Traffic signal timing that seems too long or too short can really sour the daily commute and drive some drivers to distraction. One signal that has gotten a lot of reader attention lately is at the intersection of 49th Street and 54th Avenue N. A reader who usually arrives at the intersection at 6 a.m. each weekday on his way to work contacted the Doc to say that even at that early hour, the light "takes forever to change" for traffic traveling 54th Avenue N. We took a ride through the intersection and found that the cycle takes three to five minutes to change depending on the time of day. We also observed some motorists driving through the red light after losing patience waiting for a green signal.
We checked in with the folks at Pinellas County signal operations and learned that the signal at the intersection of 54th and 49th is in an area where timing plans are currently being adjusted. Timing strategies are developed to manage traffic movement on main streets while minimizing delays on the side streets. "We are currently evaluating new timing plans along Park Boulevard and sections of 49th Street which includes the intersection of 49th Street and 54th Avenue. As part of the evaluation we will be adjusting the cycle times to reflect the daily traffic flow variations which should address the situation you mentioned," wrote signal operations manager Glenn Weaver in an e-mail last week.
Another signal that has generated mail is on 113th Street in Seminole, regulating traffic entering and exiting the U.S. Post Office and the St. Petersburg College/Seminole campus. One reader noted that the signal seems to be "on demand" for anyone exiting the post office or campus, forcing north/south traffic on 113th Street to stop, which doesn't make much sense when just one vehicle is queued up to exit either of the two facilities and join the traffic on 113th. County workers are currently making adjustments to this signal, too.
Time to renew passes for Pinellas Bayway
A reminder that September is renewal time for users of the Pinellas Bayway commuter passes. The $50 commuter pass transponder allows unlimited passage through all three Pinellas Bayway toll plazas. Telephone renewals can be handled via the SunPass toll-free customer service number, 1-888-865-5352, or in person at the Pinellas Bayway Toll Facility, 4501 54th Ave. S Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Child safety seats for needy families available
The Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition and the Allstate Foundation have partnered to distribute child safety booster seats to families in need. The distribution will be Friday at Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary School. The nonprofit Safe Kids USA organization says that lack of use or misuse of proper child restraint systems such as safety seats and booster seats contributes to car crash fatalities, the No. 1 killer of children ages 2 to 14 in the United States. Kids who are properly restrained have an 80 percent lower risk of fatal injury in a car crash, yet many infant and booster seats are not installed or used properly.
Nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will measure children and distribute booster seats to families whose children meet the recommendations for size and weight.
When: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary, 400 East Harrison St., Tarpon Springs
Info: Contact Jean Shoemaker, 767-8581 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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.