Alternate 19 (SR 595)
Alternate (Alt.) 19 has been a main artery through our community for many years. And for some, it is a traffic and safety nightmare in our daily commutes, or our workouts, bike rides and morning/evening walks.
I thought I would take a moment to fill you in on some of the things that are happening right now to address these issues that affect us every day.
First, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is responsible for the road and its design. They are currently doing a corridor study of the entire length of Alt. 19 – both North and South. This study has a two-pronged purpose:
- To address near-term multimodal transportation needs through context sensitive solutions, and
- To develop a long-term corridor vision that defines the goals and objectives and policy requirements to establish a more walkable, bicycle-friendly, urban environment.
Improvements to Alt. 19 are needed to improve congestion along the corridor; improve level of service at major intersections; reduce the number of pedestrian/bicycle crashes; and improve connectivity and accessibility to transit.
In an effort to improve mobility and enhance safety within the corridor, several alternatives will be developed including short-term improvements like added bike lanes, lighting improvements or lengthening turn lanes; and long-term options such as lane repurposing or innovative intersection concepts like roundabouts.
Some of you may have already attended FDOT’s public input sessions, as recent as September 19th. In Dunedin, they have several recommended alternatives for improving some of the main intersections such as the Marina and Broadway/Main Street, as well as the Causeway/Curlew intersection. If you have not had a chance to see what types of improvements they are discussing, please go to this link http://www.fdotd7studies.com/altus19studies/. You can view the proposals and leave your feedback.
The Commission is hoping to give its input at a workshop sometime in October - watch our Tuesday agenda’s to see when that will be scheduled so you can get a better feel for what might happen to these intersections.
Beyond the intersections, they are working on a number of flashing pedestrian crosswalks (two of which are being installed over the next few months). One crosswalk will be at Edgewater (Alt. 19) and Albert St. (just south of the Marina) and one will be across from the new Fenway Hotel (also on Edgewater). We hope that in the next year, we will be able to get one at Orangewood and Edgewater.
Additionally, beginning at the end of September, the county will begin work on the replacement of the Pinellas Trail Overpass just south of Causeway Boulevard/Curlew Road. There will be several night time road closings of Alt. 19 because it takes heavy equipment to remove the old one and set the new one in place. We are told that this job should be completed by the end of October or early November.
At the Commission Workshop mentioned above, we will most likely discuss other improvements such as bus/trolley pull offs where right-a-way is available and other lighted crosswalks further north. In addition, we certainly want studies on any intersection where the Pinellas Trail crosses. We all know how dangerous these areas can be. And then finally, we want to discuss the level of traffic with future development and what they intend to do to accommodate that.
So keep your eyes and ears open for more information as it is available. And remember, we have cars, pedestrians, bikers, motorcycles and golf carts all mixing together in our community. Driving slower and more alert makes everyone safe.