BWTB Fall Summit dives into making streets safer for everyone

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BWTB Fall Summit dives into making streets safer for everyone

Summit attendees make stop for photo opp on Courtney Campbell Causeway as part of pre-Summit bike ride.

Bike/Walk Tampa Bay (BWTB) held its 2018 Fall Summit on November 8. Approximately 60 stakeholders, business owners, and citizens gathered in a large meeting hall provided by the St. Petersburg College Clearwater campus. Kent McWaters, Vice Chair of BWTB, welcomed everyone then turned the stage over to Secretary David Gwynn, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Seven. Officer Roy Paz from the Tampa Police Department told a few traffic jokes to get the crowd warmed up.

Alex Henry of FDOT District Seven gave an overview of what it means to implement Complete Streets at a regional level. Richard Hartman, City of Clearwater, gave audience members a virtual tour of projects happening in his city, particularly on Drew Street, where the St. Petersburg College campus is located. Lucas Cruse, City of St. Petersburg, concluded the Complete Streets presentation with highlights from St. Petersburg’s efforts, including information on the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Street project.

BWTB board member and seasoned attorney Steele Olmstead gave a thorough presentation on what can happen if a bicycle rider or walker is in a crash with a motor vehicle. He offered suggestions for how the bicyclist or walker should capture, on video, conversations and scenery following a crash using a mobile phone to later assist in a legal defense.

Julie Bond and Vanessa Wheeler with the Center for Urban Transportation Research at University of South Florida introduced the new BWTB Ambassador program. The program provides tools to aid individuals in sharing with others about safe driving behaviors with the ultimate goal of making the Tampa Bay region safer for all road users.

Bonus speaker Ken Sides concluded the meeting with a brief educational overview of the design structure of roadway roundabouts and how they are beneficial to bicyclists and for calming traffic.

Preceding the meeting, a small group of bicyclists was led on an eight-mile round-trip tour of the Ream Wilson Trail, stopping at the Courtney Campbell Causeway for a bay-side photo on the beach.

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