DUNEDIN, Fla. (WFLA) — The kickoff for Forward Pinellas’ “2050 Long Range Transportation Plan” is Thursday. County leaders are looking at improving roads, transit services, bike and walking trails over the next 25 years.
Forward Pinellas CEO Whit Blanton said, “There’s really no such thing as luck, there’s a plan meeting opportunity.” According to Blanton, community members can weigh in on concerns, projects and changes they’d like to see in Pinellas County.
County leaders are preparing to accommodate growth throughout the area. They’re expecting 93,000 people to move to Pinellas in the coming decades.
Improving road safety is a major part of the plan. According to data from Forward Pinellas, there were 112 fatal crashes in the county in 2022. “We kill and injure people at a much greater rate than people in other counties in our state. How do we address that,” Blanton questioned.
A plan already in place calls for additional overpasses on US-19, better transit service in commercial areas and rapid routes with fewer stops.
Additionally, leaders are also looking at where the area is lacking. Blanton said, “We’ve really lagged behind in transit service. We have no rail service in the region we have opened the Sun Runner in St.Petersburg and, again, that was part of our last long range plan. So, what’s next?”
He says extending the plan through 2050 is critical for funding.
“This plan is crucial for the use of any federal or state funds on transportation projects. If it’s not in the plan I can’t use federal or state funds on it,” Blanton said.
Members of Pinellas Forward will be at the intersection of State Road 580 and Skinner Boulevard in Dunedin for the kickoff from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.