TREASURE ISLAND — By October, residents should be able to enjoy a new bicycle trail that will link the newly completed Central Beach Trail on Gulf Boulevard to roads leading to the Pinellas Trail.
The $397,449 project will include improvements to the intersection of 104th, 107th and 108th avenues as well as milling and resurfacing of 104th Avenue. Public Works Director Jim Murphy said Tuesday that the contract with Ajax Paving Industries should be signed within 10 days, with construction expected to start in July.
The city has spent about a year working on the project, which includes widening the sidewalk at Treasure Island Park along 104th Avenue and on the south side of Causeway Boulevard from 4 feet to 10 feet. New pedestrian crosswalks and beacons will be installed at the intersection of 108th, 107th and 104th avenues.
The sharp angle at the 108th and 107th Avenue intersection will be eliminated and turned into a T-intersection, City Manager Reid Silverboard said.
"Recreational bikers will be separated from traffic all the way to the Pinellas Trail and then to points north or to downtown St. Petersburg," he said.
The new trail also will allow Paradise Island residents to bicycle or walk to the beach or downtown without having to rely on a car, Reid said.
The project is making the city more pedestrian friendly, Murphy said.
"We hope to make it more attractive to Pinellas Trail users so they can come over here to enjoy our amenities," he said.
The city of St. Petersburg is working on a bicycle trail extension that would directly connect the Pinellas Trail to the Treasure Island beach trail, said Joe Kubicki, director of transportation and parking management for the city.
Several options are being considered, Kubicki said. One would connect the Treasure Island Causeway to the Pinellas Trail on the north side of Pasadena Elementary on 72nd Street. Another would connect the causeway to the trail at First Avenue S or Central Avenue.
"We are in the planning stages now and will be meeting with neighbors and businesses in the area to talk about the options," Kubicki said.
The planning and design of the estimated mile-and-a-half extension is expected to cost $150,000 and will be funded by a federal grant, he said.
It's hoped that another grant will pay for construction of the extension, which is planned for 2015, Kubicki said.