More than 150 participants gathered at the 2019 Bike/Walk Tampa Bay (BWTB) Summer Summit on Friday, June 21, 2019. The intensive half-day Summit, titled “On the Road to Safety,” featured community representatives from around the region and the state, including keynote speaker Florida Department of Transportation District 7 Secretary David Gwynn and Commissioner Mariella Smith of Hillsborough County District 5 (countywide), to share their insight and aspirations about walking and bicycling.
Commissioner Smith, along with Bike/Walk Tampa Bay (BWTB) Vice Chair, Kent McWaters, welcomed a crowd of advocates, agency representatives, and citizens in the auditorium at the University Area Community Development Corporation (UACDC), Inc. in Uptown Tampa.
Following the welcome, a panel discussion followed about “Transportation Challenges and Opportunities in Uptown Tampa”. Stephen Benson with FDOT District 7 moderated the panel, which included Sarah Combs, the Executive Director of the UACDC, Dr. Robert Bertini, Director of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, and Eddie Burch with !p – Tampa Innovation Partnership.
Beth Alden, Executive Director of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and Lisa Silva of the HIllsborough MPO, followed with their interactive “It’s TIME, Hillsborough” session, which allowed the audience to give feedback about what they would like transportation in the county to look like in the future.
During the lunchtime keynote presentation, Secretary Gwynn spoke about the Four E’s (Education, Enforcement, Engineering and Encouragement), followed by the third annual BWTB awards ceremony.
For education, Secretary Gwynn highlighted the WalkWise Tampa Bay program, which has reached over 43,000 attendees through over 2,500 interactive presentations, and BWTB’s new initiative with the Boys and Girls’ Clubs of Tampa Bay, a two-day program that includes a classroom presentation on day one and a bicycle rodeo on day two.
Engineering achievements included the Fletcher Avenue Complete Streets project and the Jackson Street Cycle Track. For enforcement he mentioned the new partnership with FDOT, BWTB, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and City of Tampa police department to conduct speed management and education along local high-crash corridors.
Next was “Bike/Walk Around the State”, which featured presentations from two state-wide organizations, Bike Florida and the Florida Bicycle Association, and the locally-focused Walk Bike Tampa group, which talked about different initiatives and advocacy they promoting to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The final session of the Summit offered participants an option to either participate in roundtable discussions, highlighting updates from the “Four Es,” or a walking tour of UACDC’s Harvest Hope Gardens.