Volunteer Auxiliary Rangers Needed!
Pinellas County is looking for additional volunteers to support its Auxiliary Trail Ranger Program. Auxiliary rangers augment the services provided by the County's staff of park rangers, patroling the Trail and providing assistance to people along the way. These volunteer rangers help to ensure the County's trail system remains safe and accessible to visitors and residents. Apply here.
MPO Endorses Countywide Adoption of Mobility Plan Policies and Codes
At their July 9 meeting, the MPO endorsed a set of model comprehensive plan policies and land development code provisions for implementation of the Pinellas County Mobility Plan by the County’s local governments. The Plan is intended to bring about a new countywide approach to addressing the transportation impacts of development projects in the wake of the removal of State-mandated transportation concurrency requirements in 2011, passed into law under House Bill 7207. Concurrency management requirements, which stipulate that public services and facilities needed to accommodate the impacts of development projects have to be in place prior to their approval, were the linchpin of the State’s 1985 landmark Growth Management Law. Concurrency laws still apply to public services and facilities other than transportation.
The Pinellas County Mobility Plan sets forth a framework for a coordinated multi-modal approach to managing the traffic impacts of development projects while increasing mobility, particularly for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users. Amendments to local comprehensive plans and land development codes are necessary to implement the Plan through their respective site plan review processes. MPO staff will be assisting local governments in the effort to prepare and adopt amendatory ordinances necessary to enact the model policies and codes later this year and in 2015. The MPO approved the Mobility Plan concept at their December, 2013 meeting.
The Mobility Plan calls for establishing a tiered development review approach requiring larger scale projects adding new trips to the surrounding road network to implement transportation management plan (TMP) strategies in-lieu of or as credit toward their impact fee payments. Transportation impact fees are a current requirement imposed through a countywide ordinance. Under the Mobility Plan, the ordinance will remain in place although renamed as the Multi-modal Impact Fee Ordinance. The TMP strategies include, for example, trail, sidewalk, bus stop and intersection improvements or trip reduction programs such as vanpooling or telecommuting. Smaller scale projects with limited impact on the transportation system would only be required to pay an impact fee commensurate with the number of new trips they generate.
Cost Feasible Projects Identified for Long Range Plan
A central requirement of the MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan is to identify transportation improvements necessary to meet the County’s long term transportation needs and to determine which of them can be funded with available revenues. At their meeting on May 14, the MPO identified its unfunded “needs” projects for road improvements. On July 9, they reviewed a list of cost feasible road projects. A finalized list of cost feasible projects will be presented to the MPO in September. The cost feasible and unfunded project lists will be included in the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, which is scheduled for adoption in December, 2014.
The cost feasible projects reveiwed by the MPO include management and operations as well as capacity improvements. Capacity improvements include adding lanes, construction of overpasses, interchanges and frontage roads and major intersection modifications. Management and operation improvements are smaller scale projects that include the addition of sidewalks, bike lanes, intersection and drainage improvements and work necessary to reconstruct roads to standard lane widths.
MPO Endorses Regional Priority List
At their June 6 meeting, the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area (TMA) Leadership Group established a regional priority list of transportation projects. The MPO endorsed the list at their July 9 meeting.
New Transportation Improvement Program Adopted for 2014/15
The MPO adopted its new Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for fiscal year (FY) 2014/15 through 2018/19 at their June 11 meeting. The TIP is required by Federal and State Law and contains the transportation work programs of the County’s local governments, including the airports and the Port of St. Petersburg, as well as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7 and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. It also contains priority lists for projects eligible for federal and state funding.
A new TIP is adopted by July 1 of each year to include the FDOT Work Program, which was initially reviewed in draft form by the MPO in December, 2013. The FY 2014/15 - 2018/19 FDOT Work Program identifies $2.4 billion in State transportation projects. Neary 50 percent of the total Work Program budget is allocated to bridge maintenance, rehabilitation and construction. Approximatey 17 and 10 percent, respectively, is allocated to road capacity and transit projects.
Ten new projects have been added to the FDOT Work Program. Five of them are on US 19 North. These include projects associated with the construction of interchanges, overpasses and frontage roads from north of SR 580 to Timberlane Road and a resurfacing project from south of Live Oak Street to Brittany Park Boulevard. Other new projects include a trail facility in St. Petersburg from the existing Pinellas Trail to the west end of Treasure Lane and intelligent transportation system (ITS) installations on Alternate US 19 from the Pasco/Pinellas County Line to 66th Street in St. Petersburg. The Work Program also reflects the advancement of the Gateway Express Project in mid-county so that each segment is scheduled for construction within the next five years. The project locations are shown on a map of road, intersection and bridge improvements and another of ITS and bicycle and pedestrian improvements that are part of the adopted FY 2014/15 - 2018/19 TIP.
MPO Approves Resolution Opposing Increases in Truck Weights and Sizes
A U.S. Department of Transportation study evaluating the impacts of heavy trucks on the interstate system is currently underway. Concerns about the study resulting in legislation allowing for heavier and larger freight carrying trucks and trailers to travel the nation's roadways moved the MPO to pass a resolution against such a measure at its meeting on May 14. With nearly 20 percent of the County's bridge structures either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, the MPO expressed particular concern about the damage that heavy trucks can cause after they exit the interstate system. Brian Shuford, a representative of the Coalition Against Big Trucks, presented information at the meeting supporting the MPO resolution.
About the MPO
The Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was established in 1977 following the passage of the Federal Highway Act of 1974. The task of the MPO is to develop plans, policies and priorities that guide local decision making on transportation issues. Principal responsibilities include the development of a 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) a five-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) a two-year Unified Planning Work Program and related transportation planning studies and projects. For more on the role of MPOs, read MPO's: A Primer .
The MPO seeks to improve transportation in the county for all principal modes of travel, including mass transit, walking, and bicycling, as well as automobile. The MPO prioritizes capital improvements to address the county's travel needs and allocates federal funding to implement the projects as identified in the TIP and the LRTP.
MPO Public Involvement Opportunities
MPO places a high value on public
involvement. Presentations are made to professional,
civic and social groups. The MPO also participates
in community-based public involvement events including
public hearings, forums and community fairs.
One way to become involved in transportation
planning is by making a brief presentation on an issue
that deeply concerns you during the "Citizens to be
Heard" segment of the MPO's
monthly meeting. Another way is through
participation on one of the MPO's
advisory committees. Openings occur periodically,
and you are encouraged to apply if you
are interested and willing to make a time
For any questions or comments regarding the contents of this website, please email, mail or telephone the MPO using the contact information below.
The Pinellas County MPO
310 Court Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.
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