The University of South Florida (USF) closed a campus street to vehicular traffic for the second annual USF Transportation Day. The transportation celebration focused on sustainable, multi-use, and non-car commuting options in the Tampa Bay region, including bicycles, scooters, and electric vehicles. This car-free zone allowed event-goers to visit vendor booths and play games throughout the afternoon event.

USF Vice President for Administrative Services Calvin Williams races to mount his bicycle on the Bull Runner

The event began with remarks from USF President Steven Currall, FDOT District 7 Secretary David Gwynn, USF College of Engineering Dean Dr. Robert H. Bishop, CUTR Director Dr. Robert L. Bertini, and USF Student Body President Britney Deas. The leaders spoke on the importance of innovation and safety during the “ribbon closing” ceremony. Community leaders joined together to tie-off the road with ribbon and symbolically close the street to vehicles before taking off on a campus bike tour with President Currall.

“We’re excited to host USF Transportation Day,” said event organizer and CUTR researcher Julie Bond. “Safe, sustainable transportation options in Tampa Bay allow everyone to work, play, and live in our beautiful city.”

With over 20 vendors to answer questions, play games, and offer resources, event participants learned about the importance of quitting the single-occupant gas-powered car commute. Several electric scooter and bicycle companies demonstrated safe riding techniques and gave away helmets, while Electrify the South brought two zero tailpipe emission Tesla vehicles for test-drives and demonstrations. Local USF student organizations and clubs, including USF Institute of Transportations Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter, spoke to students about the future of transportation, and the Student Planning Organization asked event-goers to write down their hopes for USF transportation.

Visitors shared their vision for transportation on USF campus

“It made me hopeful to hear leaders like President Currall and Secretary Gwynn talk about reaching ambitious multimodal transportation goals,” said Dayna Lazarus, a local transportation advocate and planner, as she wrote down her hopes for local transportation initiatives.

“We hope everyone can take a piece of Transportation Day home with them,” said Bond. “Whether it be carpooling on Fridays or pledging to bike to work for March, everyone can make small changes to their routine!”

The annual event attracted hundreds of visitors and students to information booths and games, and plans are underway for the 2021 event.

The event is hosted by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and College of Engineering at the University of South Florida (Tampa Campus), Element Engineering Group, Bike/ Walk Tampa Bay, and the Florida Department of Transportation District 7.

 

Written by: Christina Van Allen

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