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Putting bike lanes on 30th Avenue N a concern

Reader Steve Blanchard contacted us recently about the planned installation of bike lanes on 30th Avenue N in St. Petersburg. Blanchard said the thought of it brings back memories of the horrific 2003 accident in which a disoriented motorist crossed the center line on 30th Avenue N and plowed into a group of cyclists.

"Why are they adding a bike lane on 30th from 49th Street to 66th Street? It's way too narrow in several places. I know the city wants to slow traffic speeds, but by using humans on bikes? There are several spots on that road where a car and a bike will not fit comfortably side by side. It seems like such a bad idea, and (another) accident just waiting to happen."

We touched base with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation. Frederick confirmed that the planned bicycle lanes are part of the CityTrails Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, which, ironically, was approved in 2003. But the funding has only recently "been prioritized," so it's now ready to be installed.

Frederick said stripes for the bike lane will be installed only where the road is wide enough for a minimum 10-foot traffic lane. Sections that are too narrow will not be marked.

"The intent is to let motorists know that they are to expect cyclists along this route and that they should be prepared to share the roadway. We are not intending to use cyclists to reduce the vehicle speeds, but hopefully the new markings will act as a side benefit and we will be able to avoid another incident," Frederick said.

Pasadena Avenue

Is timing off between signal and drawbridge?

Paul Krusee wrote in to tell us the timing of the signal on Pasadena Avenue is a hassle because of its long delay. He wishes that its cycle coordinated with the schedule of the nearby bridge that connects to Sailboat Key.

"Will you please inquire into adjusting the timing of the light in South Pasadena between the drawbridge on Pasadena Avenue and the intersection of Sailboat Key Boulevard South?

"There are no other streets between the bridge and Sailboat Key. When the bridge goes up the light turns red in all directions and stays that way for a long, long time. There is no reason to block the traffic stacked up on Sailboat Key. Eventually, it turns green and stays that way until the bridge goes down. The light should turn green for Sailboat Key as soon as the gate on the bridge goes down."

The state manages this signal, which is coordinated to effectively manage traffic flow over the bridge, according to Kris Carson of the DOT.

"The timing is based on a need to clear traffic coming eastbound over the bridge. We had complaints about the signal changing too soon and trapping eastbound cars, forcing them to sit at a red light for the whole time the bridge was up," Carson said.

The timing of the signal was adjusted — just a few seconds were added — in order to resolve that issue. The DOT's position is that the delay in coming out of Sailboat Key is short in comparison to the delay to a motorist who cannot clear the intersection before the eastbound signal cycles to red.

Headlights should shine a bit earlier, reader says

Reader Rick Noyes asked us to remind folks that now that darkness is coming earlier it's a good idea to use headlights earlier. Thanks, Rick.

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.

Putting bike lanes on 30th Avenue N a concern 12/12/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 12, 2009 3:30am]

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