The Challenges in Developing Our Asset Assemblage Southside Greenway Plan

 

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For nearly 100 years our City political & business leaders have attempted to plan & develop Saint Petersburg into a safe, healthy, & economically vibrant place to live. Over these past years with our ever-expanding knowledge, residents now want & deserve even more from our City.

 

In the 1960’s the US Congress's passing of the Federal 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, & the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was to have ended completely the discriminatory practice of the redlining of our previously historically excluded community. Banks & mortgage companies would even suppress minority populations from receiving home loans to buy homes in other neighborhoods as well as to deny them the funds to improve their current homes.

 

In 1970’s we then became more acutely aware of the importance of our City’s physical assets to also affect the environmental quality of our lives.  By the 21st Century, our further expanding awareness, sensitivities, & attention have now begun to properly include a vision of socialhealth, environmental justice. Sharing this vision, the City is now integrating sustainability and resiliency into its planning and decision-making process to better promote future growth with the proper sensitivities towards environmental, economic, & social challenges.

(p 1 Highlights: Integrated Sustainability Action Plan, April 2014)

When our spontaneous grassroots assemblage of mutli-racial & mutli-generational Southsider's attempted to review not only the region's physical assets, but also the nearly 100 years of City planning efforts beginning with John Nolen's 1923 proposed urban plan rejected by the pressures of Jim Crowism, real estate developers, &corrupt newspaper, what we found, including some very recent excellent ones, RESEMBLED the sticks below. (Click here for list.)

Enhanced by organizations & individuals who graciously donated their very valuable time & expertise, we were able to develop our conceptual plan based largely upon utilizing the region’s existing and/or pending plans: Warehouse Arts District Deuces Live Action Plan, City & Forward Pinellas Complete Streets plans, & the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (SunRunner) plan in combination with some new existing ones on the horizon including a few suggestions of our own developed with help from the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy & the League of American Bicyclists.

 

Our primary goals:

  • Create a new free and/or low-cost multimodal transportation system (bike, buses, & scooters) connecting many of the City’s residents, visitors, & neighborhoods while especially focusing upon revitalizing our historically excluded Southside community.

  • Proposed bikeway routes developed should maximize the use of City owned or controlled land not only to simplify design, construction, & lower implementation costs, but to also…

  • ...maximize our opportunity to develop for our Southside Greenway a fully accessible trail segment for physically challenged youth to enhance their opportunity to enjoy & learn from our Lake Maggiore Subtropical Ecosystem.

  • Finally, minimize bikeway exposure to what Mayor Welch (an avid bicyclist) as very unsafe alternatives to true bike lanes: Bike Lane In Name Only (BLINO).

The Current Situation

Lime Green: Current Existing Bikeways 

Dark Green: Existing Pinellas, Skyway, & Skyway Bridge Trails

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    The City of St. Petersburg is well positioned to secure both a President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) grant AND/OR the just announced Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) discretionary grant thereby greatly accelerating final design, funding, and construction for a major portion of the original City’s Warehouse Arts District Deuces Live Action Plan (2018). When overlay branded as the biking & recreational THE Deuces Trail, the 22nd St So corridor will then directly connect other neighborhoods, our residents, and visitors with the nationally renowned Pinellas Trail and our Skyway & Skyway Bridge Trails while becoming the cornerstone in developing St. Petersburg's Southside Greenway

    By unifying the  Southern Pinellas peninsula's existing assets, we will then join the country’s other elite cities utilizing an emerald necklace as an interconnected loop of parks and bikeways along urban waterways: Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Orlando. From the SunRunner Station to north, THE Deuces Trail will create a very unique

Del Holmes Park (22 acres)     Lake Maggiore (362 acres)     Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (245 acres)       Terry Tomalin Campground
Hammock Hall     Pinellas Pioneer Settlement  Salt Creek
from Bayboro Harbor to Little Maggiore with its small streams ending in the Gulfport’s Clam Bayou.

General Benefits

Greenways provide a variety of benefits that ultimately affect the sustainability of a region’s economic, environmental, social, & physical health by....

  • Creating Value & Generating Economic Activity 

  • Improving Bicycle & Pedestrian Transportation

  • Improving Health through Active Living

  • Providing Safe Accessible Health & Exercise Opportunities for the Physically Challenged 

  • Clear Skies, Clean Rivers, & Protected Wildlife

  • Protecting People & Property from Flood & Hurricane Damage

  • Enhancing Cultural Awareness & Community Identity

                                        Specific Goals of Our Southside Greenway Emerald Necklace

Create an Enhanced Tourism Marketing Identity with a new national & international brand establishing the City of St Petersburg & our Pinellas Peninsular not only as an arts, cultural, and beaches destination, but also as a friendly bicycle centric experience with three enhanced opportunities:

  • THE Deuces Trail by directly connecting our City’s urban cultural assets with our very valuable Lake Maggiore Subtropical Ecosystem will become a nationally unique urban ecotourism bike touring destination. With the growing acceptance of the e-bike by a national & international expanding maturing population, our Southside Greenway Pinellas Peninsular Emerald Necklace strategy will enable national & international bike tour planners to create & market new & exciting Florida packaging opportunities.

  • THE Deuces Trail in conjunction with City’s African American Heritage Tour will now also attract a much larger share of the huge 100+ billion dollar US African American tourism market. As this strategy develops when supported by the appropriate marketing funding, much of the original traffic to THE Deuces Live (the downtownlost with racial desegregation will be greatly replenished by this new additional biking, pedestrian walking, and rolling traffic.

  • As the result of City’s direct ownership of the majority of the new land assets required to complete for the Southside Greenway, the saving can then enable a major section to also be designed for Safe, Accessible Exercise, Health, AND Rehabilitative Opportunities for the Physically Challenged....especially our YOUTH. This would include a dedicated area for their targeted Rehabilitative Exercise Opportunities and their FUN!! This commitment will thus also create a third major targeted travel market opportunity: Rehabilitative Travel Packages especially for families with challenged children!!

 

urban ecotourism bike touring destination by directly connecting our City’s urban cultural assets: museums, art galleries, vast collection of culinary, arts, shopping venues, the St. Pete Pier and City parks with our very unique Lake Maggiore Subtropical Ecosystem to the South with....

Phase 1 Concepts  

Lime Green with thin Blue line: Existing Bikeways during proposed improvements 

Dark Green: Existing Pinellas, Skyway, & Skyway Bridge Trails

  • From SunRunner stations extend, the Deuces Trail (22nd St S Corridor) to the Lake Maggiore Subtropical Ecosystem (Del Holmes Park). 

  • At its 9th Ave S intersection, our Southside youth will safely connect with schools, parks, & recreation centers via a new bikeway enhancing & extending Eastwardly the current African American Heritage Heritage Trail to John Hopkins Middle School & Campbell Park Complex (Recreational Center/St. Pete Skate Park & Elementary School). Additionally with corporate & private support youth supplemental education opportunities via the newly designed 6th Ave South Bikeway will connect them with our Hospital & Innovation Districts, USFSP campus, Waterfront Arts & Museum Districts, & St. Pete Pier & Park. Additionally, not only for our youth, but also our City's visitors interested in African American Heritage can visit our original Tampa Bay negro beaches: North Mole Beach (Spa Beach), South Mole Beach (Demons Landing), & Lassing Negro Beach (Lassing Park) minutes away at Bartlett Park & Frank W. Pierce Recreation Center & St Pete Tennis Center. (4th St So & 18th Ave So)

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Phase 2 Concepts 

Solid Lime Green: Existing Bikeways with completed improvements; with thin red line Major East - West Connector

  with thin blue line African American Heritage Tour

Dark Green with thin red line: Existing Pinellas Trail, Skyway Trail, & Skyway Bridge Trail becomes our... Southside Greenway!!

  • Complete the 18th Ave So/Salt Creek Extension Plan that in November 19, 2020 our Southside Greenway was combined with this number one Forward Pinellas Active Transportation Plan of ten county-wide priority projects. There is a current commitment from them to fund & otherwise advance that list of ten projects. Additional design & construction cost studies will be required to formalize a plan to also create short extensions connecting the 18th Ave So corridor at both the East & West ends of the Southside Greenway (E) with the Skyway Trail (W). 

  • Create design strategies for the continuing funding, repair, or new construction to maximize the integration of the City’s Southern Pinellas Peninsula’s existing bikeways & trails to connect not only with the Southside Greenway, Skyway & Skyway Bridge Trails, but also to the existing North Bay Trail (Weeden Island Preserve) & the newly branded South Bay Bikeway.  

  • Special focus will also be connecting our schools with City parks & other health physical activities, & youth opportunity creation experiences in the Warehouse Arts District, the City’s urban cultural assets (museums, art galleries, & theaters), & in our hospital/medical/innovation/marine science districts.

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