This PD&E study was conducted to evaluate a proposed Multi‐Use Trail along State Road (SR) 60 (“SR 60”) (Courtney Campbell Causeway (“Causeway”)) from Bayshore Boulevard in Pinellas County to west of the Ben T. Davis Beach entrance in Hillsborough County, Florida. Prior to this PD&E study, FDOT District Seven conducted a feasibility study which was completed in December 2008. The results of that study were documented in a report entitled Project Concept Summary Report – Final Report, Feasibility Study, SR 60 (Courtney Campbell Causeway) Multi‐Use Trail Feasibility Study from McMullen Booth Road to Veterans Expressway. This will be referred to as the Feasibility Study Report throughout this report. The limits for the feasibility study were longer than the limits of this PD&E study. There are several other ongoing projects, some of which overlap with the PD&E study. The design and construction for the improvements evaluated under this PD&E study are currently funded in the FDOT’s Tentative Work Program for Fiscal Years (FY) 2012‐2016.
Study Purpose and Need
The proposed multi‐use trail along SR 60/Courtney Campbell Causeway from Bayshore Boulevard to west of the Ben T. Davis Beach entrance would accommodate recreational users who can experience the scenic qualities of the Causeway, further enhancing tourism and economic development. The proposed multi‐use trail has been identified in the Comprehensive Plans of the following jurisdictions: Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, the City of Tampa, and the City of Clearwater. The trail was also identified in the City of Tampa Greenways & Trails Master Plan (2001), the City of Clearwater Bikeways and Trails Plan (1996) and Shifting Gears: Clearwater’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (2007).
Design and construction phases of this project are currently funded in the FDOT’s Tentative Work Program for fiscal years (FY) 2012‐2016. The proposed trail will serve as a link in a regional network of trail systems serving the Tampa Bay region. As a needed east‐west link, the trail will provide regional connectivity with the trail networks for the jurisdictions noted above across Old Tampa Bay. In providing the east‐west link, regional connectivity could be further enhanced offering alternative modes of transportation in the region. The west end of the proposed trail would connect to Clearwater’s proposed Bayshore Boulevard Trail, which in turn would connect to numerous other trails in Pinellas County. The east end of the proposed trail would eventually connect to the existing U‐Path Trail and eventually to additional trails in Hillsborough County.
Beyond the multi‐use trail’s transportation benefits, the trail could serve the recreational needs for residents in the area and provide linkage to a series of recreational facilities along the Causeway, including boating, fishing and picnicking. It would also recreate a regional recreational opportunity to cross Tampa Bay to link Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties since the existing Friendship Trail Bridge adjacent to Gandy Boulevard was permanently closed due to structural deterioration.
A traffic analysis of the study area was performed during the Feasibility Study in 2008. SR 60, along the Courtney Campbell Causeway, is a four‐lane, divided highway. Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) on the Causeway was approximately 50,500 vehicles per day in 2009, according to the FDOT’s Florida Traffic Information DVD‐ROM. The traffic analysis assumes that no changes will be made to the roadway and that traffic volumes as projected through 2016 are relatively flat for SR 60 across the Causeway. AADT volumes are projected to rise between 1‐2 percent on either end and remain constant over the bridges. SR 60 performs at a motor vehicle Level of Service (LOS) “D” for an urbanized, four‐lane, divided state highway with uninterrupted flow, based on current traffic volumes. Because the roadway includes paved shoulders along most of its length, there is room for bicyclists in the existing cross‐section. Given the traffic characteristics and the roadway geometry, this leads to an existing bicycle LOS “D” based on the FDOT‐adopted Bicycle Level of Service Model. Pedestrians are not currently accommodated along the roadway, and the Pedestrian Level of Service Model indicates a pedestrian LOS “F”.
A Programming Screen Summary Report was published on March 29, 2011 as part of the FDOT’s ETDM process. This project was designated as ETDM Project #13102. The Federal Highway Administration has determined that the project qualifies as a Type 2 Categorical Exclusion.