Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - September 26, 2017
September 26, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #34

Hidden River Trail Bicycle Usage


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Vishal S. Kakkad, PE, PTOE, Traffic Design Division Manager, Ext. 7812

Sage Kamiya, PE, PTOE, Deputy Director, Traffic Management, Ext. 7425

Action Requested
Provide direction to staff on whether to prohibit bicycle usage, or not, on Hidden River Trail.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida State Statutes: Chapter 316.006(3) - Jurisdiction to Control Traffic; Chapter 316.008(1)(g)(h)(n) - Power of Local Authorities

Background Discussion
  • Hidden River Trail was constructed in 2005 as a 2-lane roadway with 10 ft travel lanes and intermittent medians between Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Lorraine Road.  There is curb and gutter on both sides of the road. There is also a separate 10 ft wide multi-purpose path, on the north side, parallel to the roadway. This path can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. (Construction plans showing bicycle prohibition are attached.)
  • The Cypress Banks Development Order dating back to 1989 depicted an internal east-west roadway. In 1999, the Cypress Banks master plan showed the east-west roadway in the location of the current Hidden River Trail.
  • In 2014, staff was contacted by a resident concerned with bicyclists blocking traffic on Hidden River Trail.
  • Staff conducted an investigation and a review of records and found that some signs were missing pursuant to the signed and sealed engineering, and the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved the plans.  It was discovered that signs prohibiting  bicycles and golf carts on Hidden River Trail were missing.  Therefore, the signs were re-installed on March 27, 2015, by County staff.
  • In April 2015, the Village Idiots Club (VICC) representatives requested these signs be removed.  On multiple occasions, staff explained the reason behind the signs, the appropriateness of the signs, applicable state statutes, and the BCC's authority to restrict the bicycles.
  • Public Works staff proposed to the VICC representatives that a revised set of signed and sealed plans proposing an alternative to the posted signs could be considered. An alternative construction plan has not been received.
  • Based on the roadway characteristics and geometry, presence of the multi-use path, and pursuant to the approved signed and sealed engineering plans, the prohibition of bicycles and golf carts on Hidden River Trail should remain.
  • Manatee County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) has indicated they will enforce this restriction following the adoption of an ordinance by the BCC.
  • On December 15, 2015, during a regular BCC meeting, staff requested authorization to advertise and set a public hearing to consider adoption of Ordinance 15-44 creating Section 2-22-8 of the Manatee County Code of Ordinances relating to the prohibition of bicycles on Hidden River Trail.
  • A discussion ensued regarding signage, available multi-use paths for bicyclists, County liability, the condition of Hidden River Trail for bicyclists, community complaints, and the legality of a bicycle prohibition.
  • The BCC deferred the agenda item and directed staff to collect traffic counts and speed data on Hidden River Trail.  Staff reported the results to the BCC in a memorandum dated January 21, 2016.
  • The following options were provided in the January 2016 memorandum (see attached):
    • Hidden River Trail remain consistent with signed and sealed engineering plans on record; prohibiting bicycle use on the roadway.
    • Restrict the use of motorized vehicles on Hidden River Trail. This option is inconsistent with transportation planning principles, or
    • Allow the roadway to be used by both automobiles and bicycles. This option is consistent with other local roads and state statutes that define a bicycle as a vehicle. However, due to improper use by both bicycles and automobiles in the area, this option would likely require significant law enforcement activities on a routine basis. This option would require staff to remove signs.

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Return a stamped copy of the agenda memorandum to Jeff Bishop (jeff.bishop@mymanatee.org), Public Works Department, Traffic Design Division, Ext. 7815

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Hidden River Trail Memo 1-21-16.pdf
Attachment:  Approved Construction Plans_Signing.pdf