The meeting was kicked off by George Walton, VP at HNTB (which serves FDOT), with a featured presentation of Tampa Bay Next. Tampa Bay Next is a reset of Tampa Bay Express (TBX) and aims to “modernize Tampa Bay’s transportation infrastructure and prepare for the future”. The program includes interstate modernization, bicycle/pedestrian facilities, transportation innovation, transit, complete streets and freight mobility. Walton shared that the Gateway Expressway project is moving forward, that opportunities to leverage infrastructure projects to develop the Tampa Bay’s workforce are being explored and offered that FDOT is rebuilding the Howard Frankland Bridge due to its aging infrastructure and will be adding capacity to alleviate congestion.
Several attendees raised concerns about the supposed regional focus of the Tampa Bay Next program which yet again appears to exclude St. Petersburg. Tampa Bay Next is holding several community working groups with at least one scheduled in Pinellas County. For those who would like to participate in the conversation about Tampa Bay’s transportation needs, the first Pinellas County Community Working Group will convene on Thursday, July 13 from 5:30-7:30 at Collaborative Labs.
Other highlights from the meeting include updates from Council Member Jim Kennedy who advised the City Council is continuing conversations about whether to move forward with bus shelters that have advertisements. Cheryl Stacks with the City announced that Bike Share will soon reach the 50,000 mile marker. She also shared that the City’s Complete Streets initiative was expecting to present a preliminary set of recommendations for community input in early September. Hilary Lehman with Forward Pinellas shared that construction will soon begin on a $9.6M extension to the Duke Energy Trail. Anthony Matonti advised that a FDOT-funded study on combining MPOs is being conducted and that the issue has been pushed to August so it can be discussed by TBARTA’s incoming board. Finally, Sue Chrzan with THEA announced that the grand opening of Dog Park Grand will be dedicated in memory of Sheriff Deputy John Kotfila and will take place on Saturday, June 24 from 9:00-12:00.
The Transportation Committee’s next meeting will be held on July 18th at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.
Tampa Bay Next: Howard Frankland Bridge
July 13th Pinellas County Tampa Bay Next Workshop
THEA Grand Opening and Dedication of the Hillsborough County Sheriff Deputy John Kotfila
Memorial Dog Park