INDIAN SHORES — After the Florida Department of Transportation Sidewalk Feasibility Study had been tabled and revised over the last few months, an acceptable solution was unanimously approved 5-0 by the Town Council at a Feb. 8 meeting. FDOT’s Tracy Hood presented the revisions and executive director Whit Blanton provided the Forward Pinellas updates on potential county support.
Previously, the FDOT Sidewalk Feasibility Study ran into a snag regarding bicycle safety issues along a stretch of road on Gulf Boulevard that was only two lanes. Initially, the curb, 2-foot gutter and 8-foot sidewalk on either side of the road did not give adequate safety for bicycles even though shared lane markings for bicycles were anticipated in the traffic lanes.
The revised FDOT Sidewalk Feasibility Study utilized the same 10-foot area on either side of the road differently. The 4-foot, 4-inch shoulder would be for slower moving bicycles, leaving an 8-inch curb adjoining a 5-foot sidewalk for use by pedestrians and ADA devices such as wheelchairs.
Hood explained that some revisions to previously installed curb and sidewalk preparation over the last few years would have to be redone in certain areas to accommodate these changes. The council agreed that these alterations were essential in regard to safety factors.
According to Blanton, the council’s approval of the revised FDOT Sidewalk Feasibility Study at this meeting would allow Indian Shores to make the priority funding deadline in March regarding Pinellas County financial support this year. Delays in approval would equate to delays in funding, and therefore, delays in getting the project off the ground.
In support of the sidewalk revisions, the Town Council unanimously passed an ordinance on its first reading by a vote of 5-0 prohibiting electric bicycles and motorized devices on the beach and sidewalks of the town. This new ordinance extended the scope of an ordinance the town had already passed in 2021 prohibiting electric bicycles and motorized devices on the beach to now include sidewalks in the town. Devices covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act are exempted from this ordinance.
In other business
• A request by Bonnie Dhonau, the town’s administrator, to waive the requirement of three proposals for the purchase and installation of six beach access signs from SignStar in the amount of $7,429.50 was unanimously approved.
• The proposal from Spectra Contract Flooring to replace the second floor carpeting with tile in the amount of $28,276.03 was unanimously approved 5-0. The council had previously approved $34,544 in the town’s FY21/22 budget to re-carpet and tile the second floor. Spectra Contract Flooring came in $4,128.97 less than Shaw Industries, bringing the project $6,267.97 under the budgeted amount.
• Chief Rick Swann and Capt. Glen R. Smith submitted a proposal to the town for police personnel equity adjustments in the amount of $3,000 each for police officers, corporals and sergeants. The equity adjustment across the board is “in an effort to keep pace and not fall behind the (law enforcement) salaries in Pinellas County,” said the chief. The proposal was unanimously approved by the council 5-0.