by Todd Logan
The popular Osprey Junction Trailhead will soon reopen with the completion of the Bay Street extension to Honore Ave. Palmer Ranch residents will have a new way to reach the trail, complete with bike lanes and a multi-use pathway. One downside, however, is the lack of bike and pedestrian infrastructure on existing Bay Street between the Legacy Trail and U.S. 41. This sleepy narrow street is about to get busy!
A group of Osprey residents, alarmed by impending safety issues from increased Bay Street traffic, decided to do something about it. They raised the issue multiple times before the County Commission. They met with County staff. They engaged their fellow residents in the area. The county quickly agreed to re-stripe the road, add signage, and paint “sharrows” on the street. But a pathway or bike lanes were considered cost prohibitive.
The group, organized as COTS, the Coalition for Osprey Transportation Safety, pressed on. Persistence paid! Commissioners eventually directed staff to find a creative solution. They did. Last week, following a public hearing, the Commission agreed to allow a developer on Englewood’s River Road to construct a Bay Street sidewalk in lieu of their obligation to build a sidewalk adjacent to their new development on River Road, which would connect to nothing and be replaced when the road is widened.
With this agreement, a 5-foot wide sidewalk will now be built along the north side of Bay Street between the Legacy Trail’s Osprey Junction Trailhead and Old Venice Road, offering a safer route for everyone. Completion is expected by February 2019.