City of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Florida
There is probably no place better in the United States than St. Petersburg to promote bicycle and pedestrian travel, with its 361 days of sunshine a year, an average temperature of 74 degrees, a beautiful natural and built environment, an excellent grid network with excess roadway capacity, a population that is getting younger, and a diverse economy that is growing rapidly. The impetus for creating the Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan was a comprehensive visioning process, known as "Vision 2020," which was conducted by the City of St. Petersburg in 2001.
The citizens of St. Petersburg, who played a major role in the Vision 2020 process, made it clear that they felt that the City's transportation network promoted vehicular travel at the expense of other modes of transportation, such as transit service, bicycling, and walking. The final vision statement read: "St. Petersburg will be a city with a balanced transportation system designed to move people safely and effectively. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities shall be designed, encouraged, and celebrated as indicators of a healthy city."
The following year, a national report by the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) cited the St. Petersburg/Tampa metro as one of the top five most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the country. In response to the citizen mandate captured in Vision 2020, and this negative national recognition by STPP, the City of St. Petersburg took the initiative to thoroughly study ways to encourage safe bicycle and pedestrian travel in the City, not only to increase safety but also to improve the mode share of non-motorized trips.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan consists of a detailed set of policy statements that are derived from the vision statement. Extensive public involvement and the Plan's Advisory Committee and Steering Committee are responsible for these goals and objectives, which promote the development of off-road trails, on-street bicycle facilities, and beautiful streets that are safe, livable, and encourage multi-modal travel. As a result of this effort, the City plans to add 100 miles of sidewalks, 81 enhanced crosswalks, and 139 miles of bicycle lanes, trails, and paths to supplement 10 miles of existing bikeways. The City hopes that is action plan will transform St. Petersburg into one of the best places in America for pedestrians and bicyclists.