Bicycle/Pedestrian Advocates
POB 3746
Sarasota, Florida 34230

Welcome, Today is
We should use this day well.....

Let's make Sarasota/Manatee a Paradise for Biking and Walking

          Bicycle/Pedestrian Advocates (BPA) is a non-profit group that educates the public about ways to improve walking and biking. The name says it all. We specialize in policy. BPA works with the public, the media, cities, counties, the state, the federal government, and others to to make biking and walking safer and easier. We are not a bicycle club.

          And, we specialize only on bicycle/pedestrian policy. BPA is for people with only one shared interest....improving conditions for walking and bicycling. Thus, we are not affiliated with any political party or any other causes. We are strictly civic.

          So, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, you are welcome at BPA. We are a bike/ped group for everyone.

          BPA includes the same staff from the Spokespeople, a bicycle advocacy organization that led a broad community coalition in Sarasota/Manatee in the 1980's. The Spokespeople changed the road design policies of Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton. The Spokespeople became Florida's statewide bicycle advocacy group and passed several Florida laws, including the laws that established Florida's innovative child traffic safety education curriculum for public schools. In 1988, the Spokespeople called advocates from around the state and founded the Florida Bicycle Association.

          BPA has plans but we think that the best way to know about us is to know what we have done. Below, please find a partial list of our accomplishments since 2005.

          We hope that you will join us. We are a non-profit advocacy group and our real strength is people, which we hope will include you. If you would like to join, please email us.

What BPA Has Done:

Worked closely with the Sarasota County Commission to achieve a full-time bicycle/pedestrian coordinator:
After BPA met previously with every Commissioner, the County Commission, on June 15,2006, directed the County Administrator to appoint one. For reasons that remain unclear, this was not done. Since that time, budgetary problems have hit Sarasota County and that has been used as a reason by the County Administrator for not hiring one since. BPA continues to work with Sarasota County to make this happen. Those who are interested in this topic may wish to contact BPA to watch the DVD of the June 15, 2006 meeting.

Showed the Sarasota County Commission how other areas have cut bike/ped accident rates while receiving grant money that would exceed County expenses:
In January, 2009, BPA Director Mike Lasche´ gave a presentation to the Board of County Commissioners showing how St. Petersburg had cut their pedestrian accidents by over half from 2000 to 2008, while taking in $30 million in grant funding, which far exceeded the $1.2 million that they spent. The County Commissioners asked the County Administrator to contact the St. Petersburg officials responsible for that program but after three months, this had not happened. BPA continues to press for Sarasota to attempt to try the St. Petersburg model of doing something about area bike/ped safety and getting funding that easily covers local costs.

Revitalized the Sarasota County Bicycle/Pedestrian/Trail Advisory Committee (BPTAC):
Before BPA staff was elected to the BPTAC and subsequently became its chairman, the BPTAC had lapsed into an inactive rubber stamp committee that among other things, actually approved the removal of bike lanes from Fruitville Road. Using BPA research, the BPTAC reversed itself on Fruitville Road, began commenting on road designs, trails issues, and became a pro-active committee.

Preserved funding for Safety City:
Since 2006, BPA has successfully worked with public officials and the media to maintain funding for Safety City, a child traffic safety education program that reaches over 4,000 area schoolchildren per year. In 2006, 2007, and 2009, the funding for Safety City was in jeopardy and BPA efforts helped restore the funding.

Preserved the bike lanes on Fruitville Road:
BPA has a long history with Fruitville Road. Back in the 1980's, when several BPA members were part of the bicycle advocacy group called the Spokespeople, they advocated for the best that could be achieved on the reconstruction of Third Street, as Fruitville Road was then known, from US 301 to Tamiami Trail. Due to limited right of way in the corridor, the best option was for the outside lanes to be 14', a lane known as a wide curb lane, which is a good choice for urban lower speed roads as it provides enough speed for cars and bicycles. Wide curb lanes are just one wide lane, with no striping for a reserved bike lane. Sometime in the 90's, someone in the city decided that they would be more comfortable with striping a bike lane out of the wide curb lane. As they only had 14 feet to work with, and they did not want the cars to travel in anything less than eleven feet, they only allowed three feet for the bike lane. This was a mistake as a three foot bike lane is substandard width for bicycle travel, according to all the relevant design manuals. Then, sometime in the 2000's, downtown business interests began pressing for wider sidewalks on Fruitville Road, from US 301 to Tamiami Trail. Since they didn't want to buy more right of way, and since they knew that the bike lane was substandard anyway, they simply proposed that the three foot bike lanes be eliminated and that the three feet be added to the sidewalks. BPA began working with City Commissioners on this issue in late 2006, attempting to find a solution that worked for everyone. In early 2007, other bicycle advocates, unaware of some easy technical solutions, began a public campaign for preserving the bike lanes by either doing nothing about widening the sidewalks or by eliminating a lane of car traffic on each side of Fruitville Road. At this point, City Commissioners came to BPA and asked them to accelerate their efforts towards a technical solution. BPA contacted some former high-level engineers from FDOT and developed at least 5 ways to achieve wide sidewalks and keep bike lanes on Fruitville Rd. BPA presented these options to the City Commission. After BPA's memo on the subject, the City commissioned consultants to use BPA's concepts and the City developed two designs that also showed wide sidewalks and bike lanes. Subsequently, the BPA options and one of the city consultant's options were recommended to the City by the BPTAC. Later in 2007, the City abandoned the project to eliminate the bike lanes. Currently, BPA is continuing to work on designs for this corridor with downtown business interests, stressing that it is easy to have wide sidewalks and even have standard size four-foot bike lanes, all without purchasing

Achieved standard sized and wider bike lanes on Bahia Vista:
In late 2007, Sarasota County was going to stripe Bahia Vista St., in the Pinecraft neighborhood, with bike lanes of only three feet, a substandard width. The rationale for doing this was that they wanted to have wide sidewalks and they could not have standard size bike lanes if they had wide sidewalks and 11' car travel lanes. BPA, working with its road design experts, immediately began working with Sarasota County, showing how they could reduce the car lanes to slightly less than eleven feet and easily achieve standard size, four-foot bike lanes. BPA presented evidence from national technical manuals regarding the suitability of these designs and put out press releases on the subject. Then, BPA enlisted the support of the BPTAC for these designs. Subsequently, citing language used by BPA, the County announced that they would not only increase the bike lanes to four feet but to five feet.

Worked with the BPTAC, Sarasota County, the City of Sarasota, and FDOT on street designs:
Part of BPA's work with the BPTAC was to establish an Engineering subcommittee. That subcommittee worked well with Sarasota County Public Works and has reviewed and made comments on area road designs such as Gulfstream, Proctor, the extension of Fruitville Road east of the interstate, the Beneva/Clarinda intersection, and Tamiami Trail near the Charlotte County line. Outside the BPTAC, BPA has independently commented on many road designs including the Honore extension from Bee Ridge to Fruitville, the North Cattlemen extension from Fruitville to University Parkway, and others. BPA has also contacted FDOT about bicycle-friendly designs for US 301, from Mound Street north to 57th Street. As of September 2009, BPA is working with the City of Sarasota to ensure that bike lanes are incorporated onto Myrtle St., from Tamiami Trail to Bay Shore Road.

Passed a bicycle parking amendment in the City of Sarasota:
In late 2005, the City of Sarasota became concerned with its downtown parking situation. BPA personnel began working on that issue and proposed a simple idea to help downtown parking; require future city parking garages to provide secure bicycle parking, in the form of bicycle lockers, locked rooms, or chain-link cages. After a three and a half year struggle, BPA guided the amendment through the City's Planning Department, Planning Board, and City Commission. Now, the City

Worked with City of Sarasota staff to adopt bicycle/pedestrian friendly policy in the City's Comprehensive Plan.
In early 2008, BPA, working closely with the BPTAC, offered numerous edits to the Transporation Component of the City of Sarasota's Comprehensive Plan update. Almost all of the edits were incorporated into the final draft.

Appeared in public forums concerning the Bus Rapid Transit proposal to support the options with a bicycle/pedestrian trail:
In late 2008, the Sarasota County Area Transit system held public hearings on its proposal to install a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. There were four options for the project, one of which included bike/ped trail from 10th/Orange north to DeSoto, near the Dog Track. BPA appeared at the SCAT forum at the City Commission and at the County Commission, supporting the option that included the bike/ped trail. That option was approved by both bodies. BPA was also the first to note that this bike/ped way could be linked to the future extension of the Legacy Trail if SCAT was able to purchase the "missing link," 1.7 miles of railway that begins at Fruitville Road near School Avenue, proceeds north for 0.7 mile, then goes 1 mile west to 10th/Orange. If all of this happens, Sarasota County would have the right of way for a linear park, and bike/ped trail stretching from Venice to the Sarasota airport. Since that time, BPA has been vigorously promoting the purchase of the missing link using federal dollars associated with the BRT proposal and to get an ironclad guarantee that the bike/ped way will be part of any future rail conversions to BRT. In August 2009, BPA appeared at a public hearing on these subjects, pressed for acquistion of the missing link, and followed up with FDOT and Railroad officials about the matter.

Educated the public about roundabouts and pedestrian safety as part of the Downtown Sarasota Connectivity Charrettes:
In late 2008, the City of Sarasota conducted a series of charrettes and meetings concerning linking pedestrian traffic from downtown to its bayfront. BPA wrote a guest column for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune proposing a series of roundabouts on Tamiami Trail, at 14th St., 10th St., Boulevard of the Arts, Fruitville Road, Gulfstream Boulevard, Main Street, Ringling Boulevard, Orange Avenue, and Osprey Avenue, as well as another roundabout at Gulfstream/Sunset. BPA pointed out that roundabouts dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. Since then, the City of Sarasota is moving towards roundabouts on Tamiami Trail at 14th St., 10th St., Fruitville Road, Gulfstream Blvd., Ringling Blvd., and Orange Avenue. Also, roundabouts are being incorporated throughout the area. For example, on the Sarasota County project of the extension of Honore, from Bee Ridge to Fruitville, four roundabouts are in the design.

Proposed a bike lane on North Tamiami Trail:
BPA proposed a plan called 10/10/4 to calm traffic on US 41 (Tamiami Trail) from 14th St. north to Bowlee's Creek. 10/10/4 is a plan to take the two 12' car travel lanes and restripe them into two 10' lanes and a 4' bike lane. Experience and studies show that this would reduce peak speeds in the corridor yet maintain average speed, equal or increase average daily traffic, reduce accidents for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, help convert the corridor to a more commercial-friendly area, and cost virtually nothing as it only involves re-striping which has to be done periodically anyway. BPA proposed the idea in 2007 and it has met with some support from City of Sarasota officials but with resistance from FDOT. BPA is currently attempting to meet that resistance.

Initiated action on the Alderman Street bike/ped trail:
The Alderman corridor is an abandoned railroad right of way that can serve as a bike/ped link from downtown Sarasota to Payne Park and to the future extension of the Legacy Trail. Even without the Legacy Trail extension, the Alderman trail would be valuable, connecting downtown to Payne Park, providing a kayak launch, and providing a linear park for the Senior Friendship Center, Laurel Park, and the Burns Square area. With the extension, all of these areas would be linked, by linear park with all of the neighborhoods east of Payne Park out to Beneva Road, then south down to Venice. After organizing the BPTAC, the Burns Square Property Owners, the Sarasota-Manatee Bicycle Club, the Manasota Track Club, the Sierra Club Conservation Committee, the Senior Friendship Center, Payne Park Village, and the Laurel Park Neighborhood Association in support, BPA presented the idea to the City of Sarasota and it initiated action on the Alderman Street trail on September 8, 2009.

Contacted USDOT and the Congress on USDOT Safety Funding disparities:
On July 9, 2009, Congressman Vern Buchanan hosted a Town Hall with Secretary Ray LaHood of USDOT. At the meeting, BPA staff asked Secretary why the bike/ped portion of USDOT safety spending was only 1% of the safety budget while 13% of overall fatalities were bike/ped. LaHood responded well, saying that this was a serious problem and that he was deeply committed to safety. Since then, BPA has followed up on this issue with Secretary LaHood and Congressman Buchanan.

Contacted FDOT on lack of bike/ped input into Strategic Intermodal System:
Since 2001, FDOT has placed increasingly greater emphasis on the Strategic Intermodal System (SIS), a system designed to move large amounts of people and goods from region to region in Florida. As of 2003, FDOT adopted a policy of spending 75% of its discretionary funds on the SIS. Unfortunately, there are no bicycle/pedestrian specialists on the committee that plans for the SIS. In August 2009, BPA contacted the Florida Bicycle Association and FDOT with its concern, urging that the future SIS include bicycle/pedestrian facilities and that its planning committee include bicycle/pedestrian specialists.

Designed Legislation for the 2010 Florida Legislature:
BPA staff head the Florida Bicycle Association Legislative Committee. In the summer of 2009, BPA staff proposed a legislative action plan and brought FBA Directors together to formulate their legislative priorities. In September 2009, FBA decided on its legislative priority and began the process of proposing a law.

Created by e-Scene in 2009.