Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Largo Police Cars Get Share the Road Stickers

Remember J. Steele Olmstead, a SWFBUD member lawyer who donated $2,000 to Tampa Police to place Share the Road Give 3 feet decals for Tampa police cruiser rear windows?

Well, Largo Police are joining the Share the Road sticker crowd.


At 9:30 am Wednesday, the Largo Police Department's Traffic Safety Team will advertise their support and enforcement of Florida Statutes designed to increase bicycle safety on the roadways. On Wednesday, "Share the Road, it's the Law" stickers will be placed on the rear window of every police cruiser to support awareness that motor vehicle operators should understand the laws as they pertain to the right of way of bicyclists.

The sticker displays a car and bicycle with an arrow between the two. The arrow indicates that 3 feet should be maintained between the motor vehicle and bicyclists. The awareness program was sponsored by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. embers of the media are invited to attend the program initiation at 9:30 am on Wednesday.

SWFBUD Celebrates Moving The Bicycle Bash Into Downtown Tampa Nov 4

Friday, July 27, 2012

SWFBUD Welcomes Signs In Temple Terrace

Way to go city of Temple Terrrace. Love the "May Use Full Lane" sign -- and the Share the Road sign -- that popped up on 56th Street near Fowler Avenue. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tampa Ranks NINTH In Its Bike-Commuting Rate

Tampa is one of the most fascinating bicycle towns in the U.S. Tampa gets hammered for its non-friendly bicycle streets, yet the city ranked NINTH in the country in its bike commuting rate in 2010 out of the 70 biggest cities.

That according to the League of American Bicyclists and Darren Flusche, the League's master stats guy who analyed the 2010 census data.

There's more. Check out this amazing stat: Tampa's increase in bike-commuting in 2010 from 2009 soared by a whopping 121 percent.

Here's the Top 10 bike-commuting cities (out of the 70 biggest cities in the country) for 2010:

1. Portland 5.8 percent of commuters use a bicycle
2. Seattle 3.6
3. SF 3.5
4. Minneapolis 3.5
5. Washington, DC 3.1
6. Tucson, Ariz. 3.0
7. Sacramento 2.5
8. Denver 2.2
9. TAMPA 1.9
10. Philly 1.8

Tampa's place as a TOP 10 bike-commuting city is stunning when you realize the League did not award the city a "bicycle friendly community" award like it did the other nine in the Top 10.

Tampa's bike-commuting rate is higher than noted bicycle towns such as Austin, Tex. and Chicago.

Portland is a Platinum winner, Seattle, SF and Minneapolis are Gold winners. Wash DC got silver, Tucson got gold and Sacramento got silver. Denver got bronze.

Tampa? Zippo, even though Tampa had a higher bike-commuting rate than noted bicycle towns such as Austin, Tex. and Chicago.

Hard to blame the League for not recognizing Tampa as a bike-friendly town when ex-Mayor Pam Iorio actually removed a planned bike lane from a local city street.

But Tampa is improving and I applaud terrific road improvements for bicyclists on 40th Street, Nebraska Avenue, Noth Boulevard and sharrows and more bike lanes showing up on local streets like Swann Avenue.

The bad news is that Tampa also got left out in the cold in Bicycling Magazine's Top 50 bike towns. Orlando was 34, New Orleans was 43, Orlando was 49 and Tulsa, OK came in at 50. Tampa was shut out.

SWFBUD is trying to help. We are moving the Bicycle Bash Festival into downtown Tampa on NOV 4. Come to a Bash Announcement Party next Tuesday on July 31 at 7 PM at Velo Champ bike shop when we talk about the move to downtown Tampa and have local elected leaders and agency officials on hand.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

North Hillsborough Landowner Tries To Change Upper Tampa Bay Trail Connector Trail On Public Land

For years, Hillsborough County has been planning to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail and the Suncoast Trail. One section of this connector trail runs through the swiftmud water district land. But an eye doctor with Ironman ties -- Dr. Gills -- is pressuring county commissioners to get staff to move the trail inside the water district lands because he said the trail is too close to his property in north Hillsborough County.
SWFBUD feels strongly that the county commissioners need to advise Dr. Gills that this project has been in the works for year and that it's inappropriate to change the trail alignment now. Plus, it would means thousands of dollars of more costs -- or possibly even losing funding -- and changing the trail route in the water district land would mean it would delay the project by a year or two.

PLEASE WRITE YOUR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS and use this sample letter as your guide.
Dear County Commissioners,

It has come to my attention that a private landowner in north Hillsborough County who is an eye doctor and has connections to the Ironman event, Dr. Gills, has contacted you regarding the alignment of the connector trail on public Swiftmud water district land that is part of the project to link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail. This connector trail project has been in the works for many years and is ranked as the top regional trail priority.

I have been informed that this property owner is seeking to influence Hillsborough County -- just months away from starting connector trail construction and after years of planning -- to change the alignment of the trail inside the water district lands owned by the public. I understand he has met with some of you with his lawyer.

SWFBUD and the thousands of bicyclists in Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay that we represent through our bike shops are asking you to please respectfully inform this landowner that it is inappropriate to alter the route of this trail in a public right-of-way on public land at the eleventh hour.

I understand that any change to the route of the trail in the Swiftmud land would cost tens of thousands of dollars in new expenses for the public and potentially even jeopardize funding, Plus, changing the trail route through the public water district land in this late hour would delay the project by a year or two.

Please inform this landowner that public amenities such as trails INCREASE property values of neighboring properties, will be a major benefit for the public that you serve and that Hillsborough County needs to proceed with this particular trail section on public water district lands as soon as possible.


Alan Snel
SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Building A Highway For Bicyclists

SWFBUD has been urging our local governments to build a "highway" system for bicyclists in Tampa Bay.

It's what our BAM (Bicycle Area Mobility) system is all about.

Here's how it's done:

Tell Hillsborough Commissioners To Place Parks/Trails Referendum On November's Ballot

In three months you've done what no one expected: You stopped demolition of the Friendship Trail Bridge and helped show everyone that there is community support for a better Tampa Bay.

You convinced Hillsborough County to have a vision beyond demolition. At every meeting, in every email, and every conversation they heard your voice.

Now Hillsborough County is already considering taking a giant leap further. In the next couple weeks the county commission will be discussing a plan that would invest over $80 million in parks, trails, and recreation activities across the county. They would put these investments into a referendum and up to a vote on the November Ballot in Hillsborough County.

Your voice has made a difference before and we need you to use it again.

The county is holding a public hearing on the budget tomorrow evening and we need to show support for the Bridge, and trails and parks across the county.

Here are the details:

Thursday, July 19
6:00 PM
County Center, 2nd Floor
601 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL

For those of you who couldn't make the morning meetings, here is your chance to show your support . For those that have helped before, we need your voice to be loud and clear again.

Every one of the Commissioners has told us how influential the emails and phone calls have been in convincing them to support our vision.

There are still some that think the Bridge isn't worth saving, parks aren't worth improving, and trails aren't worth building -- we can't let them be the only voices.Any possible referendum could transform the Bridge, but more importantly it will be a statement that we support a better vision for our community. A vision for our county that is more livable, more attractive to new residents, and a better place to start a business and raise a family.

Each person that has joined our effort so far has shared that vision. We want to let the commissioners know that they should keep looking to invest in our future. If the emails and phone calls stop now, the county will go back to ignoring us.

The county process is moving fast, because you have shown your support for the Bridge. Your continued phone calls and emails are essential to maintain our momentum.

Over the next six months we will be raising money and organizing to conduct a study to find the cheapest and best way to transform the Bridge into a linear park. Even if you can't make the meeting tomorrow, we need your help by volunteering to be on one of our committees -- just reply to this email to find out more information. We will get back to you quickly about what you can do to help.

This is a pure grassroots campaign -- and every little thing you can do will help us make this dream a reality.


The Friendship Trail Bridge Team

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Numbers Do All The Talking

Photo courtesy of Interbike. SWFBUD will be there in September.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thank A SWFBUD Bike Shop And Lawyer

If you believe SWFBUD has been a strong voice for bicyclists in Tampa Bay and have increased the profile of bicycling in our area, then thank a SWFBUD bike shop or SWFBUD lawyer.

Ten SWFBUD bicycle stores and three bicyclist-lawyers pay me every month to represent their collective voices to show our elected leaders and government agency officials that bicycling needs to be valued as an essential part of our community.

We hold the annual Bicycle Bash Festival to celebrate bicycling in Tampa Bay, attend dozens and dozens of meetings to make sure bicyclists' voices are heard and work behind the scenes to write emails from everything from asking the DOT to clear debris from the Gandy Bridge shoulder to asking Tampa officials to hold a ciclovia event in conjunction with this year's NOV 4 Bicycle Bash in downtown Tampa.

These ten bicycle stores and three lawyers make it financially feasible for me to lobby our local officials to improve bicycling and organize events such as the Bicycle Bash. Please do your bicycle business with these ten shops and three lawyers:

-- ABC Bicycles in St. Petersburg

-- Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium

-- Oliver's Cycle Sports in New Tampa

-- Bicycle Outfitters in Seminole

-- Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater and Palm Harbor

-- Trek Store in South Tampa and Clearwater

-- Street Fit 360 in South Tampa

-- University Bicycle Center in north Tampa

-- Velo Champ in Seminole Heights

-- Trek Store of St. Petersburg

-- Tom Singletary in Tampa

-- J. Steele Olmstead in Tampa

-- Mark Roman Law Group of Clearwater.

These folks pay the freight to allow me to do bicycle advocacy on your behalf. Please take the time to thank these folks by doing business with them.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tell A Florida DOT Committee To Continue Funding As Many Bike/Ped Projects As Possible In Wake Of The Recent Transportation Bill

Florida’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative Round Table Discussion

August 6, 2012 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
District 7 Tampa - USF Center for Urban Transportation Research

August 6, 2012 1:00 – 5:00 pm
District 1 Bartow – D1 Headquarters, Auditorium

August 7, 2012 1:00 – 5:00 pm
District 6 Miami – D6 Headquarters, Auditorium

August 8, 2012 1:00 – 5:00 pm
District 4 Ft. Lauderdale – D4 Headquarters, Auditorium

August 9, 2012 1:00 – 5:00 pm
District 5 Deland – D5 Headquarters

August 10, 2012 1:00 – 5:00 pm
District 2 Jacksonville Offices

The recently amended federal Transportation Bill hurt bicyclists because it will allow local DOT district offices to divert money that was previously spent on bike/ped projects to be spent on highways. That's bad for bicyclists we need as much bike infrastructure spending as possible, especially here in the Tampa Bay region.

But here are forums to tell a Florida statewide DOT committee that the Florida DOT must continue investing as much money as it can on bicycle infrastructure.

The Tampa Bay meeting will be AUG 6 from 8 am to 12 noon at the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research at the USF Tampa campus.

Friday, July 6, 2012

SWFBUD Bicycle Bash Will Be In Downtown Tampa NOV 4

I am happy to announce that SWFBUD is moving our annual Bicycle Bash Festival into downtown Tampa, with the city of Tampa our co-sponsor and ISM Saddles our presenting sponsor. It will be NOV 4 from 10 am to 4 pm at Cotanchobee Park next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Polar Bottle and American Traffic Solutions are other Bicycle Bash sponsors. Many more details to follow. If you want to be a vendor at the Bicycle Bash, please email me at alansnel@yahoo.com.