Forward Pinellas as the unified MPO/PPC has been tasked by a special act of the state legislature to coordinate transportation and land use planning in Pinellas County. One way to strengthen this coordination is to incentivize transportation investments so they serve as a catalyst for transformative redevelopment, particularly through the implementation of “Complete Streets” projects.
Complete Streets are designed, operated and maintained for all users, regardless of age or ability, based on the context of the roadway and its surrounding area. Through collaboration with its committees and board, Forward Pinellas has developed an incentive program to assist local governments in planning, designing and constructing Complete Streets projects.
Forward Pinellas employs a congestion management process (CMP) to identify and respond to problems of recurring and non-recurring traffic congestion. Recurring congestion is caused by more users of a road or intersection than it can handle. Non-recurring congestion is a result of crashes, emergencies or special events. Both contribute to delays that cost people time and money.
Congestion management strategies provide lower cost alternatives to major capital investments that are considered in identifying improvements necessary to address roadway congestion. The provides an overview of the federal and state requirements pertaining to the CMP and describes how Forward Pinellas evaluates transportation system performance measures for application of CMP strategies.
Planning at the local government level can require large investments of staff time and financial resources, and smaller communities with limited resources often require assistance from Forward Pinellas.
Our staff provides several different types of local assistance. We are always available to provide routine technical help to local government staff members who have questions about, or need help navigating their way through, the countywide land use and transportation planning process. We track state and federal legislation that affects local comprehensive planning and land development regulation. We host educational workshops and planning discussion forums, and our staff is available to make presentations at local government meetings and workshops upon request.
Counter data is collected monthly at all eight Pinellas Trail Count Stations. Monthly Summary Reports are created which include total user counts, the daily averages, highest daily totals, totals per count station, average weekday and weekend use, and total distribution by mode (pedestrians/bicyclists).
The value of the trail counters has been immeasurable as they have provided a more efficient system of data collection and reporting. The data helps to inform taxpayers, elected officials and other stakeholders of the widespread use of the trail. The trail count data also informs Forward Pinellas’ efforts to make bicycling and walking safe and healthy transportation options in Pinellas County. Additionally, trail user counts assist in obtaining transportation grants and building community support for regional trails.
In its capacity as the metropolitan planning organization for Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas adopts a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) by July 1 annually to ensure that the County is eligible to receive State and Federal funding for transportation projects. The TIP contains project descriptions, schedules, and corresponding funding allocations regarding transportation improvement projects for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the 25 local governments of Pinellas County, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), local airports, and the Port of St. Petersburg. The projects include new construction, reconstruction, capital purchases, and maintenance work associated with roads, sidewalks, trails, transit services, airports, and the port, and the Transportation Disadvantaged Program. The TIP also identifies the MPO’s priority projects for State and Federal funding.
The Pinellas County Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) Program is a state-funded program that provides reduced cost transportation throughout the county to individuals who qualify as “Transportation Disadvantaged.” The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) for Pinellas County. As the CTC, PSTA is responsible for managing the TD Program.
The Local Coordinating Board (LCB) is responsible for overseeing PSTA in their role as the CTC for Pinellas County. The Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (Commission) provides guidance as to who should serve on the LCB. The Pinellas LCB meets once a quarter.
As a Metropolitan Planning Organization, Forward Pinellas is responsible for setting priorities for transportation funding in Pinellas County. Each year, Forward Pinellas develops a priority list of projects, which is then shared with the Florida Department of Transportation for consideration in the development of the department’s five-year work program.
Our priority list includes projects for all modes of travel. Projects are ranked through an iterative process that considers connectivity, project readiness, and balancing the needs of all users of our transportation system.
The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) outlines federal and state funded transportation planning activities and corresponding end products anticipated to occur from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022.
The Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) conducts and supports transportation planning efforts including systems planning, long range transportation planning, and project prioritization and implementation. The UPWP applies to the Pinellas Transportation Study Area, which encompasses Pinellas County.
Forward Pinellas is committed to fostering connected, people-centric neighborhoods and destinations through planning activities that reinforce community identity, livability, and increases public wealth. Efforts to shape the future of a redeveloping Pinellas County are guided by the framework of Pinellas By Design and the Countywide Plan, which seeks to strengthen our districts, centers, and corridors through an approach that emphasizes a holistic planning process.
With this goal in mind, Forward Pinellas has created the Planning & Place-Making Grant as a pilot program to assist local governments in their work to maintain and/or strengthen the character of Pinellas County’s many distinct communities. The program can help local governments by funding activities and initiatives that help to establish or reinforce a sense of place and advance the Planning & Urban Design Principles of the Countywide Plan.