Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization Chair Karen Seel explains recommendations for multi-named roadways Oct. 8.
CLEARWATER – The Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization is working on a plan to reduce or eliminate multi-named roadways.
Residents and tourists often have difficulty traveling through the county due to roadways changing names. Many times these name changes occur when crossing municipal boundaries.
“With over six million tourists per year, it is confusing to give directions throughout Pinellas County with the inconsistent roadway naming,” a Sept. 13 report from the MPO’s Multi-named Roads Working Group said.
The MPO discussed the findings of its subgroup at its Oct. 8 meeting.
The past few years, the focus has been on Bryan Dairy Road, aka County Road 296. Motorists traveling through the county also will find that the C.R. 296 corridor changes to 102nd Avenue North and 118th Avenue.
Most municipalities have favored the use of one name – Bryan Dairy Road – from Hamlin to the Interstate, but the city of St. Petersburg opposed using the name east of U.S. 19 (State Road 55). St. Petersburg prefers a unique name that shows the roads function as a connector from the north to the south and east.
In 2012, the state legislature approved designating the section of 118th Avenue North (C.R. 298) east of U.S. 19 as the St. Pete Crosstown. The state’s action was not an “official renaming” of the corridor. An official name change would require approval of the county and the city of Pinellas Park, which has not occurred.
Plans for the future call for the section of C.R. 296 east of U.S. 19 to be reconfigured “significantly” with the addition of the Roosevelt Connector, the S.R. 690 Corridor extension, and a potential exchange of roadways jurisdictions in the area.
The Multi-named Roads Working Group recommends that the Florida Department of Transportation be consulted before any immediate decisions are made.
Municipalities that favored a complete name change years ago may no longer be agreeable, the working group reported. The city of Pinellas Park “would likely recommend a delay” due to the possibility of changes creating “financial issues for the affected properties,” the report said.
However, the working group did agree that the 102nd Avenue North segment would be the best place to start the renaming to Bryan Dairy Road. The renaming would take place on 102nd Avenue North from Hamlin Boulevard to Lake Seminole Bridge, just west of Starkey Road (C.R. 1).
The area is mostly residential and most homes have addresses of “interior roadways” – not 102nd Avenue North.
“This would initiate the consistent roadway naming effort and provide a test case on proceeding to the rest of this corridor and potentially to other corridors,” the working group’s report said. “This would also provide the uniform name of Bryan Dairy Road for the corridor to the west of U.S. 19 (S.R. 55).”
Sarah Ward, interim MPO executive director, informed MPO members Oct. 8 of the working group’s recommendations. She said the cities of Seminole and Pinellas Park supported changing the name to Bryan Dairy Road on 102nd Avenue North from west of Starkey Road to Hamlin Boulevard. The MPO unanimously accepted that recommendation. MPO members also unanimously agreed to hold off on additional renaming at this time.
The MPO subgroup also reviewed a list of other multi-named roadways, including the Alt. U.S. 19 corridor, which has 14 different names, as well as C.R. 321 corridor, aka Clearwater-Largo Road, Ridge Road, 113th Street and Duhme Road; and C.R. 1 corridor, aka Omaha Street, Keene Road, Starkey Road and Park Street. These roadways traverse many jurisdictions and communities identify with the roadway names, the subgroup reported.
The consensus was to ask municipalities to modify roadway signs to show the county or state road number along with the road name. One example was C.R. 611 – East Lake Road.
“The road number would provide the consistency along the corridor while the name would still provide the community identity and not necessitate a road name change for property owners and residents,” the working group reported.
Due to the cost of installing new signs, the MPO recommends that new signs with the roadway number and name be used when existing signs are replaced. Costs for replacement of the small road signs is about $130 each, Ward said.
MPO Chair Karen Seel said the idea for the dual designation on signs was the idea of the city of Seminole’s Community Development Director Mark Ely.
“The idea is to phase in the sign changes over time,” she said. “We will ask the DOT to help fund state roads.”
Dunedin Vice-Mayor Julie Ward-Bujalski asked about changing the big signs, such as the ones over the interstate.
“Tourists look for the big signs,” she said.
Seel said the MPO did not have the authority to require municipalities to make sign changes. She pointed out that it would cost more to change big signs.
“The MPO would just encourage them to do this as they replace signs – unless they want to do it sooner,” she said.
The MPO agreed unanimously to go forward to work with the municipalities on the plan.
“This has been one of my pet peeves for many years,” Seel said. “I’m glad to put my peeve to rest.”
Daytime-only truck route
The MPO also unanimously approved a request from the city of Clearwater to amend the county’s truck route plan to add daytime-only truck routes to a section of Keene Road from Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard (State Road 60) to Sunset Point Road and Sunset Point Road from Keene Road to Hercules Avenue.
MPO maintains a truck route plan that identifies roadways that heavy trucks are required to travel and any time-of-day restrictions. Municipalities and the county work in conjunction to maintain consistency across jurisdictional boundaries. Trucks are required to use designated truck routes up to the point closest to their destination.
Amending the truck route to provide the new daytime-only route would provide more efficiency for city of Clearwater vehicles. The MPO’s Technical Coordinating Committee, which recommended approval of the change, noted that the route would provide “easier and more efficient circulation” of all truck traffic in the area. The city of Dunedin reviewed the truck routes and agreed with the recommendation.