Bradenton wants to make a strip of Eighth Avenue West pedestrian-friendly
For the many motorists who like to peel off of 14th Street West onto Eighth Avenue West for business or for a quick bypass of the traffic on Manatee Avenue, the time to plan is now.
Monday will signal the beginning of a $600,000 Florida Department of Transportation project on Eighth Avenue in combination with the city’s water main replacement project.
Lane closures can be expected, particularly when the city begins its infrastructure work because the 8-inch water main line runs north-south across Eighth Avenue, which will be closed throughout that replacement.
According to Jim McLellan, public works director, no set dates are planned for the closure and FDOT has not indicated a schedule for lane closures for its pedestrian safety project.
Those closures are anticipated to be announced as needed, so motorists need to plan ahead and can expect inconveniences as work begins.
The pedestrian safety project planning began more than two years ago as it became apparent pedestrians were crossing the highly traveled Eighth Avenue at will, creating safety concerns. The project will include new medians with mid-block crossing pedestrian safety islands, better lighting, pavement resurfacing and replacement of sidewalk and curbs.
Traffic signals will be modified, as well. The project will run along Eighth Avenue from 14th Street West to Ninth Street West.
It is an important safety project to the city and FDOT, but is a piece of the larger pedestrian connectivity goal between downtown Bradenton and the Village of the Arts.
Dawn Collins, owner of Mystic Village, previously told the Bradenton Herald, those connectivity goals have been “a carrot dangling over our heads for years so anything that is finally coming to fruition is great news.”
FDOT outlines the the purpose of the project on their website, pointing out the pedestrian safety issues. The project will “help funnel pedestrians to designated crossings making the roadway safer,” according to the website.