Background and Vision
The Courtney Campbell Trail has become a showpiece for Tampa’s biking community, and many communities want to access it as we do. In response, a variety of opportunities to enhance and extend to the trail have been brought forward by City of Tampa, City of Clearwater, and Hillsborough County representatives.
Our civic association has been monitoring and providing input on the various trail extensions. We are excited about two recent projects extending the path on both the west and east ends of the trail. One is the Bayshore Trail, which extends access into Safety Harbor and to the Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail. The other project provides trail users access to Westshore Boulevard via the U-path and other extensions.
On the other hand, we felt initial plans provided by Hillsborough County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to extend the path north from Skyway Park contained critical flaws. Representatives of Dana Shores, Pelican Island, Bay Crest, and Twelve Oaks, along with senior leadership from Rocky Point Golf Course/Tampa Sports Authority, Scott Levinson representing the Tampa Bay Youth Football League (at Skyway Park), and others have invested a significant amount of time working together to vet both proposed and alternative plans. During this same time, Commissioner Murman has assisted us greatly, working with the MPO to help ensure our feedback was incorporated.
Building any type of bicycle path in Town ‘N Country is difficult due to traffic issues, existing construction, and current land use. At this point, we believe the MPO has developed the most viable solution based on these constraints and the publics’ input. The proposed plan contemplates improved sidewalks, raised intersections, bicycle lanes, traffic circles, trees, and other enhancements along George Road between Skyway Park and Johns Road, which would connect the Courtney Campbell Trail with the Town ‘N Country Greenway. Although this plan appears the most viable, it must also be considered in the broader scheme of Hillsborough County’s transportation needs and the current $750M budgetary shortfall with respect to road maintenance and safety. It will most likely be funded through a federal grant and would not be implemented prior to 2021.
In addition to focusing on trail extensions, we have also looked for opportunities to help improve the safety and quality of the existing trail. Our work with the City of Tampa and Bayport Plaza has resulted in the installation of a trashcan and lockable bollards along the path between Bayport Drive and Skyway Park. We worked with FDOT to extend the area covered by Rainmaker’s maintenance contract, encouraging regular clean up along the bike path between the Grand Hyatt and the former location of the Chart House. Likewise, we worked with Beach Bar to encourage regular trash pickup along the trail between their establishment and Ben T. Davis Beach. Lastly, we worked with FDOT and TPD to install and lock gates along the side access roads at night in order to enhance public safety.
Leaders within the civic association will continue monitoring the trail and providing community input and support as appropriate. If you would like to work with us, please let us know.