ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Bike lanes are an essential part of keeping cyclists safe when sharing the roads.
- This week's Traffic Inbox looks at Pinellas Bayway
- Cyclist says there is more cost effective way to deal with issue
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- Have a Traffic Inbox suggestion for Chuck? Click here
However, a new crosswalk designed to do just that is getting criticism from the very people who use it.
Bob Brown is a St. Petersburg cyclist who rides south to the Pinellas Bayway and Fort De Soto.
He is an advocate for bike safety but said thousands of dollars spent on a crosswalk in the area could have gone somewhere much more deserving.
It wasn't on his bike where he saw the problem. It was through the windshield of his car.
"I go down to Fort De Soto, and on the way home I take the interstate," he said. "And they've been repaving that thing for quite a while now. They put the crosswalk right across the entrance to the interstate."
As a cyclist eastbound on the Pinellas Bayway, to cross Interstate 275 you have two options. One is to battle traffic across the crosswalk. The other is the Pinellas Trail, and both of those go to the same spot.
In Brown's opinion, there is a much more cost effective and safer way to do it.
"Just put a little pavement from the road. Knock out the curb and put a little pavement right to the trail," he said. "Force people to go that way. Don't force them to cross."
There is a small paved connection between the bike lane and the trail.
Drone video shows the trail curling under the interstate. As you walk it back you'll see the new crosswalk in the center of the shot, and then the small paved connector between the bike lane and the trail.
The trail is vastly safer than even a protected crosswalk. As for why the crossing was put in place, that's an answer Real Time Traffic Expert Chuck Henson is getting from the state.
We’ll update this story with the response.