The roadway may seem brighter for motorists who travel I-275 S around the 54th Avenue S and Bayway exits.
We received a note from reader Gina Schiller who asked: "Who is responsible for the lights along the interstate? For years there has been a light pole on I-275 at the 54th Avenue S and Bayway exits with the lights hanging halfway down the pole from a wire suspension system, seeming to be in the midst of changing the bulbs. I have also noticed a long stretch of lights out (I counted 13 in a row at one time) along the section near Gibbs High School."
We sent Schiller's observations along to Kris Carson of the DOT, who checked into it and notified us that the stretch of lights Schiller mentioned was indeed out of service and has now been repaired. Carson said the extensive outage was traced to a short in the system caused by landscape vegetation that had grown into the conduit and pullbox system. Workers are looking into the light pole with the dangling wires next.
Light those bicycles
Kimberly Cooper, an avid cyclist and advocate for bicycle and pedestrian safety, contacted us recently with a concern about the increase in numbers of folks bike-riding in darkness now that we've made the fall daylight saving time switch.
Cooper said that with the sun setting earlier, more people are riding home from work in darkness, some without much-needed safety reflectors or headlights. So now's a good time to mention that the city coordinates a bike headlight donation program that helps to recycle donated headlights. Cheryl Stacks, the city's bike/pedestrian safety coordinator, accepts donated bicycle headlights and taillights and distributes them to low-income individuals. Cooper says she has purchased lights in the past and donated them, but she's needing to cut back on expenses. She is hoping readers who may have unused bike lights collecting dust in the garage might be willing to donate them. If you have bike lights that you'd like to donate, contact Stacks via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pigout on 'cued ribs
If you're a fan of barbecued ribs but not the traffic jams that develop anytime there's a cool event in downtown St. Petersburg, plan your transportation strategy now for this week's ever-popular Ribfest, which kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday.
Parking will be available throughout downtown including municipal garages and private lots, and a free shuttle will operate from five pick-up and drop-off points starting Friday evening. MARTZ buses and Wheelchair Transport Service vans will provide the shuttle service. The shuttles will run every 10 minutes or so between the event site, Vinoy Park, and parking hubs. The hours are as follows: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday at the following points:
Stop 1: Mahaffey Theater parking lot, east side of First Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues S.
Stop 2: Al Lang Field parking lot/South Core parking garage, east side of First Street just south of First Avenue S.
Stop 3: BayWalk/Mid Core parking garage, east side of First Street just south of First Avenue N (in front of the Hampton Inn).
Stop 4: Plaza Tower parking garage, east side of First Street just south of Third Avenue N.
Stop 5: Renaissance Vinoy Resort, south side of Fifth Avenue NE just west of Bayshore Drive.
A printable route map of the shuttle may be viewed online on the events page of the Looper trolley Web site: www.LooperTrolley.com.
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at email@example.com 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.