Clearwater designing creative project to address pedestrian safety

North Marina area will see improvements
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 18:25:29-05

Phil Shields and his wife Judy are retirees who enjoy bicycling.

"At our age, we want to stay healthy and live a few more years, you know," said Phil Shields.

The couple recently moved to downtown Clearwater and have noticed cycling can be down right dangerous.  They recently had a close call with a driver while riding in the bike lane.

"They have it clearly painted on the road surface east and west. Which obviously means to me, vehicles share the road with bikes and bikes share with vehicles. We had a lady a couple weeks ago, who just didn't believe in that, and she laid one on me," said Shields.

The city's working to make corridors beyond downtown more accessible and attractive. 

On Fort Harrison Street in Clearwater, the center turn lane will be removed. That will allow for parking spaces to be added on one side of the road. On the other side, the sidewalk will be expanded with creative painting, landscaping and a buffer, that will not only look good, but also keep everyone who travels through the area, safe.

"It's dominated by automobiles. You don't have a space for pedestrians. So that's why we're going to have this area with a nice sidewalk, put out the flex posts and the planters, and dedicate it to pedestrians. There will also be benches to sit back and relax," said Clearwater neighborhoods coordinator Lawrence Young.

The North Marina project will also add new signage and bike lanes to some streets and improved sidewalks.  It's all designed to make it easier and more enjoyable to walk and cycle in the area.

The city's also hoping it plants a seed for other positive changes.

"We hope to attract developers. We hope this area comes alive and that people appreciate it," said Young.

If you want to learn more about the North Marina project, there's a community meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11.  It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Clearwater Main Library, Room A.