Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Trail will pass through downtown

City workers, from left, Rick Eads, Don Pittman and Robert Rogers prepare for footers that will support the trail’s expansion downtown.

DIRK SHADD | Times\uFEFF

City workers, from left, Rick Eads, Don Pittman and Robert Rogers prepare for footers that will support the trail’s expansion downtown.

Work on a 2.1-mile extension of the Pinellas Trail along the south side of First Avenue S into downtown St. Petersburg began last week.

The downtown spur, part of a countywide plan to grow the 34-mile recreational trail to 75 miles by 2020, will cost the city about $6-million, with a large part paid for through federal funding. It will connect the southern end of the trail at 34th Street to the downtown waterfront, creating an unobstructed route running from Tarpon Springs all the way through downtown St. Petersburg.

City workers began building the 4-foot-wide traffic medians, which will separate the recreational path from traffic lanes, near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Work will progress east to the waterfront near Demens Landing during the next couple of months. The trail will be 10 feet wide and narrow First Avenue S to three lanes along its route.

The trail should be ready for bikers and joggers in May, according to Joe Kubicki, director of St. Petersburg's transportation and parking department.

There were concerns that the extension would eliminate a significant amount of parking along the main thoroughfare, but the project will result in the loss of only about six spaces, according to city officials.

Evan Moray, St. Petersburg's parking manager, said some blocks will lose parking because of required sight lines or driveway accesses, but other blocks actually gained spaces.

"The idea was to maintain as many parking spaces as possible," he said. "We did lose a few, but the impact is small."

Despite the loss of some parking, John Long, president of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, called the trail's opening a long-awaited event that will ultimately benefit downtown.

"This is a real positive connection for people to exercise, whether it be walking or riding bikes," he said. "The opportunity for more folks to come into the business area and not have to drive, I think, will offset concerns of losing a few parking spaces."

Keith Lukat, the administrator of the Lutheran Apartments at 550 First Ave. S, said he didn't think local business owners were too worried about the impact of the bike path. He was the only person who attended a meeting between city officials and business people along the street held six months ago to discuss the trail. Lukat said the apartments will only lose one parking spot.

"I'm not that concerned about it," he said. "Some residents may have to walk a little further when they park, but the trail will benefit a lot of our residents who ride bikes."

The first 5-mile section of the Pinellas Trail between Taylor Park in Largo and Seminole Park opened in 1990. Primarily built along an abandoned CSX Railroad right of way, the trail stretches 34 miles from Tarpon Springs in northern Pinellas County to St. Petersburg in the south. About 90,000 people use the recreational path each month, according to county estimates.

>>by the numbers

Pinellas Trail

1990 the year the first 5-mile section of the trail was completed

34 trail's current

length in miles

$6 -million projected cost of the trail extension into downtown St. Petersburg

90,000 people estimated to use the Pinellas Trail each month

12 publicly accessible water fountains along the trail

88

street crossings

8

raised overpasses

Pinellas Trail will pass through downtown 03/08/08 [Last modified: Saturday, March 8, 2008 5:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut

    Blogs

    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview

    Hurricanes

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]