Citizen support needed (again) for South Coast Greenway
Please send letters (sample letter below) to County Commissioners to ask them to begin building the South Coast Greenway, a paved multi-use bicycle-pedestrian trail which has been planned for decades to connect south Hillsborough communities from Ruskin to Tampa. The time to ask for funding is right now, as the commission is setting the county budget for the next two years.
Here’s my sample letter:
Click here to set up all email addresses + subject, then write your own message or copy & paste it in from the sample, and add your name & address.
To Hillsborough County Commissioners:
Ken Hagan <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mark Sharpe <email@example.com>, Sandy Murman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kevin Beckner <email@example.com>, Al Higginbotham <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Les Miller <email@example.com>, Victor Crist <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: South Coast Greenway should be funded in county budget
Please move the South Coast Greenway item from the unfunded “Opportunities” list to the Funded Projects list in the County Budget, to allocate funding to it so it can actually be built. (see page 15, “Capital Investment Project Opportunities,” Budget in Brief … Recommended County Budget for FY 14 – FY 15)
The South Coast Greenway paved bicycle-pedestrian trail has been on county plans since 1995. It is in the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2035 Plan’s “Cost Affordable” list of projects planned for funding. Moreover, it is prioritized within the top 20% of those projects.
All 6 segments of this paved trail are prioritized in the MPO Plan, but only 1 segment is anywhere in the County Budget, and that first segment (Phase I) is only listed as an “Opportunity” — which means the funding has not yet been assigned to it, nor to ANY of the 5 segments of this trail which require public funding. (Phase II is developer-funded by Waterset.)
Many citizens and community representatives have shown up at many hearings and meetings, and written many letters to get this project in all our county plans, yet it remains on the drawing board year after year. It is time to fulfill the promises made when these plans were adopted, and begin building this project.
This paved trail is not only for recreation, it is for safe transportation.
Our roads are among the deadliest in the nation for bicyclists & pedestrians. Safe biking & walking paths are imperative. With oil getting more costly and dangerous to obtain, our multi-modal transportation plan must include non-motorized alternatives, which run on infrastructure that is much cheaper to build & maintain than rail & roads.
The South Coast Greenway will connect several schools and the South Shore campus of HCC (see map). These schools need safe bicycling routes for their students. Together with its network of connecting on-road bikeways, the paved trail will connect businesses & town centers, libraries and other daily-errand destinations, and link several ecotourist sites (parks & preserves, rivers, public beaches) making it attractive to visitors and valuable to residents.
Supporters of the South Coast Greenway include:
> South Shore Round Table
(an alliance of all the chambers & civic organizations of Riverview,
Gibsonton, Balm, Wimauma, Sun City Center, Apollo Beach & Ruskin)
> Ruskin Community Development Foundation
> SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicyclists United with Dealers)
> Tampa Bay Sierra Club
> Hillsborough Community College South Shore Campus administration
> South Shore Democratic Club
> Boyette Springs Home Owners Association
> and many south county citizens from Sun City Center to Ruskin
County plans which include the South Coast Greenway:
> Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2035 Plan
> South Shore Areawide Systems Plan
> Bicycle Area Mobility (BAM) network
> Greenways Master Plan
> Ruskin Community Plan
> Apollo Beach Community Plan
> Gibsonton Community Plan
The community and business organizations which support this Greenway are counting on you to see this project through, which should begin by moving Phase I into the next 2-year budget. Because Phase I connects Shell Point Rd. & 19th Ave, closing the loop for the soon-to-be built bike lanes on those two roads (approved by the County Commission on Jan. 9, 2013) and Phase I connects with the developer-funded Phase II through Waterset which should be completed before the rest of the phases, this is the perfect place to start.
(your name & address)