Urban bike trail expands in downtown, Ybor City areas

The city of Tampa has opened another segment of its 3.4 mile Green Spine Bicycle Path expected to improve safety and connect West Tampa to VM Ybor. 

The overall project, expected to cost more than $6.2 million, is slated for completion in 2025. It will connect the Riverwalk to a number of destinations including Vila Brothers Park, Tampa Union Station, Historic Ybor, and Cuscaden Park.

“We are trying to expand our low stress, walk-bike network.” explains Brandie Miklus, city Infrastructure and Mobility Program Coordinator. “... having a cycle track like this, where it’s separating bicyclist from motor vehicle traffic, is a game changer.”

The latest segment of the walk, along Nuccio Parkway from Nebraska Avenue downtown to 7th Avenue in Ybor City, opened earlier this month, Florida Bike Month. The contractor was Bun Construction Company of Tampa.

Kisinger Campo & Associates, or KCA, which has a Tampa office, has designed this latest phase as well as other parts of it.
 
“Safety is our No. 1 [goal]. We want to reduce fatalities on our roadways,” Miklus says.

The path was originally identified through the InVision Tampa City Center plan. It was intended to improve foot and bicycle access between the neighborhoods, including North Hyde Park, downtown, and Ybor City.

 

Work began on the three-phase project in 2013. It opened on Cass Street from the Poe Garage to Nebraska Avenue the following year.

The path currently is open at Rome Avenue and Cass Street, running east into downtown and ending at 7th Avenue. Plans call for an extension of the path from 7th Avenue up to 21st Avenue on 15th Street, and connecting to Cascaden Park in VM Ybor. On the western end, the path is to stretch along Cass Street from Howard to Rome avenues.

As the city was developing its mobility plan, it heard from citizens how they wanted to travel around Tampa.

“We heard overwhelmingly folks want to walk and bike more,” Miklus says. “They may not be choosing walking or biking because they don’t think it’s a safe or comfortable choice.”

The city also is planning to broaden bike access on Platt Street. It is expected to advertise this summer for a design-build contract for one-way cycling path on Platt Street from Rome Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard. The overall price is anticipated at $30 million, with $24 million financed by a Federal Highway Administration Grant.

The West River Build Grant Project also includes improvements on Rome Avenue and Columbus Drive. Work is expected to begin in 2024 and be “substantially completed” by the end of 2026, Miklus says. 

A little bit of trail already exists on the west side of the Hillsborough River.

“This project is going to be filling in the gaps, connecting the west side of the river with a nice trail,” she adds.

If you would like to learn more or share feedback about mobility with city officials, visit the Tampa MOVES website.


 

Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune