On July 21, 2016, a group of citizens, advocates, transportation professionals and members of allied organizations met at the John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Education and Conference Center in St. Petersburg to attend the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay (BWTB) Summer Summit. The goal of the summit was to discuss and evaluate the region’s bi-annual progress since the inaugural summit in December of 2015. A walking tour of St. Petersburg’s first historic district, Roser Park, preceded the summit.
BWTB Program Director Julie Bond welcomed attendees and introduced the Chair of the Board, Retired Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, who read the BWTB mission statement and introduced each of the speakers who presented at the summit. First, Whit Blanton, Executive Director of Forward Pinellas, discussed bicycle and pedestrian initiatives in Pinellas County and their goal to “provide a secure and safe transportation system for all users”. Next, Matt Weaver, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Traffic Safety Program Engineer, followed to describe recent and future safety enhancements on Gulf Boulevard. Finally, Dr. Janelle Garcia of John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital emphasized alternative modes of transportation as a crucial component of an active lifestyle that enhances wellness among both children and adults.
After the presentations, attendees took part in an interactive session to reexamine the regional priorities identified during the previous summit. Participants were organized into groups by the five E’s: Education, Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Evaluation. After the breakout sessions, each group made presentations on the progress made on the priorities and goals for the coalition’s future work. One of the group leaders, Jen Bartlett of Tindale Oliver, discussed Encouragement as a catalyst for culture change through tours and bike/walk centric events. She said tours and celebrations make a big difference. “They bring communities together to see parts of their region they have never seen before.”
See more photos from the event on our Facebook page