The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is building the first-ever cycle track on a state roadway this year in Downtown Tampa. The project was awarded to a contractor in May, and a construction contract is now in place. The cycle track, which will run along the north side of Jackson Street (State Road 60) from Ashley Drive to Nebraska Avenue, is considered to be a type of “urban shared-use path,” and provides designated space on the roadway for bicycles traveling in both directions.
“District Seven is the first District in the state to introduce this type of protected bicycle facility on the state system” says Stephen Benson, Government Liaison Administrator for the District Seven FDOT Office in Tampa. “This is an exciting project that demonstrates the Department’s commitment to rethinking typical roadway design to improve safety and accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians.”
The cycle track will be ten feet wide and, unlike most conventional bike lanes, will physically separate bikes from motor vehicle traffic with a 4-foot raised island. At locations where driveways and side streets intersect with the bicycle pathway, special bright green pavement markings will alert drivers and cyclists to look out for each other.
“This project is a great example of designing with a Complete Streets approach, which means our goal is to serve a greater number of transportation modes,” says Tana Johnston-Schultz, Design Project Manager at FDOT. “For Jackson Street and the downtown area, the key was balancing all transit needs, so we focused on safety and level of comfort for people walking, riding a bike, taking a bus, and driving.”
In addition to constructing the new bicycle way, the state will also be upgrading pedestrian ramps, re-striping crosswalks, expanding sidewalk space at intersections, adding rapid flashing beacons at select locations and installing a new traffic signal at the intersection of Jackson St. and Governor St. (near the Hillsborough County School Board). The improvements will be built as part of a larger project to resurface the roadway. Construction will begin this fall and should be completed within one year. “We are planning to break ground in late October or early November,” says Johnston-Schultz. “We estimate 6-7 months of construction, and the cycle track should open next year in early summer.”