Group envisions 'green artery' of bike trails around Tampa - FOX 13 News

Group envisions 'green artery' of bike trails around Tampa

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Each year, dozens of pedestrians are killed on roads in Florida. A Tampa-based grassroots group is now trying to turn the state's bad reputation around.

Organizers with the group Green Artery believe right now, there's no safe way to cycle around the city.

"You're in Florida! People drive like they're crazy. They don't pay attention," said Green Artery member Rhonda Coleman.

The group wants to link 20 central Tampa neighborhoods with bike trails. The paths would connect green spaces and parks that already exist. The proposed loop stretches 20 square miles, with paths spanning everywhere from Seminole Heights, Historic Ybor, downtown Tampa, and Channelside.

"We feel like we're kinda trapped here. If we want to go to West Tampa, or we want to go to the University of South Florida, there's really no safe way," said Green Artery member Myron Griffin.

Recent statistics rank Hillsborough County as the highest in Florida for bicycle fatalities. But with one, continuous trail, some say more people might feel safe enough to ride.

"There's many, many people in the city of Tampa who want to ride a bicycle. We'll get them going if there are safe and enjoyable places to ride," said bicyclist Alan Snel.

The plan has already been proposed to the city's Parks & Recreation Department and has the support of Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

"I think it's great. There are so many little jewels within the city, and all it is is connecting the dots," Mayor Buckhorn said Thursday.

Organizers hope to gather enough support and funding to get pathways paved by 2020.

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