Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg plan for bike path worries Eckerd College

ST. PETERSBURG — The city is moving forward with a plan to extend its City Trails bike path in front of Eckerd College, despite school concerns that it is unsafe.

The pathway, part of a network of bike lanes and separate bike paths circling the city and connecting to the Pinellas Trail, is slated for the south side of the Pinellas Bayway, passing in front of the college's main entrance at 4200 54th Ave. S. As elsewhere, the City Trails system mostly uses city-owned rights of way.

At Eckerd, bicyclists who are headed west cross two roads: an eastbound exit ramp to the Bayway and the main two-lane entrance to the college. According to one study by the city, 700 cars, or about 11 vehicles per minute, passed through the main entrance in an hour one evening.

Citing that oncoming traffic, Eckerd College officials urged the city to put the path on the north side of Pinellas Bayway. A consultant Eckerd hired did a field visit and concluded that an "operational analysis" of the road should be done before the city builds the path.

This month, both sides exchanged letters and even had representatives meet. But this week, city workers were scouting the area in front of the college even though no agreement has been reached.

"They are not trying to work with us. They are trying to stonewall us whatever chance they get," said William McKenna Jr., the college's director of planning, development and construction. "We have these meetings and we have decisions, and they go away and do whatever they want to do."

Joe Kubicki, the city's director of transportation, countered that it is unsafe to build a bike path on the north side of the Pinellas Bayway because there is not enough room. Moreover, the state Department of Transportation approved designs for the path on the south side. The consultant hired by the city to design the plans, Bayside Engineering, already evaluated safety and operational standards, Kubicki said.

Kubicki said the discussion is not over. As a concession, the city has offered to remove the eastbound exit ramp and make changes to the median. Plans for the trail in front of Eckerd began a year ago, and school officials were always included, he said.

"We're not going to get to this for 60 days or so, so we have time to sit down and go over this," Kubicki said. "This trail is part of a statewide system. We have to build it. What we have to do is meet with them and make them as comfortable as they can be."

Eckerd College is not antibicycle. It recently expanded its Yellow Bike program, which puts about 300 shared bicycles on the 200-acre campus. Most students live on campus, but some ride bikes outside to shop.

McKenna said the school will encourage students to use the bike path, but to enter it at the secondary entrance on 37th Street.

Luis Perez can be reached at or (727) 892-2271.

Fast Facts

City Trails
at a glance

• 28 miles of separated paths connecting to Pinellas Trail

• Costs $30 million, or about $1 million a mile

• Includes 93 miles of street bike lanes

• Will be completed in late 2010

St. Petersburg plan for bike path worries Eckerd College 12/29/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 6:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The 10 silliest names for college football bowl games


    The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl hadn't even been officially announced when SBNation called it the silliest bowl name ever. Ten others worthy of consideration:

    Logo for the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. [MATT BAKER | Times]
  2. For starters: Rays looking for 3rd straight W



  3. Local craft beer of the week: Cherry Pastelitos, Coppertail Brewing Co. in Tampa

    Bars & Spirits

    On Saturday, Tampa's Coppertail Brewing Co. will celebrate its third anniversary with a Florida weisse festival, showcasing densely fruited tart wheat beers from more than a dozen Tampa Bay area breweries including, of course, many of its own brews in this summer-friendly style.

    Center: Coppertail Brewing’s Cherry Pastelitos. Flanking it are Coppertail’s BOMP (blood orange, mango, passionfruit), left, and Pinky Swear (pink lemonade-flavored).
  4. Here are the 20 most dangerous stretches of roadway in Hillsborough County


    A new study of severe crashes ranks a stretch of Brandon Boulevard as the most dangerous in Hillsborough County. The study, part of the Vision Zero Action Plan, lists the 20 most dangerous corridors. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |  Times
  5. USF football and the undefeated degree of difficulty


    TAMPA — In the wake of the latest solar eclipse, USF fans eagerly await the next astronomical phenomenon.

    USF head coach Charlie Strong leads his team during practice last month in Tampa. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]