A roadway design concept envisioned by the MPO’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) is on its way to becoming a reality. Several years ago, BPAC members asked whether there could be a separated bikeway along 40th Street in East Tampa. The questions was investigated by the MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which noted that traffic is not growing on 40th since its I-4 Interchange was removed.Also, immediately north and south of this segment, 40th Street is only four lanes, not six. The TAC asked the road’s owner, FDOT, to consider a road diet.
Using the principles from FDOT’s new Complete Streets policy, FDOT District 7 Engineer Rochelle Garrett took the BPAC idea and ran with it when it cam time for this road to be repaved. The FDOT Complete Streets Implementation Plan, not yet a year old, recognizes the need to design roads in harmony with the neighboring community and environment. Their lane reduction redesign of 40th Street pictured above is a great application of those principles – and can be accomplished within the regularly-scheduled repaving budget!
The configuration of this segment of 40th Street will now match the four-lane design on either end making a more uniform drive for motorists. It will also connect bikeways and ample sidewalks for non-motorists. There will be an added link for east-west trail connections. See the MPO’s last Walk Bike News for a description of trail plans in the area.
Calvin Thornton, who represents the City of Tampa on the BPAC, has been a strong proponent for the redesign of 40th Street. “We have cyclists who live, attend school, and work in the USF area that are interested in attending meetings and events in downtown Tampa. Other than a few additional spots, the redesign of 40th Street finally makes this needed connection possible.”
Identifying critical freight corridors
The designation of Critical Urban Freight Corridors (CUFC) to be included in the National Highway Freight Network was a key topic at a recent statewide meeting between FDOT and the MPOs. CUFCs are public roads in urbanized areas which provide access and connection to the primary highway freight system for ports, public transportation, or other intermodal transportation facilities.
At the September 6 MPO Board meeting, the MPO took action and recommended that portions of Causeway Boulevard and US 41 connected Port Tampa Bay should be designated as a Critical Urban Freight Corridor. This important corridor connects Port Tampa Bay, a major economic engine for our community, to I-4 and I-75.
With more than 15,000 jobs in this key economic space, this corridor is congested for up to 10 hours per day and is periodically blocked by freight trains. Truck traffic is expected to grow to 4500 trips per day by 2050, and it is already exhibiting both freight and commuter congestion. Already a high priority in Florida Freight Mobility & Trade Plan, this corridor is also the highest priority freight need in the MPO’s Imagine2040 Plan.
Once added to the list of Critical Urban Freight Corridors, new funding opportunities become available. The FAST Act provides $60 million more a year to Florida for freight improvements, plus there’s a new grant program offering $800 million nationally for large freight projects costing over $100 million. This designation positions the Port and the Tampa Bay Region for economic prosperity.
Transportation Management Area Leadership Group sets Top 5
The Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area (TMA) Leadership Group, with members of the MPO Boards of Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties, agreed on their top 5 transportation projects for the year. This advisory group was formed to draw attention to the cross-border transportation needs of the tri-county area.
At the TMA September 2nd meeting at PSTA, the Leadership Group added a new priority to the list this year: the development of Regional Express Bus services in the Gandy/Selmon corridor, the Veteran’s/Suncoast corridor, and between Tampa International Airport and Clearwater Beach.
Previous TMA priorities remaining on the list are the: Tampa Bay Express toll lanes project; Westshore Multimodal Center with transit connections to Downtown Tampa and the Airport; passenger service on two existing CSX-owned rail corridors; and deployment of a seamless farebox system among the region’s bus companies. The group’s priorities are reflected and incorporated in the priorities adopted by each member MPO. For more information on the September meeting, please view the full agenda packet and results.
SIS plans for Florida’s intermodal future
The Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) is Florida’s high priority network of transportation facilities important to the state’s economy and mobility. The Governor and Legislature established the SIS in 2003 to focus the state’s limited transportation resources on the facilities most significant for inter-regional, interstate, and international travel. The SIS is the state’s highest priority for transportation capacity investments and a primary focus for implementing the Florida Transportation Plan (FTP), the state’s long-range transportation vision and policy plan.
The adopted First Five Year Plan illustrates projects with funding confirmed by the legislature in the Work Program (Year 1) and projects that are anticipated for funding in the next 2 to 5 years. The Second Five Year Plan illustrates projects planned to be funded in the following five years (Years 6 through 10). Projects in Second Five Year Plan could move forward into the First Five Year Plan as funds become available.
Adamo Drive improvements
Approximately a mile of Adamo Drive is set to be improved with smoother pavement and designated locations for people to walk and bicycle. The existing roadway is a 7-Lane divided urban principal arterial with an open drainage system. This project consists of milling and resurfacing the pavement and enhancing multi-modal connectivity through the addition of sidewalks and bike lanes.
Project Location: This project will be constructed along SR 60 (Adamo Dr) from west of Falkenburg Road to west of Lake Kathy Drive in Hillsborough County (Brandon). The total project length is .923 miles. The first .437 miles is located to the west of SR 93A (I-75) and is not a designated Strategic Intermodal System, while the remaining .486 miles to the east of SR 93A (I-75) is a designated Strategic Intermodal System facility. For more information, contact FDOT Project Manager – Liyanage Ratnayake.
Hillsborough MPO honored to take
‘Garden Steps’ into the HealthyCommunity50!
Join the #HealthiestCitiesChallenge twitter chat on October 6!
The MPO is thrilled to announce its selection for a HealthyCommunities50 seed grant. Together with our partners – the City of Tampa, Florida Department of Health-Hillsborough, HART, the Planning Commission, and the Coalition of Community Gardens – we will focus on neighborhood access to fresh produce. “The efforts to improve food quality through our community garden coalition, while fostering walkability, bikeability, and transit use, will serve as a guide to other communities interested in improving community health through active living,” said Hillsborough MPO Chair Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr. Read more in our press release. Follow us on twitter @HillsboroughMPO, and join us to learn more during the:
twitter chat on Thursday, October 6 from 2 -3p
Joe Waggoner named to IBTTA Board
MPO Board Member and Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority CEO Joe Waggoner was elected by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) membership to serve on its Board of Directors. Waggoner said, “I am thrilled and honored that my fellow members of IBTTA have entrusted me with this leadership position. My involvement as a member of the Board of Directors for IBTTA will allow me to engage with members around the U.S., the world, and use my experience to address the many challenges and opportunities facing the industry.” Read more.
New 511 traveler information system
FDOT’s new 511 Traveler Information System has enhanced features, a new look and the same real-time traffic and travel information many Floridians rely on. The new Florida 511 system includes a new website, mobile app and phone system – all with easier access to the information you need. We are the state’s official source for traffic and travel information and we encourage you to use Florida 511 to help you get safely through your daily commute, and severe weather. Visit https://fl511.com/ or one or more of FL511’s 13 statewide, regional or roadway-specific Twitter feeds.
Autonomous transportation news
The MPO has been sharing news on autonomous vehicles, from driver-less taxis and crew-less cargo ships, to solar powered trams and drones of all kinds. Advances are coming to the freight trucking industry as well. Meanwhile, US DOT in September released long-awaited guidance on self-driving cars, including a model policy for the states to regulate how such vehicles are tested and used on the road, reported Politico.com.
FDOT partners with Florida Polytechnic University to develop SunTrax test facility
A long-term partnership between FDOT and Florida Polytechnic University has been announced to construct the new, state-of-the-art transportation technology testing facility, SunTrax. The creation of this facility will establish Florida as a transportation technology leader and create a high-tech hub for the research, development and testing of emerging transportation technologies related to tolling, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and automated and connected vehicles.
SunTrax includes a 2.25 mile oval track on a 400-acre site in Polk County, centrally located between Tampa and Orlando. The facility will be placed just within the city of Auburndale and adjacent to the Polk Parkway, just north of Braddock Road. Read the announcement.
Mercedes-Benz shows off the first fully electric heavy urban transport truck. The German company revealed the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck today in Stuttgart, an all-electric truck with a total admissible weight capacity of 26 tonnes (29 U.S. tons), which makes it the first clean energy big rig of its kind.
According to a recent article in Performance Drive, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has teased ‘level 4’ fully autonomous technology, complete with a form of artificial intelligence that could be implemented “sooner than people think.” Read the full article.
USDOT giving data to cities for
The rate of change in transportation on every level is challenging for planners and engineers alike. The American Planning Association Florida (APA-FL) recently discussed in a membership newsletter about how the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is sharing data with cities to develop apps that help with future planning projects and transportation needs may offer insight to the process. The USDOT developed OSADP – the Open Source Application Development Portal – to help with the advancement of research, development, planning, testing, and deployment of connected vehicle and traveler-related applications and intelligent transportation systems. The web-based portal features source code, software, applications, and resources.
The science of traffic jams
Have you ever wondered why, when traveling on interstates and highways, there seems to be sudden slowdowns and stops for no apparent reason? There is a science behind our driving habits that affects these back ups. Watch this short video and be part of the solution.