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					Plan Context
3          PLAN CONTEXT

3.1        Planning Assumptions
The planning assumptions serve as the foundation for the technical and
policy analysis leading to the adoption of the 2025 LRTP Update.
Confirmation of planning assumptions is an important early step in this
process because it helps to establish the baseline assumptions that          With the emergence of physical
guide the development of the needs assessment and form the core of           and policy constraints affecting
the strategic vision for mobility investments in Pinellas County.            the feasibility of improving
                                                                             congested roadways, a greater
This section presents significant socioeconomic and land use trends,         emphasis should be placed on
redevelopment or economic initiatives at the local level, and                increasing mobility through
transportation projects at the regional and local level that are likely to   strategies that do not involve
affect the long range transportation system in Pinellas County.              road expansion. Examples of
                                                                             these strategies include small-
                                                                             scale physical and operational
3.2        Socioeconomic Profile                                             improvements, demand
Pinellas County is in transition. Population, job growth, lack of vacant     management strategies (e.g.,
land, and an overall shift in demographics have redefined the priorities     ride-sharing and vanpooling)
and needs of County citizens. This section provides the details of this      and the encouragement of
transition.                                                                  alternative travel modes (e.g.,
                                                                             bicycle, transit).
3.2.1      Permanent Population                                               Planning to Stay, Pinellas
                                                                             County Comprehensive Plan
Pinellas County’s permanent population has steadily increased over the       (Amended April 27, 2004 and
last 100 years. During this time, the decades of the 1920s and the           March 18, 2008)
1960s showed the highest percentage increases in total population.
From the 1970s on, population continued to steadily increase, but not at
the same rapid pace as prior years, primarily due to the diminishing
amount of developable land available in Pinellas County. The last
decade, from 1990 to 2000, saw the total increase in population slow
even more, with a 2000 population of 921,482, representing only an
eight percent increase from 1990.

2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                        27
     Permanent population includes residents living year round in the
     County. The percentage of increase in permanent population for
     Pinellas County has proportionally decreased over the last few decades
     compared to the region as a whole. Due to the availability of more
     developable land, surrounding counties have seen higher population
     growth rates. While Pinellas County only saw an eight percent increase
     in population from 1990 to 2000, Hillsborough County experienced a 20
     percent increase, Pasco County experienced a 23 percent increase and
     Manatee County experienced a 25 percent increase between 1990 and
     2000. Figures 3-1 and 3-2 summarize historic population growth for
     Pinellas and surrounding counties.



                    Figure 3-1 Historic Permanent Population Totals by County

       1,200,000

       1,000,000

                                                                               Hillsborough
        800,000
                                                                               Pinellas
        600,000
                                                                               Pasco
        400,000                                                                Manatee

        200,000

              0
                     1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000



     Source: US Census


                   Figure 3-2 Percent Change in Permanent Population by County

        1.8
        1.6
        1.4
                                                                                  Hillsborough
        1.2
          1                                                                       Pinellas

        0.8                                                                       Pasco
        0.6                                                                       Manatee
        0.4
        0.2
          0
               1920    1930   1940   1950   1960   1970   1980   1990   2000



     Source: US Census




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A testament to diminishing land availability, the population density within
the county increased from 2,629 to 3,291 persons per square mile from
1990 to 2000. (Source: Planning To Stay, An Element of the Pinellas
County Comprehensive Plan). The county is projecting a full build out
density of 3,600 persons per square mile. (Planning To Stay, An
Element of the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan). With the 2000
permanent population of 921,482, Pinellas has become the most
densely populated county in the entire state, making it nearly three
times more dense than Broward County in south Florida, which is the
second densest county in the state with 1,347 persons per square mile
in 2000 (US Census). However, this figure is somewhat inflated by the
small size of the county. Pinellas County can no longer accommodate                               Well designed residential development
large-scale development projects because it lacks large areas of vacant                           makes higher densities compatible
greenfield sites. This shortage of land is forcing county officials to make                       with existing communities.
changes in land development policies that will help to encourage
redevelopment and infill in order to accommodate future growth.

     Table 3-1 Permanent Population Growth Forecasts for Pinellas County
      Year              2003            2010            2020         2030             Ultimate

 Population        937,650             958,749      975,871        985,091              999,912

 % Change                                  2.3%           1.8%           0.9%              1.5%

Source: 2004 Socioeconomic Growth Projections, Pinellas County
        Planning Department

     Table 3-2 Permanent Population Growth Forecasts by Planning Sector
                                    % of
                         Net        Total        Pinellas County Planning
  2003        2025
                      Change       County                  Sector
                                   Growth
   27,500      31,800          4,300              10%     1. Greater Tarpon Springs
   35,800      39,500          3,700              8%      2. East Lake Tarpon
   61,290      65,010          3,710              8%      3. Palm Harbor
   39,970      41,570          1,600              4%      4. Greater Dunedin
                                                          5. Greater Safety Harbor/
   30,140      34,140          4,000              9%
                                                             Oldsmar
  140,170     146,490          6,320              14%     6. Greater Clearwater
   92,620      94,350          1,730              4%      7. Greater Largo
   25,670      29,260          3,600              8%      8. Highpoint
   87,900      89,800          1,890              5%      9. Greater Seminole
   86,010      90,990          4,990              12%     10. Greater Pinellas Park
  271,520     278,780          7,260              17%     11. Greater St. Petersburg
   20,930      21,260           330               1%      12. South County Beaches
   18,140      18,200            60               0%      13. Mid County Beaches

Source: 2004 Socioeconomic Growth Projections, Pinellas County Planning
        Department


2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                                                 29
     Map 3-1 Planning Sectors




30
Population projections for the future as shown in Tables 3-1 and 3-2
demonstrate the estimated distribution of growth throughout the county.
In 2003, the areas with the highest population were Greater Clearwater
and Greater St. Petersburg, the two largest cities in the County. The
Pinellas Park area, located in mid-county also includes a large share of
the County’s total population. The areas expected to grow by the
largest percentage in the future are Greater St. Petersburg, Greater
Clearwater, Greater Pinellas Park and Greater Tarpon Springs, which is
currently one of the smallest sectors in the County in terms of land area.

From 2000 to 2010, the County is projected to grow by only 3.7 percent.
In comparison, Hillsborough County is projected to grow by 12.4 percent
during the same time period, from 1.0 million to 1.2 million residents. By
2030, the population in Pinellas County is expected to reach 985,000.
This represents an increase of 7.2 percent in total population from 2000
to 2030 (2004 Socioeconomic Growth Projections, Pinellas County
Planning Department). The needs assessment discussed in Chapter 4
documents the affect this population growth and accompanying
demographic trends will have on the future transportation system in
Pinellas County. The LRTP makes recommendations necessary for
these needs to be addressed.

3.2.1.1   Age
The most significant socioeconomic change in Pinellas County has been
the shift in age. According to the US Census, the percentage of elderly
residents, aged 65 and over, declined from 26 to 22 percent between
1990 and 2000.         During this same period, school enrollment
(kindergarten through 12th grade) experienced a 34 percent increase.
Pinellas has experienced a shift from an elderly population to a younger
population, most notably families with children. This trend is expected to
continue as higher paying job growth and downtown redevelopment
occurs, attracting more upscale residential developments.

3.2.2      Employment
The county is undergoing an economic development boom, with an
increase of 108,000 jobs, nearly 30 percent, between 1990 and 2000,
the second highest percentage increase in the eight county West
Central Florida region (US Census). Economic development creates the
jobs and tax revenues that generate private and public wealth in             The demographics are shifting in
Pinellas County. The number of jobs created in Pinellas County               Pinellas County. A growing number of
outpaced the population increase during the last decade, suggesting          families with school-aged children are
                                                                             coming to the area.
that the County is importing workers from adjacent counties. Journey to
work information from the 2000 US Census confirms this; the portion of
the total work force commuting to Pinellas from other counties increased
from 10 percent to 14 percent between 1990 and 2000. Among
counties in the region, only Hillsborough County imports more workers
during a workday than Pinellas County.




2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                           31
                                     3.2.2.1    Employment Trends
                                     Pinellas County has a healthy and diverse economic base, including a
                                     concentration in the manufacturing industry. Table 3-3 describes the
                                     current and projected future geographic distribution of employment in
                                     Pinellas County. In 2003, the areas with the highest employment were
                                     the major cities – St. Petersburg and Clearwater (2004 Socioeconomic
                                     Growth Projections, Pinellas County Planning Department). These
                                     areas are expected to remain major employment hubs in the future and
                                     show some of the strongest growth in employment through 2025.
                                     Significant employment growth is also projected to occur in Tarpon
Central Pinellas County contains a
high concentration of the County’s   Springs and Pinellas Park by 2025. As discussed further in the needs
employment                           assessment, Pinellas County is ranked second statewide in
                                     manufacturing jobs. It leads the 21-county “high-tech” corridor generally
                                     following Interstate-4 from Pinellas County to Volusia County in the
                                     number of medical and technology jobs.

                                               Table 3-3 Employment Growth Forecasts by Planning Sector
                                                                     % of
                                                                     Total
                                                            Net
                                       2000      2025               County             Planning Sector
                                                          Change
                                                                     Job
                                                                   Growth

                                      13,933    16,365      2,432      3%     1. Greater Tarpon Springs
                                      11,503    14,193      2,690      4%     2. East Lake Tarpon
                                      23,101    24,193      1,092      1%     3. Palm Harbor
                                      14,720    16,469      1,749      2%     4. Greater Dunedin
                                      11,031    12,766      1,735      2%     5. Greater Safety Harbor/Oldsmar
                                      87,981    94,740      6,759      9%     6. Greater Clearwater
                                      50,708    56,378      5,670      7%     7. Greater Largo
                                      66,305    73,795      7,490     10%     8. Highpoint
                                      41,750    45,232      3,482      5%     9. Greater Seminole
                                      53,370    66,779     13,409     18%     10. Greater Pinellas Park
                                     134,644   163,768     29,124     38%     11. Greater Saint Petersburg
                                      12,053    12,484       431       1%     12. South County Beaches'
                                       6,400     6,560       160       0%     13. Mid County Beaches'

                                     Source: 2004 Socioeconomic Growth Projections, Pinellas County Planning
                                             Department


                                     3.2.2.2   Commuter Trends
                                     According to demographic trends and projections, the county is adding
                                     one new job for every 1.6 new residents, and has become the leading
                                     creator of jobs in the region. Roughly 13 percent of this workforce
                                     travels outside of Pinellas County for work. This is slightly higher than
                                     Hillsborough County, where 10 percent leave the county for work. It is



32
significantly lower than Pasco, where nearly half of the residents leave
the county for work (US Census).

Of the Pinellas County workforce, 30 percent of commuters reported a
commute time of 30 minutes or more. In Hillsborough County, 37
percent commute more than 30 minutes. In Pasco County, 44 percent
of residents commute 30 minutes or more. This supports the notion that
Pinellas is becoming more of an employment destination for the Tampa
Bay region, and the shorter commute times indicate that people who live
in Pinellas also work in Pinellas (US Census).

3.3        Land Use Profile
Pinellas County is an urban county located along the west coast of
Florida. In land area, the County is small – only 280 square miles in
size. The largest percentage of county land is in residential use. A
large proportion of land is also dedicated to parks, recreation, open
space and natural areas to serve the county residents and enhance the
quality of life.

Pinellas County will be the first county within Florida to achieve build-
out.   Today only six percent of the County consists of vacant
developable land; as recently as 1989 the figure was 15 percent. The
remaining vacant property suitable for development is mostly comprised
of small tracts distributed throughout the existing urban area. Pinellas
County has exhausted much of this vacant acreage. As a result, a
substantial portion of the County’s remaining vacant land is now located
in the Gateway/Mid-County Area where I-275, Ulmerton Road, Gandy
Boulevard, US 19 and 49th Street converge. This area has been
planned since the 1970s to serve as the County’s major employment             Example of new urbanist style, higher
center and contains more than 60 percent of the planned industrial            density residential development in
                                                                              Largo.
acreage in the county. In addition, roughly 23 percent of the vacant
acreage in the County is located in the Gateway/Mid-County area
ensuring that a significant portion of the County’s employment growth in
the next few years will occur in the mid-county area.

3.3.1      Density
As a county in transition, the planning emphasis for managing growth
has shifted from greenfield development to infill and redevelopment.
With this new development pattern comes increased densities and the
proliferation of activity centers throughout the county. The transportation
network and planned improvements should reflect and support this
changing pattern of growth.

Residential density in Pinellas County between 1996 and 2000 shows
that the average number of dwelling units per developed residential acre
increased from 6.85 to 6.92 (Pinellas County Planning Department,
2000). Although the increase is small, it is significant, considering that
only a fraction of the total housing stock was built during this four-year
period. Over the next few decades, as remaining vacant land is
developed and significant redevelopment occurs, it is anticipated that
overall residential densities will continue to increase.



2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                           33
                                 Table 3-4 illustrates the 1990 and 2000 total housing units in Pinellas
                                 County and surrounding counties. Despite the demand for more
                                 housing as a result of increasing employment, housing construction has
                                 steadily decreased since the 1980s. The majority of housing in Pinellas
                                 County was built between 1970 and 1989. During these time periods,
                                 nearly half of Pinellas’ housing stock was built. Since 1990, however,
                                 only 46,723 units were built, which represents 11 percent of Pinellas
                                 County’s’ total housing stock. During this same period, Pasco increased
                                 its housing stock by 26 percent, Hillsborough County by 30 percent, and
                                 Hernando County by 37 percent (US Census).

                                                      Table 3-4 Total Residential Units
                                                                            1990-2000     1990-2000 %
                                         County        1990      2000
                                                                             Change         Change

                                 Pinellas            434,850    481,573         46,723          11%

                                 Hernando             45,862     62,727         16,865          36%

                                 Hillsborough        328,517    425,962         97,445          30%

                                 Pasco               137,491    173,717         36,226          26%

                                 Source: US Census


                                 With not enough housing growth in the County to meet demand, people
                                 are forced to move to neighboring counties and commute to their jobs in
                                 Pinellas. Lack of land available for housing also has repercussions on
                                 the affordability of housing. As the supply of vacant land decreases, the
                                 value of land increases, thus driving up housing prices.

                                 3.3.2       Growth Areas
                                 As documented throughout this chapter and demonstrated in “Planning
                                 to Stay,” an element of the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan, a
                                 substantial portion of the County’s remaining vacant land is located in
                                 the Gateway/Mid-County area where major transportation facilities
                                 converge. It is anticipated that a significant portion of the County’s
                                 growth in the next few years will also occur here. Existing downtowns
                                 such as St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and Largo
                                 are also expected to continue growing through infill and redevelopment.
                                 Many of Pinellas’ municipalities have formed community redevelopment
Downtown Clearwater is       a   agencies, and are proceeding with redevelopment projects. These
redeveloping urban center   in   centers of activity will continue to increase in density, supporting more
Pinellas County.                 livable environments where multiple travel choices such as walking and
                                 transit are viable.

                                 3.4        Regional Access and Economic
                                            Development
                                 Economic development and demographic change are occurring despite
                                 the lack of large, undeveloped parcels of land available to support rapid
                                 growth. Some growth continues on the few vacant tracts remaining, but
                                 much is occurring through redevelopment, and much of the


 34
redevelopment is occurring in the county’s largest centers of activity,
including downtown St. Petersburg, downtown Clearwater and the Mid-
County area. This trend is expected to continue, with about half of the
county’s anticipated employment growth over the next 20 years
expected to locate in these areas.

The reason for the redevelopment and continued growth of these major
activity centers is in part due to their regional accessibility. As shown in
Map 3-2, these activity centers are located along major access routes
into the county; therefore each is convenient for commuters, work-
related travel and goods movement. The economic health and viability
of these centers depends on the mobility provided by their access
routes.

In recognition of the important link between the state’s economic
development and transportation, the Florida Department of
Transportation has designated the Strategic Intermodal System (SIS),
which includes all roads, railroads, ports, terminals and waterways that
provide primary access to the state’s major urban areas. The identified
SIS connectors and hubs will be given first priority for Florida state
funding. This system integrates important facilities and services in the
state with all forms of transportation. The SIS aims to help the state
target its transportation expenditures strategically, use new
transportation technologies, identify the state’s role in transportation,
and help update the subsequent Florida Transportation Plan. SIS
facilities in Pinellas County include I-275, I-175, I-375, US 19 Gandy
Boulevard (US 92/SR 694) and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and
shipping lanes. I-275 carries much of the county’s regional traffic,
connecting the county not only to Tampa and the Tampa International
Airport, the region’s only SIS airport, but also to the rest of the state and
country. The Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR 60) is a regional
connection between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, but is not               Courtney Campbell Causeway functions
considered statewide or regionally significant based on the fact that it is     as a critical link between Pinellas and
not included on the SIS. US 19, a major commuting route for those living        Hillsborough Counties.
in Hernando and Pasco Counties and working in Pinellas County, is not
a direct or convenient travel route for regional traffic thereby making I-
275 the key access route for Pinellas County.

The SIS is more than a designation of facilities; it also influences how
FDOT will invest its transportation dollars, and a high proportion of the
agency’s revenues will be devoted to developing and maintaining the
SIS. Funding details for the SIS will not be known until after this plan is
adopted, thus the MPO will likely amend this plan once SIS and non-SIS
funding information is available from FDOT. Although there are currently
no identified emerging SIS surface transportation facilities in Pinellas
County, it is possible that, emerging SIS facilities could be identified in
the future. It is expected that FDOT’s commitment to the SIS will ensure
continued attention to needed improvements for the county’s SIS
designated facilities.




2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                              35
     Map 3-2 Intermodal Hubs




36
The fate of the Florida High Speed Rail is unclear after Floridians voted
to rescind a constitutional amendment to build the system in November
2004. If built, the high-speed rail would provide another mode of
regional access to Pinellas. The first leg of the proposed system, which
will be part of the SIS if built, is to connect Pinellas with Hillsborough,
Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties. Eventually, the system will extend
statewide. The Pinellas County rail stations are proposed in downtown
St. Petersburg and the mid-county area.

Currently, Pinellas County has five non-auto regional connections.
Three bus routes operate between Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties
and one bus route operates between Pasco and Pinellas Counties. The
PSTA and Hartline jointly operate express bus Routes 100X, 200X and
300X between Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. PSTA’s Routes 19
and 66 connect with Pasco County’s public transportation Routes 19
and 18. These connections occur at the Tarpon Mall and the Sponge
Docks in Tarpon Springs. The Friendship Trail, a bicycle and pedestrian
facility using the Old Gandy Bridge is another non-auto regional
connection. As documented in the West Central Florida Regional Long
Range Transportation Plan, the limited availability of regional non-auto      Express bus route 300X provides and
connections is one of the major transportation challenges facing the          important regional connection between
region. By increasing non-auto options, Pinellas County will create a         Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.
more livable, pedestrian-friendly environment.

Given Pinellas County’s emphasis on job growth and redevelopment,             The 300X express bus route
transportation access plays a major role in helping create livable centers
that sustain the County’s economic vitality, improve air quality and          provides             connections
enhance quality of life. As introduced in Chapter 3, there are three levels
of activity centers or intermodal hubs: Tier 1 Activity Centers - Regional,   between         Pinellas        and
Tier 2 Activity Centers - District/Community, and Tier 3 Activity Centers -
Neighborhood. Aside from the obvious land use and urban design                Hillsborough       counties      on
considerations for activity centers, there are transportation investments
needed to ensure their viability and functionality as intermodal hubs.        coach-style buses.
Doing so will improve mobility for Pinellas County residents of all ages,
abilities and socioeconomic levels, employees and visitors.




2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                           37
                                          3.4.1       TIER 1 REGIONAL ACTIVITY CENTERS
                                          Activity centers classified as Tier 1 serve a regional purpose, have a
                                          significant    concentration   of    employment      and/or    population,
                                          accommodate freight movement, and their development intensity and
                                          population or employment density make them capable of supporting
                                          regional multimodal transportation investments. Transportation
                                          strategies generally lean toward regional accessibility, but design
                                          considerations should support a high level of pedestrian accessibility. As
                                          a result, Tier 1 centers generally feature structured parking as a way to
                                          accommodate the balance between high levels of regional traffic
                                          demand, promote a “park once” environment for various activities that
                                          may occur in the center, and have high land values. Edge or adjacent
                                          land uses are generally commercial or industrial in character. Examples
                                          of Tier 1 centers include:
                                                  Existing and emerging SIS facilities and hubs (St. Petersburg/Clearwater
                                                  International Airport);
Downtown Clearwater is a Tier 1                   Established major downtown districts (St. Petersburg and Clearwater); and
activity center. The density, diversity           Major employment centers (e.g., Gateway, St. Petersburg/ Clearwater Airport,
and design of the area contribute to              Carillon).
its livability.
                                          Given their size, regional centers may feature multiple focal points for
                                          activity, from retail districts or main streets to parks and civic buildings.
                                          Focal points are public gathering places, and help create the
                                          attractiveness and vibrancy that makes a community livable. Connecting
                                          these focal points to provide strong access and continuity of the district
                                          is essential in a regional center. Connections should be multimodal in
                                          nature, with accommodations for people of all ages and abilities.

                                          Good transportation access is another important element of a regional
                                          center. To ensure economic vitality of the center, strong connections
                                          with other centers and regional transportation facilities are needed for
                                          commuting and distribution of goods. An example of Tier 1 regional
                                          centers is illustrated in Map 3-3.

                                          3.4.2       TIER 2 COMMUNITY DISTRICT ACTIVITY
                                                        CENTERS
                                          Tier 2 Centers as shown in Map 3-3, are generally sub-regional in
                                          nature, meaning that they serve a large community, neighborhood or
                                          district function (such as Largo or even Mid-county). They provide a
                                          strong identity, focus and context to a larger community consisting of
                                          surrounding neighborhoods and commercial corridors. Some Tier 2
                                          centers may also have limited regional influence such as the beaches
                                          and major shopping centers. Strong multimodal connections should be
                                          present, but do not always include regional transportation facilities and
                                          services. Design blends regional, community and pedestrian scales.
                                          Adjacent land uses are transitional, including medium density residential
                                          or less intense commercial/professional office land uses.




  38
Examples of Tier 2 centers include:
        Regional shopping centers (e.g., Westfield Shoppingtown Countryside Mall,
        Crossroads Mall, Clearwater Mall, Tyrone Mall, Parkside Mall, etc.);
        Smaller downtowns and redevelopment districts (e.g., Dunedin, Safety Harbor,
        Tarpon Springs, Largo and Pinellas Park);
        Major transit transfer terminals (e.g., Park Street, Central Plaza);
        Beaches – primarily along Gulf Boulevard (e.g. John’s Pass Village, Clearwater
        Beach);
        Light industrial distribution centers (e.g., Hercules area, Starkey/ Bryan Dairy   Bryan Dairy West is an example of a
        area, etc.); and                                                                   Tier 2 Activity Center.
        Subregional employment centers (e.g., Rubin Icot Center, Oldsmar area at SR
        584).

3.4.3       TIER 3 NEIGHBORHOOD CENTERS
Tier 3 centers provide a neighborhood focal point and serve as a hub for
pedestrian, bicycle and transit networks. These centers are mostly
smaller than one half mile in diameter, and should be located
approximately every one half mile. Design is primarily at a pedestrian
scale, but connections with other centers through street, transit and
bicycle networks should be strong. Adjacent or edge land uses are
generally single- or multi-family residential. Examples of Tier 3 activity
centers are:
        Other PSTA transfer facility locations;
        Civic or focal points of smaller communities (e.g., Kenneth City, Lealman,
        Seminole, Palm Harbor);
        Community or neighborhood commercial areas; and
        Major parks, civic uses or public buildings outside of downtowns.




2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                                                                         39
     Map 3-3 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Activity Centers




40
3.5        Implications
This organizing framework is helpful to understand the need for various
transportation investments in the Pinellas County 2025 LRTP. The
categories provide a sense of scale for the type of transportation
investment needed to ensure adequate mobility through 2025. The
transportation corridors linking the county’s activity centers and the
region provide mobility for commuters, visitors and tourists, and people
meeting their daily shopping and social or recreation needs.

There are three categories of activity centers or intermodal hubs in the
county: Tier 1 Activity Centers which are regional in nature, Tier 2
Activity Centers which function at the district/community level, and Tier 3
Activity Centers which are oriented towards neighborhoods. These
centers of activity each play a part in shaping travel markets and
providing an important access point for area roadways, transit service,
walking and bicycling. The Tier 1 and Tier 2 Activity Centers generate
the bulk of economic activity in Pinellas County and safe, convenient
intra-county access to these centers is very important to both continued
economic development and quality of life in the County.

According to the 2000 US Census, nearly two-thirds of the work trips in
Pinellas County are less than 24 minutes long, which at an average
commute speed of 25 miles per hour, equals a commuting distance of
around 10 miles. The county’s three Tier 1 Activity Centers (St.
Petersburg, Mid-County/Gateway Area, and Clearwater) are roughly ten
miles apart, which is very likely due, in part, to average commute times.
Drawing commute area circles around each center creates an overlap
that covers nearly the entire County, suggesting that each Tier 1 Activity
Center has its own travel shed, travel market area. The coverage of
these travel sheds indicates that most of the county is within normal
commute distance of one of the centers, and in many cases workers in
the county have access to more than one Tier 1 Activity Center. There
are a number of jobs outside the Tier 1 centers so not all work trips are
destined for a center and there are likely a number of workers who do
not travel to the closest center. However, it is likely that a composite
map of all commute trips in the county would create a pattern that
somewhat reflects the commuting travel sheds described above. This
would indicate that the county should direct its attention to providing
safe and convenient travel routes from the travel sheds to the three Tier
1 Activity Centers.

The county’s existing transportation system provides a number of
multimodal travel options to Tier 1 as well as Tier 2 centers. The grid
roadway network, with US 19 as the “backbone” provides multiple paths
from travel market areas to the centers. PSTA’s transit routes converge
from the travel markets into the centers, as does the existing trail
system. In sum, the county is providing multimodal access to each of its
centers and this plan continues to support that effort.

3.6        Travel Between Activity Centers
With an “auto-centric” transportation system and development patterns,
there is not much travel demand between the Tier 1 centers. Shopping


2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                           41
                                           and service opportunities are purposely located along commuting routes
                                           for easy access during commute trips and are within short distances of
                                           homes for non-commute trips. However, redevelopment will increase
                                           development densities in the Tier 1 centers resulting in increased
                                           congestion on commute routes that, for the most part, cannot be
                                           widened due to policy and/or physical constraints. In this scenario,
                                           there will be many people, especially those without children, who decide
                                           to both live and work within the activity centers. This, in turn, will create
                                           more pressure for retail uses and services to locate within the centers,
                                           thereby changing their orientation and function from places of
                                           employment to places where people have a full range of activities within
                                           walking distance.

                                           As the Tier 1 centers transition, transit between the centers will become
                                           a more viable and competitive travel option because overall travel
                                           demand between the centers will increase due to more opportunities
                                           available in the centers, and because their design will encourage
                                           walking, a prerequisite for transit to succeed. This demand is expected
                                           to require high speed, high capacity transit routes between the centers.
                                           Furthermore, there will be demand for smaller centers around the
                                           stations located between the Tier 1 centers, providing even more
                                           opportunities and generating even more demand. In essence a new
                                           travel pattern will emerge because of the centers. This new pattern will
                                           overlay, not replace, existing patterns.

                                           The Pinellas Mobility Initiative (PMI) study completed in 2004 looked at
                                           non-auto travel options to improve mobility countywide. The final
                                           recommendations of the study included a fixed guideway monorail
                                           providing high speed, high capacity connections among the Tier 1
                                           centers. Additional elements of the proposed PMI system are discussed
                                           in Chapter 7. The PMI enhances the existing transit system, providing
                                           an optimum solution for the development opportunities in Pinellas
                                           County transportation constraints.
This is an example of the type of fixed
guideway monorail system proposed          The existing and emerging trail system also supports the development
by the Pinellas Mobility Initiative that   trends and patterns in the County. As of 2000, Pinellas County owns
would connect the Tier 1 activity          and/or manages about 356 acres of multi-use trails and several more
centers in Pinellas County.                are being planned. These existing and planned trails link Tier 1 and Tier
.                                          2 Activity Centers and connect the travel market with the centers.




    42
3.7        Intermodal Hubs and Movement of
           Goods
As noted above, the Tier 1 Activity Centers in Pinellas County are the
primary economic engines in Pinellas County mainly because of their
regional access. The employment and consumer activity in each
attracts workers and shoppers from surrounding travel markets.
Because regional and local travel converges at the Tier 1 Activity
Centers, they are the logical locations for the county’s major intermodal
hubs. As the county redevelops and densities increase within these
centers, the viability of non-auto travel modes improves. This further
establishes the activity centers as intermodal hubs.

FDOT recently prepared a preliminary design and environmental
assessment of five intermodal stations in the Tampa Bay region, one of
which is in Pinellas’ mid-county area. The intermodal stations are tied,
in part, to the proposed high-speed rail stops in the region, but the need
for the stations is not predicated on high-speed rail. The stations will
provide the opportunity for county and regional travelers to transfer
among modes as they travel to or from the county. For example,
Pinellas residents will be able to take a local bus or drive to the county’s
intermodal hub and transfer to a regional transit route or possibly high
speed rail to travel outside the county.

Most of the goods transported to and within the county are delivered by
trucks, which comprise less than three percent of the county’s traffic
volume. Most of the commercial goods arriving into the county are
transferred at intermodal facilities located outside its borders. While the
volume of goods moved within the county is rather low compared to
other areas of the state, the MPO recognizes that the roadways and
other facilities needed to accommodate the movement of goods are
critical to the economic vitality of the county and the region. Therefore,
the MPO maintains the Pinellas County Truck Route Plan that identifies
roadways suitable for heavy truck movement. The identified truck
routes in the county provide access to and from major activity centers
along corridors such as Ulmerton Road, I-275, US 19 and SR 60 to
name a few. The MPO works with local regulatory agencies to balance
issues associated with the movement of trucks and neighborhood
impacts, restricting movement on certain roadways to daylight hours
only.

The MPO conducted the Pinellas County Goods Movement Study to
develop a safe and efficient countywide freight network and Truck Route
Plan and to comply with FHWA certification requirements for the MPO.
An advisory committee for the Goods Movement Study was comprised
of intermodal operators (airport and transit), law enforcement, public and
private freight providers, municipal public works staff, FDOT and MPO
staff. The study identified areas of conflict for freight movement and
defined short-term and long-term strategies to improve freight mobility
within Pinellas County, while minimizing effects to community assets.
The improvement strategies and policy recommendations resulting from
the study will be integrated into the next update of the LRTP. The
Pinellas County MPO Truck Route Plan M+ap was amended at the
MPO public hearing of March 12, 2008.


2025 Long Range Transportation Plan                                            43

				
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