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Bike lanes close during downtown SunRunner construction

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Construction on 1st Avenue North and 1st Avenue South, in sections east of 35th Street, will be redirecting cyclists to other east and westbound corridors throughout August. Photo by Joe Opaleski.

Construction on 1st Avenue North and 1st Avenue South, in sections east of 35th Street, will be redirecting cyclists to other east and westbound corridors throughout August.

The city closed bike lanes on these roads intermittently to redirect car traffic while building stations for the SunRunner project, a bus route that will connect downtown residents to the Gulf Beaches.

Lucas Cruse, St. Pete’s bicycle pedestrian coordinator, recommends cyclists use either Burlington Avenue North, 3rd Avenue North or Central Avenue when traveling east or west in the downtown area.

He estimates the bike lanes will reopen within the next month, but said broader changes are scheduled for cycle routes throughout the coming year.

St. Pete plans to install wider bike lanes to sections of 1st Avenue North and 1st Avenue South east of 35th Street, while moving the same bike lanes to Central Avenue in sections west of 35th Street.

“The intent is that the bike lanes on Central, from Grand Central all the way to the west end, will be higher quality, will be wider and hopefully separated,” Cruse said.

“Right now, we’re just going and adding striping. The next time that gets resurfaced and gets rebuilt we’ll do a better treatment, like we did on MLK street with crossings and green markings and all that.”

According to Stephanie Rank, public relations coordinator for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, these new routes should be completed during the start of summer in 2022, around the same time the SunRunner project is scheduled to be completed.

Condensing bike lanes west of 35th Street to Central Avenue will allow the SunRunner buses to take over their own shoulders on 1st Avenue North and 1st Avenue South, while cyclists utilize new and improved lanes adjacent to the two corridors.

The SunRunner project, also called the Bus Rapid Transit Line, is designed to connect Downtown St. Pete, South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach via a “train-like” bus route.

The city plans to run buses every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the evening on their own priority lanes, which will include the landscaped bus stops that are currently under construction and altering traffic patterns.

 

 

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