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First Avenue lights are out of synch, for now

I used to be able to drive the speed limit on First avenues N and S in St. Petersburg and never had to apply the brakes. The lights were synchronized from downtown to 66th Street and vice versa. But now the timings are all out of whack. Any information you have would be appreciated.

Chris Morrison

Chris, you are among many readers who have asked the same question lately.

Here's the latest word from Mike Connors, St. Petersburg's public works administrator:

A citywide upgrade of the traffic signal control and transmission system is under way, involving 300 signals. The upgrade is happening because the signal management software the city has been using is no longer supported by the vendor. So the former system of signal control via cable lines is being replaced with new 3G technology. In the meantime, maddening as it may be, motorists should be prepared for some signal angst here and there through the summer.

"We are 40 percent complete with the overall effort and will continue to operate both systems until full completion in the September time frame. Hardware and software installation on First Avenue N and S signals is substantially complete and is being reprogrammed for synchronization expected to be completed within the next three to four weeks," Connors said last week.

The traffic lights recently installed at Eckerd College and the Pinellas Bayway do not appear to be fully traffic-actuated. By that I mean the signals cycle to red on the Bayway at all hours, even when there is no traffic exiting from Eckerd College to go west toward St. Pete Beach. I've seen, on busy weekends, eastbound traffic backed up almost to the toll booths and westbound traffic to 34th Street S waiting for nonexistent traffic from the college. Was this part of the original design?

Russ Harris

The Doc has received a lot of inquiries recently about the operation of the signal at Eckerd College Drive and the Pinellas Bayway/54th Avenue S.

First, the signal is not intended to slow the flow of traffic to and from the beaches; rather, its purpose is to enable traffic to safely enter and exit the Eckerd College campus at peak times. The campus is home to 1,850 residential students, 700 part-time students and several hundred employees, thus the volume of traffic can be heavy at certain times of the day.

The redesigned intersection was a project of the state Department of Transportation, but the traffic signal is maintained by the city of St. Petersburg. A city worker was on site to reset the signal timing last week, and DOT public information officer Kris Carson says the DOT will continue to monitor the intersection closely.

Barricade watch

In Clearwater, be prepared for the nightly closure of the intersection of Belleair Road and U.S. 19 and the southbound lane of U.S. 19 from Nursery Road to Belleair Road on Tuesday night through Friday morning to make way for girder work on the overpass bridge at Belleair Road.

The closures will run nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Tuesday. Southbound detour routes: Nursery to Belcher to Belleair Road back to U.S. 19.

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Follow @AskDrDelay on Twitter.

First Avenue lights are out of synch, for now 04/03/14 [Last modified: Thursday, April 3, 2014 4:51pm]
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