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Ask Dr. Delay: Police to monitor Park Street speeds after complaints

Has historic Park Street become a speedway for lead-footers? Some residents think so.

A group contacted the Doc recently to express concern about crashes at Park Street and Third Avenue N, a part of Park that is quite serpentine between Third Avenue N and the aptly named Elbow Lane N.

Members of the "Park Street Group" have even begun to post photos of accidents at this corner on the Historic Davista neighborhood's Web site. Check them out at historicdavista.com.

Reader Monica Abbott, a member of the Park Street Group, says she and other residents are hoping that something will be done. The crashes have damaged trees and power poles. The group blames the number of crashes on the volume of high-speed traffic. Other issues the group has cited are lack of adequate crosswalks, noncontiguous sidewalks, inconsistent speed limit signs and deterioration of the asphalt surface.

Anyone who travels Park Street knows too well the awful configuration for vehicles trying to enter or exit the Walgreens at Park and Tyrone, a personal favorite of the Doc's. Southbound vehicles on Park must stop to turn left into Walgreens, cutting across two lanes of northbound traffic.

We passed the group's concerns on to Mike Frederick, the city's director of neighborhood transportation, whose staff completed an analysis of crashes along Park between Fifth Avenue N and Central.

The review found there have been only two reported crashes at Third Avenue N and Park Street in the past two years. Both were single-vehicle crashes involving cars that left the road and hit fixed objects.

But there have been 19 reported crashes during the past two years between Fifth Avenue N and Central. Seven were rear-end collisions, and six involved southbound vehicles that hit the guide rail.

Frederick says these statistics equate to a crash rate of 3.04 crashes per million vehicle miles traveled. "Which means for every million vehicles driving through this segment, there was 3.04 crashes. This is below our highest crash segments, where the rate is in the 5.0 to 7.0 range."

Frederick said the universal cause of the crashes on Park Street has been careless driving. The city's review of speeds on Park Street indicates that the average operating speed is 47 mph in the 35 mph speed zone.

The city has asked for stepped-up police monitoring in the past, Frederick said. A review of signs and pavement markings indicates that the road has adequate signs. Frederick said he will again ask that police closely monitor speeds on Park Street.

Emergency vehicles

Everyone must yield, without exceptions

Do you know what to do when you see an emergency vehicle traveling in the opposite direction across a divided road?

Reader Malcolm Johnson wrote about a situation where the car in front of him stopped as an emergency vehicle came the other way:

"The vehicle in front of me jammed on the brakes and came to a complete stop in the curb lane. I managed to stop, but if there were vehicles behind me, there would have been multicar rear-end collisions.

"What do the laws say about vehicles traveling in the opposite direction on a four-lane road when an emergency vehicle approaches and is heading in the opposite direction?"

Florida statute 316.126, which addresses the operation of vehicles and pedestrians on approach of authorized emergency vehicles, states that everyone must yield, no exception. If you have ever seen an emergency vehicle forced by traffic conditions to cross a median and use the opposite lane of traffic to get through, this makes a lot of sense. Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Doc Delay is on twitter! Get news from the road at www.twitter.com/DocDelay. Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

Ask Dr. Delay: Police to monitor Park Street speeds after complaints 10/17/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 18, 2009 4:14pm]
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