Bloomberg Associates and transportation expert Janette Sadik-Khan help Tampa shape its mobility vision

In early June, transportation and urban planning expert Janette Sadik-Khan draws a large crowd to the Tampa Theater for a presentation on redesigning urban mobility systems.

Sadik-Khan, New York City Transportation Commissioner from 2007 to 2013, inspired city planners across the country to rethink pedestrian and road spaces. Its practices and perspectives have inspired planners in Tampa for some time.

Now his influence has shifted from planning inspiration to actual consultation with the City of Tampa. Sadik-Khan is the founding director of Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic advisory group that former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg created to advise mayors around the world on strategies and policies to improve quality of life. of their residents.

His team chose Tampa for a free consultation over the next three years to develop and implement data-driven and collaborative mobility plans. New to Tel Aviv for similar services, the Bloomberg team travels to Tampa to meet with key stakeholders, developers and partner agencies to better understand the specifics of the burgeoning city’s development needs. .

“People First”

Sadik-Khan’s June presentation at the Tampa Theater deftly uses wit and humor to energize a transportation-savvy, mostly Gen-X and millennial crowd. She references her latest book, “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution,” highlights her professional achievements and discusses universal challenges and themes of modern mobility.

During his presentation, one slide is a shot of the police line-up from the classic heist movie “The Usual Suspects.” All characters are labeled according to typical mobility impediments, with main villain Keyser Söze being labeled “parking minimums”. It’s got laughs from a saturated crowd of planners and mobility enthusiasts eager to shake things up. Sadik-Khan’s message is the steady pace of people-centric street design standards. “People first” is his mantra.

The presentation shares examples of this philosophy in action: visuals of efforts to pedestrianize Broadway in Times Square, maps illustrating the addition of nearly 400 miles of bike lanes, and images of plazas created in once barren and crowded environments. of vehicles.

Now Sadik-Khan is focusing that expertise and experience on Tampa.

The collaboration between Tampa and Bloomberg Associates has been enthusiastically received by regional planners and mobility experts who pride themselves on keeping abreast of best practices. This includes the minds behind Tampa’s Vision Zero action plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on the roads while creating an equitable mobility system for all modes of transportation.

Mayor Jane Castor pledged to join the global Vision Zero traffic safety movement immediately after taking office in 2019. The Vision Zero action plan is a component of the citywide mobility plan, Tampa MOVES. These complementary efforts provide Tampa with a near-term strategic approach that begins the process of realizing the city’s long-term transportation vision.

According to the Vision Zero Action Plan, an average of 44 people die each year and another 289 suffer life-changing injuries on Tampa’s roads. Sadik-Khan says the solution is to put people first on transport and public spaces, especially roads. She says great strides can be made quickly, and without much expense or red tape, by using paint and simple materials to transform spaces and delineate areas for improved functionality and safety. This approach does not require large investments and spaces can literally transform overnight.

“We have implemented several low-cost projects that contribute to road safety,” says Alana Brasier, chief transportation planner with the Tampa Department of Mobility. “It is rewarding to know that our plans and initiatives are in line with international best practices. Having access to the expertise and mentorship of the Bloomberg team will help us keep pace with the city’s growing needs and improve the quality of life. “

The three Ps

The Vision Zero 2020 collaboration between the Tampa Downtown Partnership and the city for North Ashley Drive and the Interstate 275 off-ramp is an example of these principles in action. Improvements along this downtown corridor employed local artists to paint brightly colored street murals to calm traffic from I-275, increase pedestrian visibility and add touch of beauty to urban streets. Additionally, the project added decorative planters at intersections and flexible boundary posts to improve pedestrian safety.

“I pay homage to Janette Sadik-Khan and her philosophy of the three Ps – paint, planters and poles,” says Karen Kress, director of transportation at the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

While in New York for an International Downtown Association conference several years ago, Kress took part in a tour that visited Sadik-Khan’s work when he was then transportation commissioner. The tour planted a seed that came to fruition years later and continues to grow.

This summer, Kress will implement a pilot program downtown to utilize “dead space” at the end of sidewalks by repurposing that space as micro-mobility parking instead of cluttering sidewalks or reclaiming spaces. parking. The project will simply mark off the space with paint and posts and put them to good use.

In his presentation at the Tampa Theater, Sadik-Khan praised the city’s transportation capital improvement projects such as the Davis Boulevard Complete Streets Project on Davis Island and the East-West Green Spine Bike Path, which Mayor Castor used on Bike to Work Day to travel from Seminole Heights to downtown.

That night, Sadik-Khan also urges the public to support the “All For Transportation” sales tax referendum in the November ballot. Tampa and Hillsborough County plan to use the revenue from this sales tax increase to develop multi-modal transportation systems that not only fund roads, but improve public transit and expand the network of cycling and pedestrian facilities. from the community.

During Bloomberg Associates’ week-long visit, Tampa Mobility Director Vik Bhide brings together a handful of mobility advocates and nonprofits for a roundtable with the Bloomberg team who starts a dialogue with an important prospect. Christine Acosta of Pedal Power Promoters participates and organizes a bike tour of Tampa. Acosta takes care of 12 electric bikes from the company Lime and Brasier and other members of the mobility department lead a tour that begins in the urban core of the city.

The Bloomberg team experiences a glimpse of non-car transportation in Tampa, from the bicycle-friendly Green Spine Bike Path to the high-traffic intersections along Florida Avenue.

The appeal of the “three Ps” approach is that simple aesthetic changes are faster and cheaper than having to demolish or build. Therefore, Sadik-Khan encourages an attitude of action to see what sticks.

“Soon, pilots will be going live across the city for us to experience,” says Acosta. “We need to be patient to acclimate to changes. It takes a community about a year to adopt even simple changes that, at the end of the day, produce fundamental improvements in our quality of life. But cities around the world are discovering that people-centered, people-centered planning works.

For more information, visit Bloomberg Associates, Janette Sadik Khan,
City of Tampa Mobility Department and Downtown Tampa Partnership.
For more information on Vision Zero, visit Vision Zero Action Plan.

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