Thomas Locke Remembered
Tom Locke talking about alternative transportation during Commuter Choices Week, USF 2002
Dear New North Transportation Alliance Members & Friends,
With great sadness, we report that Thomas Locke, General Manager of the University Mall and Vice Chair of the New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA), passed away Monday, July 1, 2013. A memorial celebration will be held Friday, July 19, 2013, 5:00 PM at the University Area Development Center, 14013 North 22nd Street, Tampa, Florida 33613.
If it were not for the abiding interest, leadership and advocacy by Tom Locke over the years, going back to 1994, the New North Transportation Alliance would not have accomplished all that it has. Tom was long-time Chair and Vice Chair of NNTA, formerly known as the University North Transportation Initiative (UNTI).
Tom had developed a large network of contacts in the community business arena. Having moved recently from Chicago, he was aware of the effects that rapid urbanization has upon the transportation system and mobility of the community. He was well attuned to the needs of private businesses in the area, especially on issues of transportation access, employee recruitment and retention, and safety. He became personally involved in other related issues, primarily regional planning activities that will set the course of major transportation investments for the next forty years. This involvement made him well known and respected in the transportation community and articulate about the issues. Tom’s participation in NNTA has been responsible for much of the momentum and focus of the organization. He understood the importance of reminding NNTA members periodically of its many accomplishments.
In NNTA’s earlier history, Tom had provided the University Mall as a location for the former University North Commuter Center, a one-stop shop for transportation information and HART bus tickets during the 1990’s. Tom provided the University Mall as the location for Alternative Transportation Week special events and the location for BikeLids parking at a time when few businesses considered providing bicycle parking facilities for their employees and customers.
In partnership with USF, Tom initiated and provided support for the Mall Express, a noon-time shuttle service between USF and the University Mall. This later expanded into the USF Bull Runner.
Tom advocated for the development of a multimodal transportation system and he addressed the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners about the transportation needs in our service area. Tom actively reached out to the Hillsborough MPO to include UNTI and the other transportation management organizations in the MPO Transportation Improvement Program.
Tom facilitated meetings and discussions about a host of local transportation issues, including the proposed East/West Connector, Bruce B. Downs Blvd. corridor safety, and the need for bike lanes on 42nd Street.
Early in Tom’s tenure as Chair, he was recognized by then Tampa City Councilman Bob Buckhorn for his civic activities. Tom was a member of the Committee of 99, an advisory group to the Hillsborough County Commission that considered various transportation improvement scenarios during the late 1990’s. Ten years later, he served as a stakeholder to the Light Rail Alternatives Analysis and for HART’s MetroRapid bus rapid transit service. More recently, Tom advocated tirelessly on behalf of the completion of multimodal street and safety improvements to 22nd Street as part of his work with our partner, the University Area Community Development Corporation. It was Tom’s idea to hold the Transportation EXPO at USF in September 2010.
Through Tom’s devoted advocacy, the New North area continues to improve for its residents and commuters. His support for the good work of the NNTA was consistent and enthusiastic, resulting in many transportation choice improvements with more yet to be realized in the years to come. We will miss Tom’s leadership and persona tremendously.
Barbara S. Donerly, RA, AICP, LEED AP
Assistant Director, USF Facilities Planning & Construction