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Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States

34th Street South Continued...

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Ok, back to 34th Street South in St. Pete...

So one of the things that is sure to come out of the 34th Street redevelopment is streetscaping - wider/decorative sidewalks, seating, light fixtures, pavement designs, etc.

I spent a family vacation in Orlando this past week - specifically Lake Buena Vista and Kissimmee. While there, I saw what should NOT be done with 34th Street. Take a trip down US 192 in Kissimmee, better known as Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, and you will see. What may have been a neat-looking installation of brightly colored light posts, mile markers and bus shelters, now looks tacky and dated in my opinion. The same could be said, dare I say, for the stretch of Central Avenue right here in St. Petersburg between MLK and 16th Street in the formerly Dome District, now called EDGE district. The bright colored sidewalks and light fixtures are more appropriate for the beach community or some cheesy tourist district than an established (or establishing) urban district in a major city.

When approaching things like streetscaping - which is the main thing the municipality can do in terms of direct impact on the built environment in the 34th Street South district - planners and involved residents should look to turn 34th Street South into a "complete" street. Complete streets address all modes of transportation - private vehicles, bicycles, public transportation and pedestrians. There is landscaping, shade and seating.

To do this, I recommend the following

Consider the road diet

This may be the most "radical" thought. However, 34th Street South operates far below capacity, and may continue to do so, even with the redevelopment of properties along the stretch. Removing a lane of vehicular traffic would not create any bottlenecks or significantly impact congestion at all, in my opinion.

Replace a vehicular lane with a buffered bicycle lane

Adding a buffered bicycle lane adds an amenity not found anywhere else in the city. It is also an opportunity for additional landscaping beyond the medians, and adds an additional buffer between vehicles and pedestrians

Widen sidewalks and add seating in various locations

Although alone they may not increase pedestrian activity, they certainly make walking a more pleasant experience. Combined with the bicycle lane, pedestrians should feel good about walking the district. Also, seating should be added at various locations. This can be in the form of free-standing benches as well as seating built into retaining walls near intersections.


Of course landscaping, lighting, paving, bus shelters, way finding and seating should be built around a theme for the district. My only recommendation is to choose a timeless theme and use timeless decorative features that will not look outdated in 10 years. A tropical look with lush landscaping as the main feature supported by lighting, paving and seating I think will fit well in this area surrounded by waterfront neighborhoods to the west, and wooded neighborhoods to the east. It will also be a nice, distinctive contrast to the harder-surfaced areas of 34th Street to the north.

I may expound on these ideas more within this post. There are lots of good resources on Complete Streets. As planning moves forward, I highly recommend these be consulted.

But more to come on 34th Street South about potential funding mechanisms and other regulatory ideas.

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