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Purpose:

To develop support for the vision of the Friendship Trail, a recreation trail from the Tampa Riverwalk to the St. Petersburg Pier; to encourage the further development of existing trail segments by the entities involved: City of Tampa, City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and State of Florida (Florida Department of Transportation).

St. Pete
Downtown Tampa
Riverwalk
Riverwalk
Selmon Greenway
Riverwalk
Safety Harbor

BACKGROUND:

1.  The 2.6 mile “old” Gandy Bridge was built in 1956. When a southbound replacement was built, ownership of the “old” bridge was transferred from the state to Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. The bridge was rehabilitated to a recreation trail and re-opened in 1999 as the “Friendship TrailBridge”, annually used by approximately 600,000 bikers, hikers & walkers, rollerbladers, fishermen, persons with disabilities and our military until it was closed in 2008 for safety reasons and eventually demolished.

 

2.  While the Friendship TrailBridge provided the trail’s connection over Tampa Bay, government entities on both sides of the bay planned and began connecting trails for what could become the “Friendship Trail”. Further development and connecting those plans for a Friendship Trail are stalled until another opportunity to cross Tampa Bay becomes available.

Friendship Trail

ADVOCACY:

1.  The current northbound Gandy Bridge crossing Tampa Bay was constructed in 1975. While it is in good shape (see their website), it will eventually become no longer useful and be replaced. The planned new construction of the nearby Howard Frankland Bridge with a pedestrian walkway offers precedent for a recreation trail on a new Gandy Bridge. Further, the popularity of recreation trails including the Friendship TrailBridge should add credence to that scenario.

2.  Completion of a “South Tampa Trail” may be considered by the City of Tampa as an exciting way to link the Bayshore Greenway to the bridge. Other options exist.

3.  Completion of plans of Pinellas County’s “Causeway Enhancement” would provide the link from the Pinellas County

 

Summary:

A completed Friendship Trail would involve a variety of experiences including urban, suburban neighborhoods, parks, 2.6 miles over-the-water (Tampa Bay) and a possible return of fishing opportunities which had been lost.