Reader Sue Bequet dropped the Doc a note last week about a problem she noticed with newly installed traffic signal poles on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S. She wrote:
"I travel north on King Street S on my way to work each day. Last week, the city put into commission new traffic lights at the intersection of King Street S and 22nd Avenue S. But the way the posts are aligned causes a temporary blind spot where you cannot see the traffic signals. I have noticed at other intersections that the posts are on different corners and that the cross posts that hold the lights do not overlap. I believe that not seeing the light from far enough away can potentially cause an accident by someone unfamiliar with the intersection."
We shared Bequet's concern with William Foster, St. Petersburg's traffic signal coordinator. He confirmed that the new mast arm traffic signal was recently put into service and is being worked on by the contractor.
"Adjustments are being made before final acceptance. I have informed the contractor of this issue and he agreed to make some changes to eliminate the problem," he said.
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Quite a few readers have contacted the Doc about signal sequencing problems at 46th Avenue N and 66th Street. The issue began during the road project there. Part of the work required the contractor to install vehicle sensors into the road, which adjust the length of green time, but the sensors were not working correctly. So the side street was getting a long period of green every cycle even if no vehicles were present.
We made inquires with the county and the city of St. Petersburg and the sensors are now working correctly. In addition, Foster has asked Verizon to connect the communication lines to the city's central computer so city traffic signal coordinators can synchronize the 66th Street and 46th Avenue N signals with the other signals on 66th Street.
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Florida is part of a fast-shrinking minority of states yet to pass any laws against texting while driving. Thirty states have laws that address distracted driving because of electronic device use, but previous attempts here have failed. The issue is back on the agenda this year.
Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, has filed House Bill 79, titled the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law," and a companion bill has been filed in the state Senate by Republicans. You can read the House bill at flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2011/0079.
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The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is hoping to appeal to tech-savvy would-be riders by offering free WiFi at select bus hubs.
The free service is available at PSTA's Williams Park, Park Street Terminal and Grand Central Station transfer centers. The new passenger amenity will let riders connect to the Internet while waiting, says communications coordinator Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt, who told us that work is in progress to add WiFi access for bus drivers and mechanics.
The password to use PSTA's WiFi service is RidePSTA. Read more about it at PSTA.net.
Here's a roundup of road work around Pinellas that may cause delays and lane closures:
• Work on a water line will affect Park Street traffic between 27th and 28th streets. It will be reduced to one lane for both north- and southbound flow until March 21.
• Crosswalk marking work will require intermittent nightly lane closures at these locations:
• Seminole Boulevard between 110th Avenue and Lark Drive, Sunday through Tuesday, 11 p.m.-6 a.m.
• State Road 688 (Walsingham/Ulmerton roads) between Hamlin Boulevard and Tall Pines Drive, closures Sunday through Saturday, 10:30 p.m.-6 a.m.
• East Bay Drive between Country Club Drive and 16th Street, Sunday through Saturday, 9 p.m.-6:30 a.m.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring!
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at email@example.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.