Bike Month & Community Gardens

02/22/10 Jon Butts
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Friday) | Listen to this entire show:

We started today’s program talking about our upcoming local Bicycle Month in March. Our guests were some of the organizers: Karen Kress with the Tampa Downtown Partnership and Julie Bond with the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida.

Bike Month activities will include biking contests, workshops, races, and other events throughout the month. Visit Tampa Bay Cycle for the complete schedule. The main safety issue that came up was how dangerous it is to ride against traffic.

Next up, we talked with our local community garden expert, Andrea Hildebran, with the Bartlett Park Community Garden in St Pete. Andrea’s mission is to promote the local community garden network through her excellent website Green Florida.

It’s time to start our spring gardens. You can get your free Florida garden guide provided by the University of Florida, Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

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Bicycling in Pinellas and Hillsborough

I caught some of the discussions on bicycling and walking in the Tampa Bay area. I’ve been working for the past several months in Pinellas County near the intersection of Roosevelt and Ulmerton (the one closer to the airport entrance), and I find it very unsafe to walk around here. For one thing, there is a glaring lack of sidewalks on Roosevelt near the airport, which seems odd for such a major road. Plus, Ulmerton and Roosevelt are extremely unsafe for bicyclists because they are designed with one thing in mind: motor vehicles. Yet they are major thoroughfares with extremely bad traffic that scream out for alternatives, like bicycling and walking. I wish Pinellas County would focus more on the St. Pete airport area and invest a little in sidewalks and bike lanes to make it more safe. I never commute by bike from my home in Tampa due to safety issues and the sheer length of the commute. Besides, I can't ride a bike on the Howard Frankland because it's an interstate highway. And you really can't ride a bike on Memorial Highway to use the Courtney Campbell, so how would I get to work?! However, I do occasionally take the 300X express bus from downtown Tampa to Ulmerton. I was wondering if you’ve ever had PSTA or HART reps on Radioactivity (and specifically on Jon Butts’s show) to talk about these express routes as an alternative to driving over the big bridges. I’m always a little disappointed to see only a handful of people riding these buses… the most I’ve seen is 10 passengers on one trip. It’s great though to read a book or listen to WMNF while I’m watching the car commuters steaming in traffic on the Howard Frankland. And the price is not bad... $5.00 round trip, which is comparable to gas expense. I also want to mention that I think it’s important for drivers to slow down and chill every once in while. Why do they have to be in such a goddamned hurry all the time? I try to contribute in my small way to getting drivers to chill. At the corner of Central Ave. and Hanna Ave. in Tampa, the walk button stops traffic in both directions at the same time. (I think this is because it’s so close to an elementary school.) I always push the button when I’m out for a walk… not only for my safety, but to let the drivers chill out and think about their lives for a few seconds. I would like to see more walk signals here locally that stop traffic in both directions to make it safer for pedestrians to pass.