By CHRIS GEORGE
Tampa Bay Newspapers
LARGO – City leaders continue to give the green light to road improvement projects they say will make streets safer and easier to traverse for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The latest project that has moved to the next step after City Commission approval is the first phase of the Rosery Road reconstruction, which intends to make a number of repairs and improvements to the corridor's 0.8-mile stretch from the Pinellas Trail to Missouri Avenue.
Phase 2 will provide similar improvements between Missouri Avenue and Eagle Lake Park.
Engineer consultant Peter Nikolov of Clearwater-based Pennoni Associates told commissioners during a recent work session that completion of the project will transform Rosery Road.
"That's going to provide a great connection for anybody traveling or traversing this particular area from the Pinellas Trail all the way to Eagle Lake Park and back," he said. "So, it's a great, great connection and continuity."
The scope of the first phase of the project, which Nikolov estimates will cost about $6.1 million, includes:
• Reconstruction of the existing roadway;
• A median island with midblock crossing near the Shangri-La and Teakwood Village West mobile home parks;
• A 10-foot path on the south side of the road;
• A 5-foot sidewalk on the north side of the road, with ADA improvements on both sides, including a sidewalk crossing at the CSX railroad tracks;
• Bicycle accommodations;
• Stormwater and sanitary sewer improvements
Construction, however, is still far off. Nikolov said the project is in the design phase and work will not begin until the end of next year.
Nikolov said the recommendations are based on public feedback from meetings at nearby mobile home parks and from an online and direct-mailed questionnaire to residents in the vicinity.
"The residents out there want a separated bike path," he said. "They want to fix all the drainage and the pavement condition out there because there's a lot of localized flooding that's occurring. They want to fix the CSX crossing."
He said the stretch of road in front of the Aldi grocery store at 1177 Missouri Ave. prompted some of the biggest concerns from residents.
Commissioner John Carroll, who called the project ''fantastic," said safety improvements are necessary because of an increase in commercial activity and foot traffic.
"You'll make a lot of people happy if you get rid of those bollards and no U-turn signs," he said. "I mean that's almost comical to sit out there and watch what goes on."
Nikolov agreed, adding that they are also considering a midblock crossing and a landscaped median that could serve as a safe haven for pedestrians.
"There's so much conflict in turning movements here that it's really something that really needs to get fixed, and this project is going to fix that," he said.
The public will have more opportunities to provide input, he added. A public meeting will be held sometime after November, and when they reach the 60-90 percent design stage, a final meeting will be held where engineers will inform the public about what to expect from construction.
Photo courtesy of CITY OF LARGO
The first phase of the Rosery Road reconstruction project aims to make a number of repairs and improvements to the corridor's 0.8-mile stretch from the Pinellas Trail to Missouri Avenue.