Walk Bike Tampa was founded in the summer of 2015 by Tampa residents who met at local transportation meetings and shared their concerns about bicycle and pedestrian safety. Together, they decided that Tampa needed a citizens-based advocacy group focused on promoting connected bicycle routes, safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the city, and pedestrian-friendly streets.
They quickly discovered that safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists was a community value shared across political, generational, and socioeconomic lines. Today, Walk Bike Tampa’s executive director and board work with other community groups and political leaders to make Tampa a walkable, bikeable, and livable city.
Our three main issues are Vision Zero, Safe Routes to Schools, and Open Street Bayshore.
Vision Zero is the European concept that holds that even one bicycle or pedestrian death is too many. It has been approved by about three dozen cities in the U.S. The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization is in the process of implementing its Vision Zero Action Plan.
The core principle of Vision Zero is that life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within society. This strongly contrasts with more conventional planning, which weighs costs and benefits and where a monetary value is placed on life and health.
Vision Zero is based on four principles:
Safe Routes to Schools is the vision of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The mission of the National Partnership is to advance safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, to improve the health and wellbeing of kids of all races, income levels and abilities and to foster the creation of healthy communities for everyone.
The National Partnership is a catalyst for the creation of safe, active, equitable and healthy communities—urban, suburban and rural— throughout the United States.
Walk Bike Tampa works with and supports Sidewalk Stompers, a school zone pedestrian safety advocacy group in Tampa. We anticipate partnering with other organizations that are concerned with the safety of children on bikes and on sidewalks.
Open Street Bayshore is a plan that WBT presented to the City of Tampa in 2016. If adopted, the northbound lanes of Bayshore Blvd. would be open for cyclists, walkers, and other non-motorized users on regularly scheduled Sundays throughout the year. This would be the Tampa version of the Cyclovias that are so popular in South America and throughout the world. WBT envisions that this first regular Open Street in Tampa would be replicated in other neighborhoods throughout the city.
In addition to our core areas, we have addressed a number of topics. Some examples of our advocacy and educational efforts follow:
In 2016 and 2017, we reached nearly18,000 users through 59 posts on social media on subjects ranging from bike accidents to pedestrian right-of-ways.
We’ve presented the need for bicycle and pedestrian improvements and our solutions before the City Council, the County Commission, the School Board, Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, USF’s Center for Community Design and Research, Gulf Coast Trail Technical Working Group, Urban Living Institute, the Millennial Forum, Hillsborough Community Traffic Safety Committee, TBARTA, the Heights Urban Transportation and Land Use Committee, and many more organizations.
We’ve facilitated the employment of bicycle valets at a dozen events in Tampa and St. Petersburg.
We’ve partnered with the MPO, Tampa Downtown Partnership, 83 Degrees, and other organizations on events to commemorate accident victims and to introduce new safety measures and concepts. We are determined to continue until Tampa is one of the safest cities in the U.S. and not one of the most dangerous.