Getting Around Tampa’s Westshore District: Eco-Friendly Transportation Options

There’s a reason visitors from the North flock to our state this time of year—pleasant temperatures, low humidity, and sun-filled skies. For tourists and locals alike, it’s the perfect time to get outside. Cycling can be one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get outdoors and get moving.

Cycling is not only a great recreational activity, but it can also foster a health and lifestyle change for those who adopt it as their daily mode of transportation. A five-year study by the University of Glasgow of over 260,000 residents of Great Britain found that commuters who cycled to work had a 41% lower risk of dying from all causes than people who drove, with a 46% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer.

Not only is choosing to hop on a bike rather than slide behind the wheel better for your health, it’s also healthier for the environment. The University of California, Los Angeles projects that even a moderate increase in the number of people choosing bikes over cars could prevent the release of up to 14 million tons of carbon dioxide. Along with reducing air pollution, cycling can also reduce noise pollution, reduce the environmental impact and expense of large-scale road and highway construction, and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, all by reducing the number of cars on the road in favor of more bikes and bike paths.

MetWest bike parking

Tampa is on board with bikes and now has more than 100 miles of bike lanes within the urban core. The Westshore District has been part of this transformation, adding more sidewalks, bike lanes and trails for area businesses, residents, and visitors.

In addition, there are 10 bicycle-friendly businesses in Westshore, including Cigar City Brewing, REI, McKibbon Hospitality’s Avion Park Hotels and Tampa International Airport, the first airport to be recognized as bicycle-friendly. Bike commuters and customers at these locations have access to new and improved facilities for bike storage and parking like the bike parking and mural at MetWest development pictured above.

Westshore District residents and visitors alike enjoy biking the Courtney Campbell Trail. Not only does the trail connect Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, running parallel to the Courtney Campbell Causeway, but the Hillsborough side of the trail also runs through the Westshore District, connecting Ben T. Davis Beach, Skyway Park, and Cypress Point Park. Bike rentals are available at Ben T. Davis (along with kayak and paddle board rentals) from Sharkey's Water Sports/WhatSUP Paddle Sports, providing multiple ways to enjoy the Courtney Campbell Trail and views of Tampa Bay.

For residents wanting to ditch their cars and live the bike lifestyle, or simply walk between work and home, the Westshore District has added 10 miles of sidewalks over the last decade, and several major roadways within the District have added “Complete Streets” treatments like improved sidewalks, new bike lanes and Shared Lane Markings to ensure cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit can all share the road safely.

And for those times when biking just isn’t practical (after all, those summertime Florida thunderstorms can make biking to and from work challenging), there are other sustainable, environmentally friendly transportation options available in the Westshore District.

Three express bus routes and nine local routes of the HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority) line run through the Westshore District.

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) focuses on regional transportation needs with their Commute Tampa Bay, offering free services and information regarding carpooling, vanpooling, ride-sharing, park-and-ride locations, and even bikepooling—connecting bicycle commuters with one another and offering an Emergency Ride Home program when biking home isn’t possible due to illness or emergency.

The Westshore Alliance is an active partner of TBARTA’s Commute Tampa Bay, promoting programs that encourage and support commuting alternatives for the Westshore District and providing employers and employees in the District with information on their commuting options.

A wholistic approach to transportation—one that encompasses a local street network, bicycle paths, safe pedestrian access, accessible public transit, improved highways, and commuting alternatives—is key to making the Westshore District a thriving, future-focused community, one where you want to work, live, play, and stay.

For a complete look at the transportation improvements and projects that are planned, completed, and currently in motion for the Westshore District, check out this interactive Westshore Transportation Map.