Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Notice has been given to the Bartlett Park Neighborhood Association of a proposed street closing

UPDATE: 5/14/08 This case has been deferred to the June 4th DRC hearing in order for staff to gather more evidence.

We were asked to consider the possible increased traffic impact to 8th Street Court. The association will have to act soon to provide comments to staff before they make a recommendation.

This alley used to connect 13th Avenue South to 11 Avenue South. From 13th you could go South on 7th Street to 22nd Ave. South. From 11th Avenue you could go North on 6th Street through Roser Park all the way past downtown. This narrow alley was used as a road but backed up when cars tried to pass each other. The most narrow segment near 11th Ave. has been vacated. The remaining part is barely wide enough for two vehicles if they slow down and drive with care.

A few years ago the Ingleside developers asked the Bartlett Park Neighborhood Association to support the closing of the segment near 11th Avenue. The association opposed this and agreed to a compromise where auto traffic would be blocked and a pedestrian easement would be maintained. This has very recently been paved with hexblocks and enhanced with new landscaping and planters. I think it looks great but you can take a walk and see it for yourself.

Then a separate application came from another property owner for the segment between 12th and 13th Ave. Several discussions were held with the association voting to support the vacation. The city opposed this and agreed to a temporary one year closing of the alley to see if residents would accept this change. Now that owner has again asked the city to make this permanent. It was set on the May 7th agenda for a public hearing. The association board decided to withdraw our letter of support. Conditions have changed and our members deserve another chance to consider this before the association takes a position. Without association support this is very likely to be voted down. We list some pros and cons of this decision and let you add your comments.

The notice states: "REQUEST: Approval of a permanent street closure of the 16-foot wide alley running north-south from 12th Avenue South to 13th Avenue South, west of 5th street South. The alley will only be closed to vehicular traffic."

The decision to vacate is permanent so the city is reluctant to do this without strong support from residents and assurance that the public no longer needs this land. When a road or alley is not used the city gives the land to the adjacent owner and it becomes private property. What is different here is the provision for public access for walkers and cyclists.

Tom Tito
President, Bartlett Park Neighborhood Association

Here is the land in question. Looking south from 12th Ave toward 13th.

A tight squeeze for two cars and people walking.

Home of the late Joseph Savage on the left. A heroic leader of our city and good friend and neighbor.

The Northern section has just been improved with hexblocks and planters.

Decorated for private fund raising event held for Family Resources.


I say no because:

The association has not had a chance to do comprehensive planning and study transportation options. What happened to connecting 6th Street to 13th Ave.?

This will divide the neighborhood.

We deserve a road wide enough for sidewalks and a bike path.
Why not keep the alley and widen it?

Police fire and sanitation may need this(despite letters stating otherwise).

A short drive will be longer and force people out on to a busy street.

The nice landscaping is not offered by the new applicant. It looked better before the barriers went up.

Much of this area is still vacant so many future residents will also need to use this alley. Traffic and parking are likely to grow much more congested unless we change the way we live.

I say Yes because:

Reduced auto traffic will keep 12th Avenue peaceful and quiet.

Children and people without cars deserve a path safe from traffic.

Drivers can go up Highland and double back to 12th.

The Pinellas Trail should connect to our neighborhood. There will be many more people who want to walk and bike.


Anonymous said...

Make this something to be proud of and name it for Deacon Joe!

LaDonna said...

I think it's nasty how the property owners on both sides have put up their six feet tall fence right on the edge of the alley. It makes the place feel creepy and unsafe - the other section is really really nice, but I think the south section needs to be opened up again. Its just wrong what they done to it.

Wagner said...

I have to agree with Ladonna. The 6' fences look harsh. If they were just 4' tall, privacy would still be insured, and public safety would not be compromised.