St. Petersburg City Council members unanimously voted Thursday to spend up to $194,700 for consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates to help develop the complete streets program.
Among Kimley-Horn’s duties will be to provide design guidance in developing St. Petersburg’s complete streets program and to update the city trails master plan.
Council members adopted the concept of complete streets last year. “Complete streets” is a design concept that requires roads to be designed with an eye to safety and to ease of use for multiple types of travel, from walking to bicycling to cars to mass transit. Complete streets must be easily used by people of all ages and abilities.
A complete street design could include bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and trees or planters, depending on the neighborhood.
“We want this to be part of an overall approach to road design,” St. Petersburg council member Darden Rice said. “This is an important trend.”
Rice noted the “complete streets” concept is grounded in the concept of safety and economic development. A well-designed street will enable businesses to attract customers and allow residential and other property values to increase, she said.
Council member Karl Nurse said enhanced safety is a high priority of his. Nurse referred to the “2016 Traffic Crash Trends and Conditions Report” presented to Forward Pinellas on Wednesday. The report ranked Pinellas County as No. 1 in pedestrian fatalities when compared with five other urbanized Florida counties.
Street and sidewalk design, Nurse said, is not the only contributing factor. Jaywalkers and “pedestrians who think traffic lights are a suggestion” are also a factor in pedestrian fatalities. Nurse said enforcement of jaywalking and other rules applying to pedestrians should be a part of the city’s complete streets plan.
Nurse also urged to study bike lanes carefully when adding them to streets and roads.
“We have a lot of bike lanes that are scary,” Nurse said.