A TRANSPORTATION PLAN FOR ALL OF US
The decisions we make over the next four years will impact Tampa and Hillsborough County for decades to come, and we have one chance to get it right. Taxpayers have entrusted our elected officials to invest precious dollars in transportation and infrastructure improvements, and it is our responsibility to take a big picture approach and invest prudently and with public input and transparency.
Tampa’s next Mayor will serve as the City’s voice on the boards of the MPO, HART, TBARTA, the Port Authority, the Expressway Authority and Aviation Authority and speak on behalf of Tampa as decisions are made about investments in major transit projects. The next Mayor will set the agenda for transit and transportation planning in the City of Tampa, and establish priorities for transportation spending in the City’s budget. It is critical that voters understand where candidates for this office stand on transportation priorities at both the city and county levels.
As Tampa’s next Mayor, Harry Cohen will be the region’s leading voice in implementing the mandate of All for Transportation in both the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County. He will use his experience as Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Chair of the MPO Policy Committee, Chair of the MPO’s Transportation Disability Coordinating Board and as an advocate on Tampa City Council for streetcar modernization/expansion to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent consistent with the principles adopted in the MPO’s Vision 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP):
=>Safety is our number one priority.
=>Economic development, access to employment centers and congestion relief are goals of an effective transportation network.
=>Conservation, environmental concerns, and historic preservation are impacts to be considered when making transportation decisions.
=>All reasonable modes of connectivity should be considered – and all parts of the city should be served, with an emphasis on historically underserved neighborhoods, people of color, the disabled and proximity to schools.
=>Better transportation solutions should be coordinated with land use policies and anticipated growth patterns- not just react to sprawl.
=>Maintenance of the current system and operations are a primary not secondary objective.
We must make decisions deliberately, based on clearly articulated goals and principles, with transparency and respect for community values.
BETTER COMMUTES & BETTER STREETS
The vast majority of Tampa residents and workers will continue to travel by car. Harry Cohen believes that it is critical that we maintain and improve our existing streets, use smart technology to reduce gridlock, and ensure that our streets are safe for drivers and pedestrians by implementing Vision Zero principles with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities in Tampa.
=>Continue investing in an Advanced Traffic Management System to improve traffic flow at Tampa’s intersections and convert the entire existing transportation network into a smart city network. This will improve timing at lights at over 550 intersections.
=>Redesign existing streets, when appropriate, to reduce speeding through residential neighborhoods. Add left turn lanes, when appropriate, to improve traffic flow.
=>Repave Tampa’s streets every 25 years instead of every 75, and accelerate existing repaving schedule.
=>Continue to repair all reported potholes in a matter of days.
=>Invest in streetscape improvements, including additional benches, planters and flowerbeds, to beautify our streets.
=>Reorganize and add resources to the Parking Division to better enforce existing parking laws and reduce the impact of commercial and higher density development near residential neighborhoods.
BETTER BIKING, SAFER SIDEWALKS
The Tampa Bay Region ranks consistently and unacceptably high on annual reports of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. At the same time, a growing number of Tampa residents are using bikes or walking as a primary mode of travel. Thousands of Tampa children walk to school everyday. As we build a world-class transit system, hundreds of thousands of trips will be made by people walking or biking to a station. We must take concrete steps to make travel safer for pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the City of Tampa.
=>Invest in making streets safer for pedestrians by adding proven traffic-calming measures, add over 90 additional flashing-beacon crosswalks Citywide, install hundreds of miles of new sidewalks, and improving existing sidewalks. Complete five miles of new sidewalks every year (up from ½ mile) prioritizing walking routes close to schools.
=>Complete the planned trail and bike lane system in the City’s Walk/Bike Plan connecting our neighborhoods.Work with CSX and the Expressway Authority to build a multimodal bike/pedestrian trail connecting Port Tampa City to Downtown Tampa and Downtown Tampa to New Tampa.
=>Increase the number of bike racks in commercial areas, and require bike racks at all new transit-oriented multi-family and commercial developments.
=>Work with neighborhoods to improve streetscapes and keep sidewalks and rights-of-way clean of litter.
=>Integrate pedestrian and bicycle travel into the overall transportation plan to connect with transit.
WORLD-CLASS TRANSIT FOR EVERYONE
Tampa’s next mayor needs to lead the fight in Hillsborough County for a transit system that meets our needs as we grow. Harry Cohen will use the bully pulpit of the Mayor’s office to be the region’s leading voice in advocating for a public transportation system that is a shining jewel Tampa can be proud of, and that provides premium service to all residents regardless of neighborhood or socioeconomic status.
Harry Cohen will work with regional, state, and federal partners to maximize resources and ensure that our transit system is safe, clean, dependable, reliable, and large enough to provide a travel option to all residents in the City. As Tampa’s Mayor, Harry Cohen will work to:
=>Make securing rights to the CSX corridor a top priority and identify other corridors for fixed-route lines.
=>Complete planned expansion and modernization of the streetcar system, connected to a Downtown Central Station, into the Heights with the possibility of expanding service to other neighborhoods.
=>Build a Downtown Central Station. The Downtown Central Station will eventually serve as a connection point for high-speed rail (like Brightline), regional commuter rail (like a connection to Pinellas-Pasco, West Shore, Tampa International Airport and/or USF), local light rail (a modernized and expanded streetcar), HART Express Bus service, local HART bus service, commuter bus service, and long-distance bus service. Until an East-West route is finalized, HART can operate shuttle service to the airport.
=>Fight to expand HART routes to cover the entire City of Tampa with a reliable bus service grid, work with HART to upgrade existing transfer stations, and eventually build multimodal hubs along fixed-route transit lines from Westshore to New Tampa to connect local bus service customers, drivers, and bikers with access to transit.
=>Improve the public transportation experience by working in partnership with HART and FDOT to add small air-conditioned stations with BRT amenities and signal-priority along express routes. Some stations could include commercial areas for walk-up coffee counters or newsstands. The success of a world-class public transit system depends on having a quality travel experience from station to destination, and this means having clean and safe stops throughout the entire system with adequate funding for regular maintenance.
=>Work with the Expressway Authority & HART to add a “South Tampa Express” service connecting MacDill to Downtown, with stations throughout the peninsula, and work with FDOT to add BRT to Florida & Nebraska.
=>Revisit the City’s Land Use Code and Comprehensive Plan to encourage transit-oriented development so that housing, jobs, and retail shops are closer to transit stops, and to incentivize affordable housing for mixed-income levels. This means integrating transportation, land-use planning, and economic development.
=>Recognize the impact that transit stops can have on accelerating gentrification, and mitigate this by integrating planning for transportation and affordable housing. Harry Cohen will include neighborhood voices in this process, listen, and work with them to address their concerns.