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Commissioners approve new bicycle lanes in South County

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image New bicycle lanes are coming to Ruskin and Apollo Beach as a result of a Board of County Commissioners vote to allocate $3.1 million in developer impact fees to a fund for the lanes. Photo Mitch Traphagen

he Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted last week to make an investment in bicycle lanes in South Hillsborough.

By Mitch Traphagen

SOUTH COUNTY — The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted last week to make an investment in bicycle lanes in South Hillsborough. During the Jan. 9 BOCC meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to move $3.1 million collected from developers’ transportation impact fees into a fund for paved-shoulder bicycle lanes, primarily along 19th Avenue in Ruskin, building upon the plan of an east-west bicycle corridor running from U.S. 301 to E.G. Simmons Park, with the current allocation allowing for the portion from near I-75 to the park. The commission also approved adding a bicycle lane along Big Bend Road in Apollo Beach from U.S. 41 to the TECO Manatee Viewing Center.

Ruskin resident Mariella Smith was quick to praise the action of the board, and Commissioners Sandra Murman and Mark Sharpe in particular.

“We need to tell our County Commissioners that safe bicycle lanes and trails are important to MANY of us, if we want them to actually build the network of safe cycling infrastructure that is in our plans. We need to tell them we appreciate it when they do agree to build bike lanes & trails,” Smith posted to her blog. “Today we can make that point by thanking our Commissioners for their recent action that will add bike lanes to 19th Ave. in Ruskin, from 30th St. (near I-75), west to E.G. Simmons Park on Tampa Bay.”

Via Facebook, Commissioner Sharpe responded to Smith saying, “This is just the beginning. Please keep advocating for additional bike lanes.”

The motion for the transfer of funds to build the lanes was made by Commissioner Sandra Murman and was seconded by Commissioner Sharpe.

Hillsborough County Commissioners may be contacted via the web by visiting https://webapps.hillsboroughcounty.org/bocc.

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