Making Tampa safer for bikers

February 28, 2013 by  

Bicyclists in Tampa, Florida will enjoy safer riding conditions, thanks to several new bike paths that have recently opened in the city.

Dedicated bicycle lanes have been constructed on parts of Commerce Park Boulevard and Tampa Palms Boulevard West. The lanes are part of a project that has been undertaken by the city’s transportation department to link the two thoroughfares directly, making it the first time they will be joined.

The connection is by way of a new bridge that crosses Interstate 75. Previously, Tampa Palms and Commerce Park dead-ended at opposite ends of the bridge. The bridge also features a path for pedestrians.

The project will be completed later in February, and will give cyclists riding through New Tampa an alternative to the Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The project also includes putting down new asphalt on both roads, and improving safety features ahead of the bridge opening.

Riders like Kyle Helfritz are excited by the development. Helfritz’s daily rides are often upwards of 10 miles in length, most of on the heavily-traveled Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Other routes Helfritz uses are equally congested with auto traffic. Helfritz, who is a student at the University of South Florida, has been riding in Tampa traffic for more than a year. He has changed his route since the bike lanes opened, and thinks they’ve made riding safer. He is also looking forward to using the new bridge.

Transportation officials might consider working with postcard printing experts to create a mailer telling residents about the new bike paths.