Many readers have contacted the Doc about the new crosswalk at 62nd Avenue NE. Some readers have written in to express their disbelief that money was spent on the project, citing the current economic conditions. Others have said no one ever crosses the street there, and asked why there was a sudden need for a pedestrian crossing.
Reader Evelyn Eibach summed it up: "Why did the city of St. Petersburg decide to erect a pedestrian walk-through in the middle of 62nd Avenue NE near the Mangrove Bay Golf Course? It is an entire waste of money. I have never, in my 24 years of living off 62nd Avenue NE, seen anyone crossing the street at that corner. I also think that it will become, if it hasn't already, a traffic hazard. In the dark of night I can just see someone hitting the low curbs. Just what was the thinking behind this project?"
We checked in with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation. Frederick said the new crosswalk connects the CityTrails system's new Island Loop Trail to Puryear Park.
"We anticipate that it will be well used, as since the opening of the trail last year we have received many requests to provide a safe location for residents to cross 62nd Avenue NE to be able to access the park facilities. The crosswalk is well lighted, signed and will soon be enhanced with our rapid flashing rectangular beacon crosswalk warning system. Also, a new recreational path was built along the east side of Foch Street between 62nd Avenue NE and Puryear Park to provide a continuous off-street facility for residents who want to have a safe alternative to access these facilities."
Frederick said the money came from a federal grant for the CityTrails Program to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.
"Since the start of this program in 2004 we have reduced bicycle crashes by over 10 percent, and pedestrian crashes have decreased 51 percent since 2000," Frederick said.
While on the topic of pedestrian safety, Frederick said that a state-funded program for additional enforcement at crosswalks has had a significant impact. The two-year funding, which ended in December, resulted in the issuance of more than 1,100 citations to motorists not yielding to pedestrians.
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Pinellas County Public Works says the sewer repair work that has closed 106th Avenue N between 110th Lane and 111th Street N in Seminole is expected to wrap up about 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.