Cyclists ready to roll on Tampa’s first separated, green bike lane

Tampa Green bike LaneThe City of Tampa recently completed its first separated, green bike lane along Platt Street in South Tampa. The design is the first of its kind in Tampa, and motorists are encouraged to use caution while becoming familiar with the new design. The new bike lane runs from Armenia Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard and is separated from vehicle travel lanes. As the bike lane approaches major intersections, it’s painted green to get attention and help prevent accidents between drivers turning right and cyclists going straight.

Over half of all bicycle crashes occur when the cyclist is riding the wrong way – against traffic.By installing designated bicycle lanes along Platt Street that show the direction the cyclist is supposed to travel and where the cyclist should be in relation to traffic, safety is greatly improved.

“The new buffered, green bike lane is the first of its kind in Tampa although we will be adding a similar design along nearby Cleveland Street soon. My hope is that the new cycling infrastructure can become a model for how we redesign our streets,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Our streets and roadways need to serve all their users, including cyclists and pedestrians.”  At a cost of $1.4 million, Platt Street’s new cycling infrastructure is part of an overall traffic calming project implementing many recommendations from the MPO Bicycle Safety Action Plan, including the addition of on-street parking, redcued lane widths, and reduced speed. Reducing speed increases safety exponentially when you consider a pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph has an 80% survival rate, while a pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph faces only a 30% survival rate.

Motorists are urged to use caution when traveling through the area as they get accustomed to the new design. Motorists should not use the separated area and bike lane as a third travel lane (as in the photo above).

Cleveland Street, north of Platt Street, is undergoing a similar renovation with the addition of similar cycling infrastructure, new street lighting, and on street parking. In addition, the City of Tampa is also repairing existing utilities and drainage along Cleveland Street.