The City of St. Petersburg is trying to resolve the speeding issue through Causeway Isles in a manner that is safe for both vehicles and pedestrians. The YCECA Board is hopeful the completed project will be a positive solution to this ongoing problem.
The Yacht Club Estates Civic Association (YCECA) Board members met with representatives from the City of St. Petersburg on December 16, 2020 to discuss the Causeway Isles traffic circles. The YCECA Board requested the meeting to address concerns raised by residents regarding pedestrian safety, large vehicle/trailer road access, and the lack of input from Yacht Club Estates residents.
Mike Frederick (City of St. Petersburg - Neighborhood Transportation Manager) gave a presentation via Zoom about the Causeway Isles Mini Traffic Circles Project. The goal of the project is to reduce the speed of motor vehicles on 79th Street through Causeway Isles. While the posted speed limit on 79th Street is 25MPH, speed studies conducted over the past 10 years indicate an average vehicle speed of 35MPH. The mini traffic circles were chosen because they keep traffic flowing and deter speeding better than stop signs, speed bumps, and speed tables.
The project was approved by voice vote of residents attending a Causeway Isles Neighborhood Association meeting in January 2019. Since the project involves road construction within Causeway Isles, their residents' approval at their neighborhood meeting was sufficient for the City of St. Petersburg to move forward with the project. The City utilized a third-party traffic engineering firm to design the mini traffic circles on 79th Street S. at 2nd Ave. S. and 4th Ave. S. to State and National Standards. Drivers should be able to navigate each circle safely at 15MPH.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in December 2020, which comprised the installation of concentric circle road markings with bright yellow paint and raised road reflectors to create each mini traffic circle. Additionally, road signs were installed on 79th Street to notify drivers of each traffic circle and to indicate that motor vehicle drivers must share the road with bicyclists.
Phase 2 of the project is currently on hold due to pedestrian safety concerns raised by residents of Causeway Isles and Yacht Club Estates. The project is being modified to include the installation of 6-foot-wide sidewalks at each corner of the mini traffic circles. Phase 2 of the project will also include the addition of raised road studs to deter vehicles from driving through the mini traffic circles, and bicycle shared lane markings.
Phase 3 will comprise the removal of the raised road studs and the final construction of a tapered concrete apron to create the circle. The concrete apron was modeled after the Park Street roundabout, but the circle is tighter as there is not as much road width on 79th Street. Phase 3 will also include the installation of a potted plant in the center of each mini traffic circle. The potted plant will be placed on top of the manhole covers since the manholes cannot be removed as they provide access to the sewer system. The tapered concrete aprons are designed to deter drivers from traveling through the mini traffic circle but allow the wheels of large vehicles to drive over the tapered edges.
After hearing concerns from the YCECA Board about access to Yacht Club Estates by large vehicles and trailers, the City conducted a turning test with a Ford F150 (19' long) and a boat trailer (31.5' long) for a total of length of 49.5' (photos below).
The turning tests information and photos are available here, or see the slideshow below.