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Trotter Road to be reconstructed
Largo commission updated on plans
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Image courtesy of the CITY OF LARGO
Largo engineers are proposing a roundabout at the intersection of Trotter Road and Dryer Avenue, which is currently a four-way stop. The photo in the bottom left corner shows the intersection’s current condition. The upgrade is part of the reconstruction of the city’s portion of Trotter Road, scheduled for 2015. The design, including the roundabout, is yet to be finalized.
LARGO – Largo staff presented preliminary plans for the reconstruction of Trotter Road’s drainage and roadway between Eighth Avenue Southwest and Hillsdale Avenue Dec. 10.

The $3.35-million project would convert the “existing failed roadway” into a “community street,” creating a gateway to the neighborhoods, according to city documentation. Along with repaving the road, the city is planning to create 4-foot bike lanes, better sidewalks, curbs and gutters, median islands within the roads and Florida-friendly landscaping.

While commissioners quibbled with elements of the design – still to be finalized – they were in favor of the overall improvements to the cracked and run-down road, which is subject to flooding and unsightly utility infrastructure.

“The people out there will be very happy with the improvements,” Commissioner Woody Brown said.

Unfortunately, the construction of the project isn’t scheduled until 2015 as it must follow sewer infrastructure improvements in the area. But in the meantime, staff presented several sources to gather the additional funds needed to complete the project.

The city already has raised $1.88 million for improvements to the pavement, sidewalk, drainage, stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure of the street. Funds from the county gas tax make up 43 percent of that total, with another 36 percent coming from the city’s sewer fund and the final 21 percent raised through local option sales tax dollars. Due in part to a 15 to 20 percent increase in the cost of construction in an improving economy, the city is looking to raise another $890,000 for the infrastructure improvements.

The city has another $510,000 set aside for community street enhancements for Trotter Road, which include multi-modal transportation amenities, a bioswale and trees along the street. Most of this funding is made up by funds from the city transportation impact fee. The city anticipates needing another $70,000 in funds for that portion of the project.

The majority of the reconstructed road, from Eighth Avenue Southwest to Dryer Avenue, will be repaved into two 10-foot lanes, 4 feet of which will be marked off as bike lanes, and a narrowed planted median. City staff suggested planting low-growing, native trees or plants within a bioswale along each shoulder, separating the road from the improved sidewalks.

The northern portion of the road will be converted into narrower lanes, with one side reserved for vehicular traffic and other side to be shared with bicycles.

Worked into the design of the project would be elements designed to slow vehicles and protect pedestrians within bricked crosswalks.

The element of the project most strongly opposed was what would be the city’s first traffic circle at the intersection of Trotter Road and Dryer Avenue. The circle would actually speed traffic through the intersection, which is currently a four-way stop, while providing aesthetic enhancements, explained Christine McLachland, the city’s long-range strategic planner.

“I have a lot of reservations about the roundabout,” Commissioner Michael Smith said.

Smith said he was in favor of hearing a presentation of feedback from other communities that had similar road elements installed in their streets.

The roundabout likely would be built with a “mountable curb,” designed to make it easier for larger vehicles to navigate the tight turn, said city engineer Marcello Tavernari. He added that feedback from neighbors in the area thus far has been positive.

New apartment project moves forward

During the Dec. 10 work session, the commission tentatively agreed to the terms of a development agreement with Dockside Investors, which is developing a former golf driving range at 12700 66th St. into market-rate apartments. The project is similar to the apartments approved at the former Briarwood RV Park, which Dockside also is developing.

Under the terms, the developer agreed to build a maximum of 258 units – no more than 70 feet tall – on the 13.7-acre property, provide 1.5 parking spots per unit, coordinate with Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to build a sheltered bus stop and provide paved sidewalks throughout the property.

The complete terms will be drafted into formalized agreement to be approved by the city planning board and commissioners.

City residents to be surveyed

Largo staff also presented plans for the city’s Community Values campaign, which has already begun with the launch of the second annual “What I Love About Largo” video contest (see page 3A).

The campaign is an effort to solicit feedback from residents in preparation of next year’s city budget. For the past two years, the campaign has included an online survey and three workshops.

Commissioners commended staff for gathering about 675 survey responses and about 70 workshop participants in past years, but urged an even more aggressive campaign this year.

“I just want to make sure we can get as many people involved in this as possible so we can get a better (sample),” Commissioner Jamie Robinson said.
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