Ask Dr. Delay: Notes on U.S. 19/Gulf-to-Bay overpass, DART fares, Crawfish Fest parking

What's the latest with the ongoing improvements to U.S. 19? Several readers, including Don Struble, are wondering in particular about the U.S. 19 and Gulf-to-Bay overpass.

"It appears that that intersection could become a real issue when construction of the new overpass begins,'' Struble wrote. "Most drivers must be wondering how traffic will be maintained during the new construction. Do you know what the plan is?"

The state Department of Transportation is anticipating that Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard at the interchange will maintain the same number of lanes throughout construction.

The exception would be during construction over the lanes of the road, such as beam setting or concrete placement, said DOT spokeswoman Kris Carson. In that instance, detours would be provided for the safety of workers and motorists. Detours would be at night, and lanes would reopen the next morning.

On U.S. 19, the traffic will be shifted to the existing northbound lanes of the bridge while the southbound lanes are removed and the new bridge is built. Then traffic will be shifted to the newly completed southbound lanes of the new bridge while the remainder of the existing bridge is removed and the northbound lanes are built.

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Reader Joanne Moore's commute on Roosevelt Boulevard to the Carillon office park is sometimes frustrating, she says, and although recent work along the corridor has improved conditions for traffic exiting the interstate, she describes her experience as "a daily battle for those progressing from Roosevelt Boulevard to cross lanes of traffic to the far right lane in order to enter the Carillon complex. Honestly, I dread that part of my commute every day."

We shared Moore's observations with Carson, who told us the interstate off-ramp traffic must be able to flow onto Roosevelt, so there's no easy solution here. But she did suggest that Moore might try taking 118th Avenue, then make a right onto 28th Street, which feeds into Carillon.

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The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will hold public meetings to gather comments on the possibility of increasing fares for its Demand Response Transportation service. DART provides on-demand services for disabled people who are unable to use regular PSTA buses.

The proposal will be available one week before the hearings at psta.net, and printed copies will be available at the hearings. PSTA will accept written comments as well. Commenters should include their name and address and e-mail to public-hearing@PSTA.net or mail to PSTA Budget Public Hearings, 3201 Scherer Drive, St. Petersburg, FL 33716.

The hearings are to last 30 minutes. The schedule:

• 2 p.m. March 15 at Clearwater Library Main Branch, 100 N Osceola Ave.

• 10 a.m. March 16 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.

• 9 a.m. March 23 (at the regular PSTA meeting), PSTA headquarters, 3201 Scherer Drive, St. Petersburg.

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As the Doc noted a few weeks ago, preparation has begun in downtown St. Petersburg for the Grand Prix, but don't allow concerns about road closures to keep you away from the Cajun-Zydeco Crawfish Festival. Free shuttle service is being provided. If you want to catch the last day of the festival, park and ride from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. today from three locations:

• Progress Energy Park parking lot and the South Core parking garage on the east side of First Street just south of First Avenue S.

• BayWalk Midcore parking garage on the east side of First Street just south of First Avenue N (the Hampton Inn & Suites).

• Renaissance Vinoy Resort on the south side of Fifth Avenue NE just west of Bayshore Boulevard.

Go to stpetetrolley.com and click "schedules" to view a printable map.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Ask Dr. Delay: Notes on U.S. 19/Gulf-to-Bay overpass, DART fares, Crawfish Fest parking 03/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 5, 2011 3:30am]

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