Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin bike lanes idea gains traction

DUNEDIN — No final decisions were made on a controversial proposal to paint bike lanes along Pinehurst Road, but early indications point to a win for bicycle enthusiasts who turned out Thursday in support of Dunedin's new bicycle connectivity master plan.

About 20 people — including Pinehurst area residents, a bike shop owner and avid cyclists from around the county — attended a city workshop where staff unveiled the master plan.

The meeting was aimed at gauging the public's interest in redirecting federal grant money that was initially earmarked for a multi-use sidewalk trail along Pinehurst. Residents angrily shot down that proposal in July, saying the sidewalk-widening project would have meant messy construction and traffic woes.

But the Florida Department of Transportation said Dunedin couldn't transfer the grant to another part of the city and gave officials until Dec. 5 to choose one of two options: Use the money to paint bike lanes, or return it to the state.

So the city moved its bicycle master plan workshop up from February, hoping to show residents how Pinehurst bike lanes might fit into the overarching plan for bikers and pedestrians.

The opinions of the 10 people who took to the lectern Thursday were split.

Those in favor of the plan pointed to the potential economic benefit of touting Dunedin as a bicycle-friendly city to prospective residents and vacationers. Unlike sidewalk trails, they said, bike lanes are more likely to alert drivers to watch for cyclists.

Opponents focused mainly on speeders who disobey Pinehurst's 35 mph speed limit. Cyclists can legally use sidewalks, which some said they saw as safer for students. But one resident worried that children, who travel to school at the same time as some adults leave for work, might disregard laws that say they must yield at driveways.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," said Pinehurst resident Marilyn Moser.

Others had mixed emotions.

Bill Dye of Michigan Boulevard is an avid cyclist who said he moved to Dunedin because of its trails and has logged nearly 100,000 miles. Dye said he agrees with the experts and the statistics city staff cited showing on-road bike lanes are safer than sidewalk trails. His wife, however, is among folks who won't use bike lanes because she feels uncomfortable riding so close to cars.

"You can build the safest one," he said, "but what good is it going to do you if people aren't comfortable using it?"

Commissioners will discuss the grant again at their regular meeting this Thursday. In general, they said they were "excited" about the overall citywide plan.

However, Commissioner David Carson said the Pinehurst proposal "to me, is a dead issue" following this summer's neighborhood opposition.

Mayor Dave Eggers, Vice Mayor Ron Barnette and Commissioner Julie Scales, on the other hand, said residents' complaints about safety convinced them that bike lanes, as well as signs and other measures that promote motorist awareness, are just what Pinehurst needs.

Cyclists "do use that road and we need to improve their odds for their using it in a safe manner," Barnette said. "We need to tell people to slow down. This is not just a vehicle community. It's a pedestrian community and a bicycle community."

Either way, officials agreed that there is more work to be done. They want to hold several public meetings to get resident feedback before any bike facilities are installed anywhere.

"Let them know how they and their property will be affected," Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski said. "Those are things we really learned upset people, especially if they don't think they're in on the discussion. Now you have to really go out and sell the package."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at ksummers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

>>on the web

Project aims for some connectivity

Read Dunedin's citywide bicycle master plan at http://bit.ly/vE9ora. Watch video of Thursday's discussion at http://bit.ly/tp5a8k.

Dunedin bike lanes idea gains traction 11/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]