If you’ve traveled down 34th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, you might recall seeing a lightly-trafficked six-lane wide highway lined by buildings and parking lots with adjoining stores in the distance. The Skyway Marina District, which spans an area of 34th St. S., also known as U.S. 19, between 22nd Ave. S. and 54th St. S., is due for scheduled maintenance, making this an ideal time to evaluate how the roadway is currently being used and envisioning what the future needs might be for those traveling the corridor.
As transportation needs evolve within the city and state, government officials and residents alike are seeing positive results when roadways are transformed to support vehicular traffic as well as those traveling by foot, bicycle, and bus. The City of St. Petersburg has adopted a Complete Streets policy, as has the State of Florida, providing a common ground for the two entities whose jurisdictions overlap on this particular roadway, to work together. Recent traffic studies have demonstrated that this section of US 19 is utilized very differently than it was when it was originally built; much of the vehicular traffic once anticipated for the corridor is now diverted to I-275, making this thoroughfare primarily an access point for those residing in the local neighborhoods and for those shopping at the many businesses along the street. Recent studies have also shown that, despite current safety concerns and challenges, there is also a notable portion of travelers who are on foot or on bicycles, as well as many who rely on the local bus line. This knowledge has sparked an active dialogue between the Skyway Marina District Business Association, city and state officials, and local residents, to come up with solutions that address the needs of everyone traveling through the corridor.