A new three-way flashing signal was installed on Park Street at Fifth Avenue N last week, which is a good thing. The spot can be dicey because north-south Park Street bends, creating a sharp curve as it intersects with Fifth. Northbound Park Street traffic, especially, presents safety concerns as the bend in the road limits visibility approaching Fifth Avenue, where westbound traffic dead-ends and must turn right or left onto Park.
Residents who live on the corner have written the Doc many times over the years to say that broken glass, fenders and other crash debris regularly litter their yards.
As I watched the installation of the new signal, it occurred to me that years ago there was a flashing light in the same location. I touched base with Mike Frederick, the city's neighborhood transportation manager, and asked about it. Frederick confirmed that there was indeed at one time a flashing light suspended over Park Street at Fifth Avenue.
It was removed sometime in the 1970s, but Frederick doesn't know why. He lamented that because he knows of no city employees still around who would recall the reason for the removal — it's lost to the institutional memory drain so many organizations face with baby boomers exiting the work force.
At any rate, the reason the flashing lights in that location have returned is that too many crashes have occurred at the site. Frederick said the city has been keeping a close eye on the intersection and that the tipping point came this spring after a serious crash.
A vehicle westbound on Fifth Avenue sailed out onto Park Street without stopping and collided with another vehicle. The new (old) signal flashes yellow caution lights for Park Street traffic and red for westbound traffic on Fifth. This means that vehicles reaching the end of Fifth Avenue at Park Street must stop before turning right or left onto Park. And vehicles traveling on Park Street should heed the amber caution lights that remind them that the aforementioned Fifth Avenue traffic required to stop might not.
DOT seeks public input on plan for rail system
Readers who are interested in seeing their tax dollars at work, as well as the state's rail system plans, are invited to attend a public meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Tampa.
The Florida Department of Transportation will present a major update of its official rail system plan, which includes policy setting and investment strategies for future freight rail, intercity passenger rail, intracity passenger rail, and the interaction between rail and other modes of transportation. Public comments can be made to the committee Wednesday afternoon. Comments also can be submitted in advance via the Rail Office Web site at www.dot.state.fl.us/rail/plandevel.htm. Click on "feedback opportunities."
Where: Hilton Airport Westshore Hotel (2225 N Lois Ave.).
When: 1 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Info: Questions about the meeting can be addressed to Ed Lee at (850) 414-4535 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Speaking of railroads, many of the existing railroad crossings countywide are in rough condition, and we get regular inquiries from readers about the status of repairs.
One crossing that generates lots of e-mail is on Ulmerton Road west of Starkey Boulevard.
Reader Steve Cohen wrote: "How can we get CSX to fix their railroad crossing on Ulmerton Road? It's terrible! I have to cross it every day, and it rattles my teeth!"
According to Kris Carson at the DOT, CSX has already received money from the state to do the repairs. The DOT is waiting for CSX to schedule the work. We'll update you when we get a firm time frame.
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at email@example.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.