This morning I represented SWFBUD and addressed the board of TBARTA (Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority). The TBARTA Board, chaired by former Bucs player Shelton Quarles, held its monthly board meeting at a golf course country club off State Road 52 near I-75. We need to let people know who serve on governing boards and in transportation agencies that bicyclists need a piece of the pie. Let your voice be heard.
Here was the statement I read into the TBARTA record:
"My name is Alan Snel and I am the director of SWFBUD, which stands for South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers. It’s an attention-grabbing play on words of that water agency name. SWFBUD is a coalition of seven prominent retail bicycle stores in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties and we and our thousands of loyal pedaling customers are united behind one voice – a voice that is committed to advancing bicycling as an effective means of transportation and as a healthy lifestyle in the Tampa Bay region.
In much the same way you get in your car and apply your seat belt, I hop on my bicycle and strap on helmet. I pedal more than 12,000 miles a year in the Tampa Bay area. I have bike-commuted in cities such as New York City, Denver and Fort Lauderdale and I am here to ask you one thing – please integrate bicycling into every facet of your regional transportation planning and execution.
I talk with people all the time who want to bike to work or bike to the store or bike to the park and for many inexperienced cyclists they perceive the current road conditions as too dangerous. No safe place to ride a bicycle.
That needs to change and it will change through your political will and through your bicycle planning in your regional transportation plans. Please make your proposed corridors friendly to bicyclists – require all buses and any potential light rail to include accommodations for bicycles. Have bicycle storage stations at major park-and-rides. Require all roads to have a bike lane when you fix, widen or build a road.
I pledge SWFBUD will do our part. SWFBUD is holding a giant bicycle festival on October 19 in Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg to advocate and celebrate bicycling in all its forms, including bike-commuting. I am personally inviting each one of you to attend the Bicycle Bash by the Bay. SWFBUD also held the first of its “Pedal Power” lecture series just last night at one of our member bike shops and two speakers representing TBARTA – Brian Bollas and Brandie Miklus – spoke about your plans and we responded with one word – bicycle.
Bicycling makes sense and it’s cost-effective. I hope we can be a resource to you as you blend bicycling into your transportation plans and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I appreciate your time.
Director of SWFBUD, 7 Tampa Bay area bike shops united behind bicycle advocacy and home of the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay