Beware of ricocheting vehicles on Park Boulevard between U.S. 19 and the Frontage Road intersection.
When heading east on Park toward the Gandy area, construction on that stretch of road includes a deep groove in the pavement east of U.S. 19 near the intersection of Park Boulevard and the Pinellas Park exit off northbound I-275.
The groove is the width of an average tire tread, and it converges at one point with a second groove creating an abrupt jostling effect similar to a train changing tracks.
Motorists unfamiliar with the condition are taken by surprise judging by the Doc's observation, resulting in a momentary loss of control.
Last week, the Doc was following a vehicle that hit the tire-tread groove — narrowly missing the side of the vehicle traveling in the left lane. A call was later made to the city's transportation department to request warning signs about the uneven pavement. It's not much, but it might help until the road is resurfaced.
While discussing the project, we asked for a status update on the Park Boulevard project. Thomas B. Gibson, the city's engineering director, said the work includes widening, milling and resurfacing of approximately 2 miles of Gandy Boulevard from Grand Avenue (Gateway Center) to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N.
We will see the addition of a 12-foot-wide travel lane and a 5-foot-wide paved shoulder/bicycle lane in each direction. Work also includes the realignment of the 94th Avenue N/Gandy Boulevard service road, and the 16th Street N intersection with Gandy near Metropointe Commerce Park.
Gibson said the project, developed by the city in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation and property owners, will meet needs imposed by increased traffic. Along with the 16th Street intersection realignment, commuters will notice better traffic flow and accessibility to the Gateway Center Business Park and Metropointe Commerce Park. The project, scheduled for completion in June 2011, costs $5,621,315.
City outlines criteria for 'traffic calming' devices
Reader Bob Lux asked us about the origin of speed humps that have recently surfaced in the Tyrone area.
Lux wrote: "Does St. Petersburg use any criteria to determine where speed bumps are installed? They are popping up everywhere and making commuting in the city almost impossible. The latest examples are three speed bumps that were recently installed on 72nd Street N south of 22nd Avenue N. The empty Raytheon manufacturing facility is along this stretch of 72nd Street N — why would an empty parking lot be a reason to install more speed bumps?"
Yes, there are specific criteria before the installation of speed humps and other "traffic calming" devices in the city. Neighborhood residents must request a traffic study and participate in a planning process with the city. The majority of residents must then sign off on the proposed construction of traffic calming devices.
Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation, said the city was notified by the neighborhood's Community Police Unit that enforcement was not having any effect on lowering vehicle speeds.
"They were concerned that with average operating speeds 15 mph over the posted speed limit of 25 mph that it was only a matter of time that someone using the park facilities on the west side of the roadway would be injured or worse. So they asked us to consider speed humps and to coordinate an amendment to the Azalea Homes Neighborhood Traffic Plan. While this may not be a residential area, there were significant enough concerns, because of the adjacent park, for the police and the association to request the installation of speed humps," Frederick said.
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