The opening of the new The Osgood Point Trail that connects Gulfport to St. Petersburg for alternative transportation users is really “about providing mobility and accessibility for bikers, joggers, walkers, really for everyone,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday morning, October 26.
Kriseman credited his friend and fellow mayor Sam Henderson of Gulfport for his leadership in helping to make the project happen.
“We would not be here without you,” said Kriseman.
The trailhead is located at the intersection of 26th Avenue South and Quincy Street South in Gulfport.
The paved spur that now connects the two cities is a cooperative effort of three governmental jurisdictions that includes the Southwest Water Management District, said Henderson.
“For six years, we’ve been in a slow process working toward getting this done,” said Henderson. “There were a lot of hoops to jump through on the way but we are committed to alternative transportation, to making our cities more connected and making alternative transportation safer.”
Gulfport community activist Wolfgang Deininger agreed that biking in the area is now safer.
“The big thing is not having to go onto 22nd Avenue South where you have to ride on the sidewalk because there is no bike lane in the street,” said Deininger. “Now, we avoid that lumpy sidewalk. It’s all about being safe.”
Alternative transportation users now have more options, said Henderson. The Osgood Point Trail connects people to the Skyway Trail where they can head north to the Pinellas Trail to go to points in St. Petersburg or south to get to Ft. DeSoto or St. Pete Beach.
“There are a number of places you can go now where trails are designed for our safety, easy and scenic riding. It’s a really cool way to see our cities and our county,” said Henderson.
The most current trail map is dated 2014 and is located at stpete.org/parks_and_recreation/city_trails/docs/bikemap2014.pdf, said Deininger.
“We are working with our partners at Forward Pinellas to add another 150 miles of trail throughout Pinellas County,” said Kriseman. “So, if you are as excited about the Osgood Point Trail as I am, just wait until you all see what’s next.”
On December 14 from 9 a.m. to noon, the Gulfport Grassroots, Neighbors Helping Neighbors volunteer group led by Deininger will conduct a cleanup of the new trail area, said Henderson.
The water ponds that can be seen from the new trail were put in by an earlier collaboration of governmental jurisdictions “as a preventative measure to mitigate contaminants from reaching Clam Bayou and Boca Ciega Bay,” said Henderson. “So, any of the trash you see is going to be cleaned up soon and it’s also trash that did not make it into our public waterways south of here.”
One good government project is making use of another, he said.
Both mayors regularly bike through the area.
“I see this as a wonderful thing,” said Henderson.