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New sidewalks to go in on Gulf Boulevard to prevent pedestrian and bicycle deaths

Posted: 4:56 AM, Jun 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-11 10:03:25Z
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INDIAN SHORES, Fla. — Transportation leaders are considering measures that would help protect pedestrians and cyclists from busy traffic along Gulf Boulevard, a road with a record of deadly crashes in Pinellas County.

Cities like Indian Shores have expressed concern about bicycle and pedestrian safety on the corridor. The City of Indian Shores has urged FDOT to address the safety and drainage issues on the corridor in the same project that would include construction of curbs and sidewalks — as was originally planned in 2000.

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From 2011 to 2015, there were more than 450 crashes along Gulf Boulevard, killing 10 people and injuring more than 70.

Gulf Boulevard, from Walsingham Road in Indian Rocks Beach to Park Boulevard in Indian Shores, is already scheduled for a drainage improvement project this year. It is expected to be completed by late 2021 at a cost of $4.3 million.

If approved by the Forward Pinellas Board, safety upgrades will go in along Gulf Boulevard from Park Boulevard to 195th Street. That is where FDOT is planning to construct new, six-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road with sod and landscape buffers between the sidewalks and the vehicle lanes. The vehicle lanes would be 10 feet.

On Gulf Boulevard from 195th Street to Walsingham Road, there would be two feet of curb and gutter separating the 10-foot vehicle lanes from eight-foot shared use paths on both sides of the road.

In the absence of a curb or raised buffer separating the bicycle and pedestrian paths from the vehicle lanes, motorists have been warned and cited by Indian Shores police for driving on these paths to pass slower moving vehicles on the right.

The preferred option, with refined cost estimates, will become a separate project to be completed following the current project as soon as funds become available.