Snel of the South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD) organization. Also attached is a letter of support.

I urge you all to write a letter of support for the BAM network so that our local government can see that the State is in support of this initiative. Alan is collecting letters from each Representative and Senator to submit in a packet to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, The Hillsborough County Commissioners, The Tampa City Councilmembers and the local MPO.

Janet Cruz

Here is Janet's letter of support:

January 11, 2012

Alan Snel, Director
South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers


I am writing to express my support for the expansion of the “BAM Network” for Bicycle Area Mobility. The construction of the three multi-use trails in this project will tremendously improve Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa. The project will add 30 miles of safe, paved trails, creating an integrated and cohesive network for riders, and more effective transportation for all. Aside from the inherent road safety benefits, the BAM Network promises to provide significant benefits in health, the economy and jobs, and tourism.

Studies have shown large correlations among the amount of developed bicycle, and pedestrian trails in a city, and better health, higher rates of creativity, and more job opportunities and successful small businesses. Expanding the trails will also promote exploration and appreciation of our local gems of culture, heritage, and history by tourists and residents alike. I believe that the BAM Network will holistically improve our community and will contribute to a higher quality of life for all of us who call Tampa Bay home. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree that the BAM Network has the potential to help reenergize our city. I hope you will stand up with me for the BAM Network and Tampa Bay as we move our community forward.


Janet Cruz
Florida State Representative, District 58

CC: The Honorable Bob Buckhorn, Mayor
Tampa City Council
Hillsborough County Commission
Hllsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization