ANCLOTE COASTAL TRAIL ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS STUDY

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1 ANCLOTE COASTAL TRAIL ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS STUDY PASCO COUNTY MPO JULY 2015

2 PROJECT OVERVIEW... INTRODUCTION EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CONTEXT... TAMPA BAY AREA, PINELLAS, & PASCO COUNTY S MULTI-USE TRAIL PLANS REGIONAL CONTEXT PLANNING & DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS EXISTING CONDITIONS EXISTING BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN FACILITIES ANALYSIS... AREAS OF HIGH SUITABILITY AREAS OF MEDIUM SUITABILITY AREAS OF LOW SUITABILITY SUITABILITY COMPOSITE EXPLORATION OF ROUTE ALTERNATIVES... ROUTE ALTERNATE 1: SWEETBRIAR DRIVE ROUTE ALTERNATE 2: DUKE ENERGY CORRIDOR ROUTE ALTERNATE 3: ANCLOTE BOULEVARD OVERALL COMPOSITE WITH SUITABILITY ANALYSIS PUBLIC/STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT... PUBLIC WORKSHOPS STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT RECOMMENDED ROUTE... ANCLOTE BOULEVARD AND SWEETBRIAR DRIVE SECTION PASCO COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL LANDS SECTION ANCLOTE RIVER PARK SPUR SECTION COST... SUMMARY APPENDIX... SEPARATE VOLUME TABLE OF CONTENTS 2

3 PROJECT OVERVIEW 4

4 INTRODUCTION URS was retained by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) of Pasco County in the summer of 2014 to prepare a trail planning study to assist them with the development of a proposed multi-use trail. From the on-set of the study, the primary goal for the proposed trail has been to provide a link between the planned Elfers Trail Extension, which is a part of the highly successful Pinellas Trail in Pinellas County, to three parks in southwest Pasco County while also satisfying the surrounding community s needs for improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The three parks to be connected are Anclote River Park, Anclote Gulf Park, and Key Vista Nature Park. STRAUBER MEMORIAL HWY. HOLIDAY SPORTS COMPLEX DP WOO. R ED NT OI ANCLOTE GULF PARK DUKE ENERGY FLORIDA INC KEY VISTA NATURE PARK GULF TRACE BLVD. E KEY VISTA BLVD. PRIVAT This report presents the information gathered, the analysis, the public information process and the resulting recommendations for a preferred route. DARLINGTON WEST When completed, the Anclote Coastal Trail will make it possible to ride from any of the three previously mentioned parks in Pasco County all the way to southern Pinellas County and beyond via the Pinellas Trail. ELAMP OS WE DUKE ENERGY POWER PLANT DR. GO ANCLOTE HIGH IAR D TBR EE CALVARY RD. SW PAUL R. SMITH MIDDLE R. HOLIDAY LAKE DR. GULFSIDE ELEMENTARY E OT CL AN DARTMOUTH DR. BARRACUDA CT. ANCLOTE RIVER PARK VE RI R BLOSSOM LAKE DR. LEGEND ANCLOTE BLVD. PASCO COUNTY PINELLAS COUNTY RECOMMENDED ROUTE PLANNED ELFERS TRAIL EXTENSION POSSIBLE FUTURE TRAIL CONNECTOR EXISTING 8 TRAIL CONNECTION POINT TO ANCLOTE RD PI N EL LA S TR A NORTH WESLEY AVE /2 MILE IL MAJOR ROADWAY CROSSING DUKE ENERGY PROPERTY PASCO COUNTY PROPERTY PARKS S ENVIRONMENTAL LAND ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM [ b WETLANDS EAGLE NESTING SITE POTENTIAL TRAIL HEAD

5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This study for the Anclote Coast Trail Alternatives Analysis Study examined potential alternatives for providing a trail connection between the termination of the Elfers Trail and three parks in southwest Pasco County Anclote River Park, Anclote Gulf Park, and Key Vista Nature Park. The desired trail width is twelve feet and it is planned to be off-road to the greatest extent possible. The goal for the trail is to provide non-motorized access to the surrounding communities while connecting the existing Pinellas Trail via the Elfers Trail. The study area is in a predominantly suburban area where the southwestern edge of Pasco County meets the northwestern edge of Pinellas County. The land area covered by the study contains a variety of diverse uses. All inherent trail development opportunities, such as publicly maintained lands and utility corridors were explored. The communities, cultural and recreational resources listed below are notable components of the study area: Anclote Gulf Park Anclote River Park Key Vista Nature Park Holiday Sports Complex Gulfside Elementary School Paul R. Smith Middle School Anclote High School Pasco County ELAMP parcel Pasco County undeveloped land Pasco County Parks and Recreation Parcel Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail Duke Energy Power Transmission Corridor and Power Plant Sand Bay Vista Pointe Key Vista Gulfwinds Anclote Acres Holiday Lakes Estates Aloha Gardens Beacon Square Holiday Lakes West Baillies Bluff Gulf Trace After analyzing the existing land uses, environmental conditions, potential use of the power corridor, the existing public rights-of-way, potential use of various Pasco County lands, and the existing bicycle/ pedestrian facilities in the study area, three alternative routes were identified. The three routes sometimes included overlapping segments but can generally be described from south to north as follows: 1. Route Alternate 1 - Utilizes the right-of-way of Anclote Boulevard, the west right-of-way of Sweetbriar Drive, the south and west edges of the Anclote High School property, the least amount possible of the Duke Energy transmission corridor, the Pasco County ELAMP and Parks and Recreation Parcels, the eastern right-of-way of Baillies Bluff Road, and the south and east edge of the Key Vista Nature Park property. 2. Route Alternate 2 - Utilizes a portion of the north-south and eastwest Duke Energy power transmission corridor and a portion of the east-west, the Pasco County Parks and Recreation Parcel, and the right-of-way of Baillies Bluff Road. 3. Route Alternate 3 - Utilizes the rights-of-way of Anclote Boulevard and Baillies Bluff Road. Adjacent land uses were assessed for their compatibility with or suitability for a trail and for the assets or liabilities they presented. Many meetings with individuals interested in the proposed trail connection were carried out during the various stages of the study. Three public information meetings were held to present first the three alternative routes and then a recommended route. The input from these meetings helped guide the study to the refinement of Route Alternate 1 as the recommended route. The opportunities and constraints of all three routes are presented in detail in this report. The refined Route Alternate 1 evolved as the most desirable route and the route having the most advantageous conditions for trail construction. This route can provide the highest percentage of off-road trail and would be considered the safest of all the route alternatives. The recommended route is approximately 4.2 miles in length. The preferred route of the Anclote Trail will have six roadway crossings: Anclote Boulevard, Sweetbriar Drive, Baillies Bluff Road (three times) and Pineview Drive. These road crossings must be carefully designed with enhanced features for pedestrian and bicyclist safety. This study assumes the crossings will be at-grade and based on the current roadway configurations. It is recommended that all road crossings be in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Chapter 9 for shared use path crossings and include the following: high emphasis crosswalks, advance signage, and pedestrian activated flashing beacons. It is important to note that the segment of the recommended route along Anclote Boulevard is within Pinellas County. Coordination with Pinellas County staff has occurred throughout the process and will need to be further discussed as to how best to proceed with making this connection. However, the details of who will provide detailed design, construction, funding, and maintenance are still to be determined. Amenities on the trail will consist of wayfinding signage, marked milepoints, and stationing for safety. Comfort stations with benches, trash receptacles, and drinking water may be provided at a trailhead with parking, which would be located on the Pasco County owned parcel on the east side of Baillies Bluff Road between the Duke Energy substation and Rumar Lane. In conjunction with the trailhead will be a viewing area for bald eagle nest PS014. The viewing area will be located outside of the 330 buffer and off the roadway to allow for safe viewing of the nest while preventing trail users from encroaching closer than 330 and potentially disturbing the eagles. The trail will be designed and built to minimize the need for environmental permitting and mitigation. Jurisdictional areas will be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Coordination with the governing agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) will be part of the final design process. Many enthusiastic advocates of the proposed trail contributed input and support during the trail study. This advocacy has been invaluable to the trail s evolution. The Anclote Coastal Trail will be an asset both locally and regionally as it fulfills the needs for multi-modal transportation, community connections, and recreation. It is sure to provide opportunities for tourism and boost the local economy, as is characteristic of all successful trails. 6

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