On Saturday, January 21, 2017, the city of Clearwater’s staff and community volunteers worked to beautify the roadway along Fort Harrison Avenue. Saturday’s “Paint and Installation Day” is part of the Pop-Up North Marina Community Streets Experiment, a two month long endeavor that features temporary installations using paint and other materials on select streets in the North Marina area.
Features of the pop-up experiment include a new two-way protected bicycle lane on Osceola Avenue for one block, two streets with shared lane markings called “sharrows” (on Nicholson Street for three blocks and Eldridge Street for one block), and a lane reduction on Fort Harrison Avenue, providing on-street parking and a wider sidewalk.
Before “Paint and Installation Day” took place, the City’s Engineering Department helped restripe the streets. New shared lane markings called “sharrows” were added as well, to indicate to motorists that they must share the road with bicyclists, and three new wayfinding signs were installed to direct pedestrian traffic.
On the day of the event, city staff and volunteers came together to install benches and planters. Planters were given extra flair by the children at North Greenwood Recreation Center who participated in two art workshops before the event to design boards that were attached to the planters during installation, serving as a barrier for the new pedestrian walkway. In addition, a sidewalk extension was painted an oceanic shade of blue and a crosswalk was painted with colorful sea turtles to enhance the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood and draw attention to pedestrian traffic.
The City held a community festival on Saturday, January 28th to celebrate the installation, with food trucks, a bounce house and face painting. The Clearwater Fire Department brought a truck in for attendees to take photos with, and walking and bicycle tours were held to show off the installation. Bike/Walk Tampa Bay staff were on hand to provide education and pass out safety items.
The City of Clearwater is currently testing recommendations from the North Marina Area Master Plan to see if permanent changes should be made based on the success of the experiment. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said the revitalization effort couldn’t have come at a better time. “This is exciting for the neighborhood and for the community,” Cretekos said. “This area has a lot of history,” he continued. “If we can make this successful, it will draw people to all areas of Clearwater.”