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New sidewalks part of St. Petersburg's CityTrails plan

Could you tell me why the city is tearing up perfectly good sidewalks and installing new wide sidewalks along 37th Street from 22nd Avenue S to at least 50th Avenue S? It seems wasteful in this time of austerity.

Sue Nitsos

Mike Frederick, St. Petersburg's manager of transportation planning, says that the widening work along 37th Street is the final link in the regional Skyway Trail, which connects with the Pinellas Trail to the north and the Bayway Trail to the south.

"The trails network was developed as part of St. Petersburg's CityTrails Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan that was adopted by City Council in 2003 to provide better facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout St. Petersburg. Individual projects within the plan, such as the 37th Street Trail section of the Skyway Trail, have been largely funded by federal grants that require us to design and build the path according to federal design standards that require them to be a minimum of 12 feet wide, which has resulted in the removal of the existing sidewalk,'' Frederick said.

Construction of the final leg of the Skyway Trail is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 30.

Could you please find out why the little bridge south of Old Coachman Road about halfway to Drew Street in Clearwater has not been replaced or even talked about as far as I know? It's very old and extremely narrow and sits right where the road curves. Two large vehicles such as SUVs or pickup trucks cannot safely pass. The concrete sides of the bridge have been hit and scraped so many times that there is little left; they are crumbling as well as the roadway. Old Coachman Road itself has been widened and improved on both sides of the bridge yet the bridge itself remains in terrible condition.

Nick Stratis

We contacted Paul Bertels, Clearwater's traffic manager, and asked him to fill us in on the current state of the bridge and any plans to repair it. Bertels said the bridge is on the Pinellas County budget to be replaced sometime in 2014. "It is actually a county-owned bridge and is in good shape from a structural perspective, but does not meet current width and pedestrian requirements,'' Bertels said.

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

New sidewalks part of St. Petersburg's CityTrails plan 11/24/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 6:20pm]
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