Port Richey council members want more parking, less sidewalk in Cotee River Landing

An aerial view of Cotee River Landing

NEW PORT RICHEY — A representative of engineering firm Ayres Associates Inc. discussed the Cotee River Landing project with City Council members on Oct. 26, outlining proposed enhancements and taking in recommendations.

Christopher Martin, manager for southeast operations of the firm, walked council members through preliminary construction drawings for the project that aims to promote redevelopment and economic growth along the city’s waterfront. The drawings included proposed safety enhancements as part of phase one for the project.

These proposals featured an increase in pedestrian access with sidewalks along Old Post Road, Treadway Drive, and Cotee Avenue; lighting enhancements along the proposed sidewalks; and modification to the traffic pattern to a counter-clockwise one-way conversion. Ayres also wants to increase the amount of signage and striping along the corridor.

Martin said that Ayres is working with the Florida Department of Transportation on the proposed omission of the right turn lane off U.S. 19 on to Cotee Avenue. Ayres is additionally working with Duke Energy on the viable light fixtures to either lease from Duke or purchase on the city’s own accord. Ayres plans to schedule meetings soon with FDOT and Duke Energy to further adjust those plans.

Council members will hear from Ayres again at their Nov. 9 regular meeting to discuss a detailed overview of the design approach, as well as to open the floor up to any recommendations the city may have on opportunities to include any fixture features and aesthetic improvements.

Mayor Scott Tremblay asked if drainage may pose a challenge, but Martin said with the proposed traffic pattern, it will not impact the existing drainage flow tremendously. Martin added that the engineering group anticipates getting an exemption from the permitting agency in regard to stormwater improvements.

Included in the proposal are crosswalks set on the corner of Bayview Street and Treadway Drive in each direction, providing a looped sidewalk up toward the city’s property where the hotel is, and then tying into the existing sidewalk in front of Hooters. Martin said phase two would incorporate Bayview Street from Hooters to Cotee Avenue.

A topic for debate was a proposal for a 10-foot-wide sidewalk on Cotee Avenue. Martin stated that the engineers would like to fit in the largest sidewalk it can on each corridor, which varies on the particular roadway. The current dimensions proposed are 5-foot-wide sidewalks along Treadway Drive and Old Post Road and 10-foot-wide at Cotee Avenue.

Council members raised concerns over the 10-foot-wide sidewalk on Cotee Avenue, expressing their desire to see additional parking spaces. However, additional parking spaces, and whether to include golf cart parking, could result in thousands of dollars of added cost. ADA-compliant spots cost $12,000 each and regular parking could cost $7,000 to $8,000 per spot. Golf carts wouldn’t be eligible under ADA compliance.

“The goal was to accommodate as many pedestrians as possible and in accordance with the Southwest Florida Water Management District multi-use paths,” Martin said.