Maps and sticky notes scribbled with ideas of how to improve the safety and aesthetics of 34th Street and the Central Town Center filled the Empath Suncoast Hospice on Wednesday, January 30 in the first step of the city of St. Petersburg’s improvement plan for the area.
“We’re going to have more small community meetings over the span of time,” said Gary Jones, an economic development officer with the city of St. Petersburg. “Please come forward if you have something to add. I would hate for someone to not be able to express their idea.”
This initial St. Petersburg Public Meeting invited residents from the surrounding areas to participate in the brainstorm of ideas that will one day change a strip of 34th Street.
That strip, a corridor between 22nd Avenue North and 3rd Avenue South, has seen nine automobile fatalities and 52 incapacitating injuries in the last five years.
In the same span of time, there have been two pedestrian deaths and 70 incapacitating bicycle injuries along that area of 34th Street, according to a presentation by the city of St. Petersburg.
To combat this, attendees broke into work stations staffed with a city official who invited them to submitted ideas on how to improve the safety and revamp the area.
The four work stations included thought boards, and categories such as top priorities, places and overall improvements.
“I really just want a walkable neighborhood sort of thing for my kids,” said Josephine Buckley, a nearby resident who attended the meeting.
Ideas submitted included improved sidewalks, and new signs and crosswalks.
According to Jones, the community input will be sorted and grouped into the recommendations with the most buzz.
“A consultant is going to sort through all the information and at the next meeting we will come up with concepts to implement,” said Jones. “That was just the kickoff meeting.”
The next public workshop is set for either May or June of this year.