MPO urging buffered bike lanes, lower speed limits in Temple Terrace

Complete Streets Study looking to increase safety
Posted at 1:42 PM, Jun 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 17:42:36-04

A look at some of the worst transportation problems in Temple Terrace has transportation planners recommending a number of changes, including buffered bike lanes along 56th St. N and lowering the speed limit on some streets.

The purpose of the study was to identify and evaluate alternative options for better serving all those who travel Bullard Parkway (Temple Terrace Highway) from 56th St N to Morris Bridge Road. A particular focus of this study was the 475-foot Woodard Bridge over the Hillsborough River which currently does not have designated accommodations for bicycles. 

They also looked at places where crash numbers were high. The intersections with the most significant crash experience are 56th Street N (55 crashes), Temple Park Drive (17 crashes) and 78th Street (15 crashes). According to the Temple Terrace Police Department, a total of eight crashes involving either pedestrians or bicyclists occurred in the corridor during the five-year period. 

Transportation Planners received these comments about improvement needs from the community:

- Wider bike lanes with buffers, where possible;
- Lower speed limits between 78th Street and the Woodard Bridge;
- Removal of trash from bike lanes;
- Painted green bike lanes on bridge for emphasis;
- Separated bike lanes over the bridge, if possible;
- Midblock pedestrian crossing in vicinity of the Library; and,
- Wayfinding signage for bicycle connections to trails and external points

After looking at all of the data, transportation planners are now recommending these changes:

1. Extend Bike Lanes West to 56th Street N The segment from Ridgedale Road to 56th Street N is not currently marked for bike lanes, despite it being an important connection to the north-south bicycle activity on 56th Street N. It appears that bike lanes can be added if the width of traffic lanes is reduced from +12 feet to 10 feet. This is the segment with the greatest congestion and lowest traffic speeds. Ten-foot lanes are acceptable per the new FDOT standards for Complete Streets projects.

2. Extend Bike Lanes East to Bypass Canal Bike Trail The bike lanes on both Bullard Parkway and Harney Road currently end at the I-75 underpass, which is near to the future Tampa Bypass Canal Bike Trail. The bike lanes should be extended the short distance when the trail is completed. The bike lanes should also be upgraded to include buffers, similar to those recommended for the eastern end of Bullard Parkway.

3. Consider a Future Pedestrian Crossing near the Library This was a major topic of discussion at the community workshop meeting because of the importance of this connection to the future Downtown development on the southeast corner at 56th Street N. Installing a pedestrian crossing at this location would be challenging due to the close proximity of traffic signals at 56th Street N and Ridgedale Road which are each 650 feet from the library. It is possible to locate a high-type design pedestrian crossing at the midpoint, approximately 650 feet from each signal, similar to what is installed on Fletcher Avenue just west of 30th Street. 

4. Upgrade Existing Bike Lanes to Buffered Bike Lanes Where there are existing 5-foot bike lanes, two additional feet of width should be added to create buffers and improve the riding experience. The additional two feet can be gained by reducing lane widths to 11 feet, which is recommended for the existing design, speed, and land-use classifications along the roadway. With truck accounting for less than 3% of the traffic on Bullard Parkway, traffic operations should not be impacted by the one-foot lane width reduction.

5. Reduce Speed Limits from 45 mph to 35 mph from Glen Arven Avenue to 78th Street Reducing speed limits requires traffic studies to be conducted to determine the benefits and impacts of these changes. The context of the segment of Bullard Parkway from Glen Arven Avenue to 78th Street indicates this type of a speed reduction is appropriate. The current 45 mph speed limit changes to 30 mph without a transition zone. The segment has a school crossing and many bicycle/pedestrian activity areas. Recent crash history includes two bike crashes along this segment of roadway.

6. Upgrade Bike Lanes and Sidewalks on Woodard Bridge The design of bike lanes on the Woodard Bridge was also a major topic of conversation at the community workshop. Participant suggestions ranged from widening bike lanes and painting them green to building new separated structures. Based upon our review of the current design, it appears the bike lanes can be upgraded by reducing the widths of traffic lanes on the bridge and considering a speed limit reduction from 45 mph to 35 mph. Narrowing the traffic lanes to 10 feet would allow for 7-foot buffered bike lanes, similar to the recommended bike lanes at both ends of the bridge. As suggested at the workshop, the use of green paint will draw attention to the bike lanes, thus potentially improving cyclist visibility. As part of this upgrade, drainage on the bridge and on the sidewalks should be reviewed and improved to prevent standing water from accumulating in the bike lanes and on the sidewalks.

As part of these bicycle/pedestrian recommendations, consideration should be given to provide for the following elements:

· Safe transitions between all types of improvements;

· Wayfinding/direction signs for bicyclists;

· Improved pavement conditions, including drainage and roadway resurfacing to eliminate irregularities; and,

· Bike friendly grates and manholes.

These recommendations will be forwarded to the Hillsborough MPO Board which will then have to approve the study. A county representative said that they believes that most, if not all, of the study’s recommendations could be implemented the next time the road is scheduled to be resurfaced, according to transportation planners.