Rubber Meets the Road – October 2016

slider-roaddietA roadway design concept envisioned by the MPO’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) is on its way to becoming a reality. Several years ago, BPAC members asked whether there could be a separated bikeway along 40th Street in East Tampa. The questions was investigated by the MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which noted that traffic is not growing on 40th since its I-4 Interchange was removed.Also, immediately north and south of this segment, 40th Street is only four lanes, not six. The TAC asked the road’s owner, FDOT, to consider a road diet.

Using the principles from FDOT’s new Complete Streets policy, FDOT District 7 Engineer Rochelle Garrett took the BPAC idea and ran with it when it cam time for this road to be repaved. The FDOT Complete Streets Implementation Plan, not yet a year old, recognizes the need to design roads in harmony with the neighboring community and environment. Their lane reduction redesign of 40th Street pictured above is a great application of those principles – and can be accomplished within the regularly-scheduled repaving budget!

The configuration of this segment of 40th Street will now match the four-lane design on either end making a more uniform drive for motorists. It will also connect bikeways and ample sidewalks for non-motorists. There will be an added link for east-west trail connections. See the MPO’s last Walk Bike News for a description of trail plans in the area.

Calvin Thornton, who represents the City of Tampa on the BPAC, has been a strong proponent for the redesign of 40th Street. “We have cyclists who live, attend school, and work in the USF area that are interested in attending meetings and events in downtown Tampa. Other than a few additional spots, the redesign of 40th Street finally makes this needed connection possible.”