Pinellas Trail U.S. 19 Crossing Alternatives Feasibility Study, City of St. Petersburg

The Landis Evans, formerly Sprinkle Consulting Team, examined six routing options for the regionally significant Pinellas Trails crossing of a busy six lane U.S. highway. The routing options/alternatives included: (1) Diversion of trail traffic to nearby signalized intersections; (2) Diversion of trail traffic to an existing pedestrian overpass serving a nearby school; (3) Re-location of an existing nearby overpass to the trail alignment; (4) Significant modification of the existing overpass; (5) An at-grade crossing, perhaps with a signal at the trail alignment; and (6) A new overpass at the trail alignment. The Team evaluated operational, safety, scheduling and cost factors that differentiated the various alternatives. Evaluation revealed that that while diversion to nearby signalized intersections may be the cheapest option, the diversions were significant that physical barriers would be needed to prevent users from attempting the more direct but unsafe crossing at the trail alignment. The Team presented the Pinellas MPO with a variety of options, but after extensive analysis, the Team demonstrated that a signal could be introduced on the highway at the trail alignment. This was not only the most convenient option for trail users, but the best option considering all other criteria as well. The Team also verified that a temporary signal could be introduced to the arterial at the trail alignment without significant disruption to the signal timing sequence or traffic progression along the corridor. The thorough analysis of all the options helped secure the cooperation of the Florida DOT, which has operational jurisdiction over U.S. 19. Both the Pinellas MPO and FDOT accepted the Sprinkle-led Team’s recommendations. A temporary signal was put in operation until a grade-separated trail overpass was funded and constructed.