Posts By: Whit Blanton

Improving Gulf Boulevard Safety is No Accident

Pick almost any month and you can read about a crash involving a pedestrian and automobile somewhere along Gulf Boulevard in Pinellas County. Often, these crashes include a fatality or serious injury. It’s an unfortunate and unacceptable situation that results from a combination of increased travel demand, conflicts over limited space, unfamiliar tourists, and a busy… Read more »

Steps for a more accessible Pinellas County

Access, the means of approaching or entering a place, is an often overlooked indicator of how successfully a community is evolving from nondescript corridor to place. Shifting from an emphasis on driving to an emphasis on walking, bikes and buses, it’s critical how consciously we plan for access. Access is often thought of in the narrowest… Read more »

A Walk on the Streets of Largo

I set out on a warm and sunny winter day after work, before the next cold front arrives, to meet the dual objectives of exercise and to enjoy social interaction at a local gathering spot in nearby Largo. It’s a 1.3 mile walk from my place in Belleair Bluffs along West Bay Drive to the Barley… Read more »

Pinellas MPO enthusiastic about prospects for countywide bike share

As I introduced the Pinellas Countywide Bike Share Feasibility item at the mid-point of Wednesday’s Pinellas County MPO meeting, I jokingly told the board we had allotted one-and-a-half hours for this agenda item. That was immediately followed by laughter. One-and-a-half hours later, we had clear and enthusiastic direction from the board to proceed with next… Read more »

Enhancing Beach Community Access in Pinellas County

Pinellas County is defined by its geography. Water on three sides, inland lakes and numerous bays, inlets, canals and wetlands make for a compact place to put people, commerce, industry and the transportation networks to serve them. One aspect of that geography, the Gulf of Mexico and its outstanding beaches, has remained a constant over… Read more »

From Transition to Transformation

The year 2015 was one of transition for the Pinellas Planning Council and Metropolitan Planning Organization, and for me personally. It began with the newly unified agency in the process of hiring an executive director, and ended with the 2nd of two strategic policy board workshops to set a direction for integrating land use and… Read more »

Who owns US 19, Gateway/Mid-County and the Beaches? We all do.

The Pinellas beaches, the Gateway/Mid-County area, and the US 19 corridor reflect different aspects of Pinellas County, but all have a few things in common. First, they share in driving the Pinellas County economy and serve essential regional economic functions. They are multi-jurisdictional areas with unique local challenges and preferences. Transportation is a critical aspect… Read more »

The Important Lessons of SunRail

If we’re going to adapt our land use and transportation planning to a new reality, we’re going to need to rethink access in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region. Our automobile-oriented culture is undergoing changes from demographics, market trends, technology and public preferences. Those changes favor seamless travel experiences that connect people to places where we… Read more »