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Federal funds are paying for Tierra Verde sidewalks, bike trails

Construction of a sidewalk and bike trail on Tierra Verde, connecting to the existing bike trail at Fort De Soto Park, has been under way for a couple of months and has attracted attention from readers wondering who's paying for it.

Reader Robert Entwistle, a resident of Tierra Verde, wrote the Doc: "It seems to be a colossal waste of money. A far better use of this money would have been to widen the road to the Fort De Soto toll, he said.

Kris Carson of the DOT told us that the Tierra Verde project is being constructed with Federal Highway Administration funds earmarked for smaller projects such as sidewalks.

"The use of transportation enhancement funds nationwide was authorized under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (1991) and continued under more recent transportation bills. Funds of this type cannot be used for highway construction," Carson said. The funds are set aside specifically for such enhancements as sidewalks and bike trails.

The sidewalk is being constructed by Pinellas County with some oversight by the DOT.

Here's how the funding works: the DOT channels the federal funds through the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, which sets the priority for how the funds will be allocated.

The DOT and the county then enter into a reimbursement agreement that allows the county to design and construct the project.

Carson said the county and the DOT work with communities based on requests and needs, and this is how this particular project came about.

Brain Smith, executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, said this project will provide safe sidewalks and trails for pedestrians and cyclists and get them off the road and out of danger from the increasingly heavy traffic in the area. There is also a plan for a trail network on the east side of the Pinellas Bayway, which is part of the county's long-range transportation plan.

22nd avenue n

Resurfacing scheduled but won't occur till 2010

What is the deal with 22nd Avenue N? The Doc regularly travels 22nd as do many of you. Complaints of ruts, potholes and uneven pavement come in weekly. Reader James Flynn summed it up: "When is the city going to repave 22nd Avenue N from Tyrone Boulevard to 49th Street? It's a disgrace!"

We checked in with engineers at the city and the news is good and bad. Yes, the road is scheduled to be resurfaced. But not until the early part of 2010. Engineers are evaluating construction methods for this stretch of road, which, they tell us, involve rehabilitating the supporting base under the roadway in order to extend the life of the pavement.

old northeast

Residents steamed over parking on sidewalks

An ugly trend is spreading in the Old Northeast neighborhood according to some residents: vehicles being parked on sidewalks.

The Doc took a spin through the neighborhood last week and noted a half dozen vehicles parked on sidewalks on one street alone and even more blocking pedestrian access to sidewalks by parking on corners. Not only is this practice inconsiderate and dangerous, it's illegal.

legislative update

Some crosswalks to get stop signs on July 1

A pedestrian safety bill was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist last week. Beginning July 1, the word "yield" will be replaced by "stop" on signs at certain crosswalks statewide. This means that motorists will be required to stop at intersections with traffic control signals, or some crosswalks, to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk.

For more information on the bill, check out this link: myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=37155&SessionId=57.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

Federal funds are paying for Tierra Verde sidewalks, bike trails 05/31/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2008 2:08pm]
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