DOWNTOWN — Ask bicycle advocate Alan Snel if Tampa is a bike-friendly city, and he'll give you a matter-of-fact answer.
"Tampa has a reputation of not having a large bicycle infrastructure," he said.
Tampa City Council member Linda Saul-Sena hopes to change that reputation.
But first, she says, city administrators need to change the way they think about bicyclists.
"We need to recognize bicycles are not just a recreational mode of transportation," she said.
On Feb. 26, Saul-Sena hosted a meeting to discuss improving infrastructure for cyclists in Tampa. She invited advocates including Snel, who is the director of the South West Florida Bike United Dealers.
Reforming Tampa's reputation as a bad city for bicyclists became a central topic of discussion.
After the meeting, Saul-Sena wrote a memo, which she will present to the City Council. The memo asks council members to request that the mayor's office appoint an employee in the city's Department of Transportation to become an advocate for bicycle planning and implementation.
A similar position exists in the city's department of parks and recreation. But, as the city's view on bicycles changes, the position should shift, Saul-Sena says.
"Bicycling is a key to the city's healthy future," she said.
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