The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted a study to document the development, analysis and comparison of alternatives for proposed improvements to S.R. 693 (66th Street North) between Bryan Dairy Road and Ulmerton Road in Pinellas County, Florida.
This report documented the information necessary to establish the need for the project and determined how to implement the proposed improvements. This study satisfied the requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in order to receive federal funding for the project.
Engineering and environmental data were collected to aid in the alternatives evaluation. Once sufficient data were available, design criteria were set and alternatives were developed. Alternatives were compared to determine which would have the least impacts and provide the necessary improvements.
Study Purpose and Need
Existing S.R. 693 (66th Street) accommodates north/south travel in Central Pinellas County. Growth in this area is expected to steadily increase based on the projected growth of population and employment. The 66th Street corridor offers the opportunity for expansion to serve this projected demand.
This report documented existing characteristics and conditions of the alignment along with the need for an improved facility. Improvement alternatives were identified, described and evaluated.
This report was developed to document the comparative analysis of alternatives for the improvements to 66th Street (S.R. 693) from north of Bryan Dairy Road to Ulmerton Road (S.R. 688). Many design parameters and various comparative aspects of the project area were considered in developing alternatives. These were identified and defined in this report. The analysis of alternatives with respect to these parameters will provide the information necessary to determine the most viable project alternative. A Public Hearing was held prior to finalizing the analysis to obtain community input. This meeting was also documented in this report.
Since transportation is one of the most vital community assets, proper planning to assure that the roadway systems are adequate and functional is essential. This project is a direct result of the planning process. This roadway is shown to be improved as a link to other systems in the Pinellas County Year 2010 Long Range Transportation Plan. The improvement for 66th Street will provide a needed north/south link from southern Pinellas County to Ulmerton Road (a major east/west facility). 66th Street also extends north to U.S. 19 for access to northern Pinellas County. Pinellas County is planning to improve Bryan Dairy Road and provide an interchange at 66th Street. The improvement to 66th Street will be compatible with the County’s proposal and will aid in maintaining an acceptable Level of Service (LOS) through the 2010 design year.
Currently, 66th Street is functioning as an urban minor arterial, connecting Bryan Dairy Road & Ulmerton Road north of Pinellas Park. Current traffic counts and analyses indicate this section of 66th Street is functioning at Level of Service (LOS) F. The majority of this deterioration is attributed to the delays experienced at Ulmerton Road and Bryan Dairy Road. Applying projected traffic data to the existing facility indicates that the same segment will continue to deteriorate to the year 2010 without any improvements.
Future traffic volumes have been developed through modeling of the infrastructure system. This modeling was accomplished using current and accepted methods. Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has developed a model using the Florida Standard Urban Transportation Model Structure (FSUTMS). The projected volumes indicate the need for a six lane facility for the design year 2010. Under normal planning guidelines, transportation facilities in urban areas are to be designed to accommodate peak hour LOS D.
66th Street and Park Boulevard to the south are major thoroughfares through the Pinellas Park area. 66th Street south of the project limits is a six-lane divided facility. The intersection of 66th Street and Bryan Dairy Road is to be improved by Pinellas County in the near future with a proposed interchange. The Department has also completed a study for Ulmerton Road. This study showed the need for an interchange at the 66th Street/Ulmerton Road intersection. The 66th Street improvement will complement these improvements by providing improved north/south travel.
As traffic volumes increase on the existing roadway, law enforcement, fire and emergency vehicles will be impeded in their attempts to travel to emergencies, and a greater frequency of accidents may be anticipated. Increased capacity through widening of 66th Street will help improve the safety level as the area continues to grow. Pinellas Park Fire Department Station No. 3 is located just south of Bryan Dairy Road on 66th Street.
Consistency with Transportation Plan
The adopted Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization 2010 Long Range Plan shows 66th Street improved to a six lane facility. This widening improvement will also correspond with Pinellas Conty’s proposed improvements along Bryan Dairy Road as noted earlier.
Based on growth and projected development, Pinellas County develops a Land Use Plan for the entire county. This Plan is used to help determine the roadway improvements that will be necessary to accommodate the projected growth. The improvements proposed with this project were determined necessary by the plan.
Currently, the area around 66th Street is primarily commercial and industrial with some residential. Due to improvements along other adjacent facilities, it is anticipated that traffic to this area will increase. Growth in the area may result in heavier use of recreational facilities in the area and an increase in bicycle and pedestrian activity.
S.R. 693 (66th Street) is a primary north/south arterial. The project is approximately 1.5 miles and extends from Bryan Dairy Road (C.R. 296) to Ulmerton Road (S.R. 688). Traffic projections indicate that a six lane facility is required for the roadway to operate at an acceptable level of service in the project’s design year, 2010. Intermediate median openings between intersections will be provided to allow turning movements for the residents and businesses in the area consistent with the Department’s access management rules.
Due to the development along the corridor, another important consideration was to develop the proposed improvements within the existing FDOT right of way. This will minimize impacts to the adjacent project area and the project cost.