PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Homeowners who live near the Countryside Mall in Clearwater reached out to ABC Action News about the new plans for the north loop extension of the Pinellas Trail.
The county has been working to extend the multi-use pathway trail to make it a continuous 75-mile regional trail network. As part of that project, the county needs to fill the north and south gaps that currently exist.
However, neighbors say the county has not listened to their concerns about the location for the north loop extension that would put the trail behind residential homes and under a series of high voltage power lines.
Bruce Rumble said his neighbors are strongly opposed to the idea, saying they even went to the public meetings to voice their opposition.
"The county's not being very open to everybody as they say they are," he said.
Rumble sent us a photo of the letter he received from the county about the project, saying it's not very clear to the average person and it does not properly illustrate where the path is.
Rumble wants the county to see that people are upset about the plans, so he started a petition to send to county leaders.
He just started it this week and has received at least two dozen signatures in the first few days.
"Everybody in my neighborhood has signed it, we just need to get the word out," said Rumble.
A county spokesperson tells us they reached out to the community for public feedback repeatedly.
By email, they wrote:
Pinellas County conducted a very thorough public information campaign about the Pinellas Trail Loop North Gap construction project that included a well-attended Neighborhood Information Meeting on Nov. 13. During that open house, large maps and other project information were shared, a looping video was shown, and several staff members, including virtually all of the project experts, answered questions and accepted feedback. Community reaction to the project was overwhelmingly positive.
Rumble said he worries about pedestrians crossing over major roads like Curlew and SR 580. The county has plans to add a traffic signal at the location on SR 580 right by the mall.
To see the petition, click here.
According to the county, this is the information from their website on the project:
The project consists of two phases, phase 1 is design and phase 2 is construction. Construction will be divided into three zones in order to expedite completion of the project as follows:
- Zone A – extends from Enterprise Road (connects to the existing trail) to Curlew Road for 3.4 miles
- Zone B – extends from Curlew Road to the intersection of CR 611 (East Lake Road) along Countryside Boulevard for 1.9 miles
- Zone C – extends from the intersection of CR 611 (East Lake Road) to the John Chesnut Sr. Park entrance (connects to the existing trail) for 1.5 miles
The North Segment will cross five major intersections and a canal. Pedestrian and bicycle crossing safety features will include a combination of new traffic control devices and pavement markings as follows:
- Enterprise Road – Addition of a Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon (RRFB) traffic control device with high emphasis pavement markings. A RRFB consists of two rapidly and alternately flashing rectangular yellow LED lights, which function as a warning beacon. To use this device, pedestrians press the call button to activate the flashing lights.
- Countryside Boulevard – Addition of a full traffic signal at Winding Wood Drive.
- SR 580 (Main Street) – Addition of a full traffic signal with high-emphasis pavement markings.
- SR 586 (Curlew Road) – Utilize the existing traffic signal with pedestrian accommodations, modified as required.
- CR 752 (Tampa Road) – Utilize the existing traffic signal with pedestrian accommodations, modified as required.
- Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal – Addition of a new bridge structure over the canal.