If attempting to navigate the one-and two-way streets in downtown St. Petersburg makes you feel like a disoriented lab rat bungling through a maze, you're not alone.
The Doc recently found herself nearly turning the wrong way onto a one-way street downtown not once but twice. And it didn't help that at one point, an SUV speeding toward me was headed the wrong way on a one-way, which precipitated horn-honking and headlight flashing on my part but the motorist continued blithely along.
If we natives are easily befuddled, how can we expect folks unfamiliar with downtown topography to get it right, especially in the evenings or when visibility is affected by rain or fog? And I'm sorry, the slim black and white "one-way" signs just don't cut it for some of us. As I pondered the possible solutions last week, an e-mail came in from a kindred spirit.
Reader Ray Luck wrote: "Dear Dr. Delay, It would be a boon if the hanging street signs of the numbered streets in downtown had arrows to indicate their one-way direction. After searching for parking on a rainy evening while negotiating the avenues and streets downtown, it is easy to lose track of the alternating one-way directions even though the mantra, 'odd street — north; even street — south' will help. Directional signs will help visitors and many of us residents."
Luck's idea sounds like a reasonable solution. And with the installation of mast arms for traffic signals downtown, adding overhead directional signs might be easy and prove helpful to motorists — natives and visitors alike.
Accessing service roads can be hairy proposition
The service roads that abut Tyrone Boulevard drive the Doc crazy because accessing some of the businesses located on the roads requires U-turns, which are all too often a perilous proposition given the volume of traffic on Tyrone not to mention the speeders and distracted drivers adding to the mix.
Reader Kathy Kirkland asked about the best route for accessing the service road on the west side of Tyrone Boulevard at 80th Street. Kirkland is a barbecue fan who finds herself stymied trying to safely get to Sonny's Bar-B-Q from southeast Tyrone Boulevard.
She wrote: "It's easy enough when traveling northwest — you can make a complete U-turn onto the service road. But the lanes don't line up when going the other direction and there's a good bit of confusion about which lane is correct. The turn-only lane lines up with the service road — but it's clearly marked TURN ONLY. However, that's the lane that most people seem to use — because it lines up. Would you take a look and then find out if the city could post some directions for the service road?"
We took a spin through the area and it seems the best route is actually driving past Sonny's, then executing a U-turn from the northwest direction, which is a drag for most motorists. We passed Kirkland's letter on to the folks at the Florida Department of Transportation.
Here are some spots where you might expect delays this week:
ST. PETERSBURG: Park Street (Tyrone Boulevard to Ninth Avenue N) — sidewalk repairs.
CLEARWATER: Bayside Bridge — roadway sweeping Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and debris removal during the day Tuesday.
GULFPORT: Bear Creek Bridge (Mango Avenue S at Bamboo Drive S) — ongoing bridge replacement project.
LARGO: 95th Street N and Alston Drive — storm drainage repairs.
LEALMAN: Joe's Creek dredging (stockpile sites at 46th Avenue N, east and west of 71st Street N) — watch for trucks entering or leaving the roadway.
PINELLAS PARK: 28th Street N (Gandy Boulevard to 118th Avenue N) — road work to repair washouts.
SEMINOLE: 113th Street N (106th Avenue N to 110th Avenue N) — sidewalk repairs; Lake Seminole bridge (97th Street N and Seminole Boulevard) — painting center walls of bridge.
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.