Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 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]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.