Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ask Dr. Delay: Flashing lights to better protect flea market visitors

Here's a follow-up to last week's mention of the daunting pedestrian crossing on six-lane Park Boulevard next to the Wagon Wheel Flea Market. Readers have expressed concern about the amount and speed of traffic on Park and the scant safety measures in place (just a few signs and stripes painted on the pavement) for pedestrians who want to cross the road to access the market.

Thomas Washburn, traffic safety engineer for Pinellas County, told us that the county plans to enhance the existing crosswalk with flashing yellow lights, joining the existing yellow and black pedestrian crossing signs. The flashers can be activated by a push button. He said the installation should be complete within the next two months.

Washburn noted that the enhancement follows the recent relocation of the crosswalk to its current location. As part of moving the crosswalk, the eastbound left-turn lane was closed in order to provide a bigger refuge area in the median for pedestrians to wait for a gap in traffic.

COUNTYWIDE

Turn on those headlights, and use those blinkers!

Reader Lynne Gilkes asked the Doc to remind folks that the rainy season is upon us and when driving in rain, motorists need to use their headlights. This excludes parking lights and flashers. Gilkes also wanted to pass along an observation on four-way stops:

"Just want to share an incident that happened at a four-way stop in my neighborhood. A truck was coming toward me and I was heading his way and we came to the four-way stop sign at about the same time. Neither of us had a signal on. I waited a second and proceeded to go straight when the truck proceeded to turn left in front of me. I honked and got him to stop. I asked him why he hadn't signaled. His reply was, "You don't have to signal at a four-way stop.' ''

To reinforce Gilkes' point, it makes no sense to not use a directional signal at a four-way stop. We use them when we're sitting in a designated turn lane, right? So what's the deal with so many drivers failing to use them at two- and four-way stops? What do you think, readers? Do you use directional signals at two- and four-way stops? If not, why?

COUNTYWIDE

Take an alternate route? Not so fast

Reader Russell Skillman recently wrote with a few travel-time calculating tips. Skillman has serious credibility with the Doc because he drives over both the Howard Frankland and the Sunshine Skyway bridge four times a day. Really, he does.

Skillman says he values digital smart signs that flash estimated travel times and emergency information, but he agrees with the Doc that the smart sign on the Howard Frankland doesn't really help anyone avoid tie-ups by suggesting alternate routes because we're already stuck on the bridge. It does serve to let motorists know of traffic conditions once over the bridge into Tampa.

Here's a good rule for estimating travel times and figuring out what's going on when looking at the displayed miles and time to a certain exit or landmark. According to Skillman, who has plenty of opportunity to observe the situation each day, the average travel time when there is little to no traffic on the road is generally a couple of minutes more than the miles, so for example, 10 miles, 12 minutes equals no traffic. A little more time is added to the displays in slow traffic and a lot more when there is heavy volume or a big delay ahead.

"Only look for an alternate route if the sign says 'Traffic Stopped' or 'All Lanes Blocked,' " Skillman advises other road warriors, because, in his experience, opting for an alternate route has its own problems as other drivers are usually doing the same.

Doc Delay is on Twitter! Get news from the road at twitter.com/DocDelay. Share traffic concerns, comments and questions by e-mail: docdelay@yahoo.com.

Ask Dr. Delay: Flashing lights to better protect flea market visitors 05/29/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 5:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman died in a shooting Saturday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  2. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack

    News

    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  3. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  4. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  5. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.