Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Perhaps walkers should wave a flag while crossing Pinellas streets

Is flag-waving a solution to pedestrian safety concerns? And would you be willing to pay a deposit to use a flag to wave at traffic prior to crossing a particularly busy street? Reader Claudia McCorkle wrote the Doc with such a flag-waving suggestion, which we passed along to the folks at the state Department of Transportation.

Here's what McCorkle, who lives in Redington Beach and drives Gulf Boulevard daily, suggested to help improve safety for pedestrians and motorists who use Gulf Boulevard:

"Simply install plastic containers on the yellow pedestrian crossing signs on both sides of Gulf Boulevard housing cute yellow flags. When the pedestrian enters the crosswalk, he or she deposits 50 cents in the box, out drops a yellow flag, and with a cheerful wave to motorists, crosses. Once safely across the street, pedestrians deposit their flags into the corresponding box on the other side of the street whereby the 50 cents is refunded."

McCorkle calls the plan an "easy, safe and cheerful solution."

The cynical Dr. Delay says all the flags will go missing after the first weekend.

But Kris Carson of the state DOT told us the city of Clearwater implemented a similar program in 2001 using red flags and recently expanded it to Enterprise Road, so it can't be all that ineffective.

"The Florida Department of Transportation is also going to research this to see where we could expand this operation along Gulf Boulevard," Carson wrote in an e-mail, thanking McCorkle for the suggestion.

• • •

Reader Patricia Youhn contacted the Doc recently about the construction of extensions to the sidewalk curbs on Fourth Avenue N/NE, approaching the intersections of Second and Third streets in St. Petersburg. Youhn noticed that the curbs end at the lane markers on both sides of the street which means, in her estimation, there will be no leeway for drivers if they're distracted or drift from their lane even momentarily. Crashes into the extended curbs are inevitable, she fears.

"I sure hope pedestrians won't be at the very front of the curb waiting to cross the street. It'll just cement our reputation as one of the most-unfriendly pedestrian cities. I cringe at the thought of the red-light runners," Youhn wrote, adding that this reminds her of the median on Fourth Street near Fifth Avenue N that was reduced from its original size after vehicles repeatedly struck it.

We shared Youhn's concerns with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation, who told us that the intersection buildouts Youhn refers to are standard downtown and part of the city's "streetscaping" plan, which was approved by the City Council. The two intersections mentioned are being constructed as part of the plan to convert First and Second streets from one-way to two-way operation. The improvement also includes replacement of the traffic signal from overhead wire suspension to mast-arm support poles.

The buildouts will provide enhanced safety for bike riders and pedestrians, Frederick says, because they are designed to allow pedestrians to walk out to the edge of the road (beyond parked vehicles) to get an unobstructed view of oncoming traffic and also be seen by oncoming traffic when crossing.

"It also helps to slow motorists through these busy corridors with numerous conflicts and improve traffic safety. The downtown is one of the city's highest areas for pedestrian and bicycle crashes and these types of features help improve traffic safety, not reduce it, as your reader has indicated. Eventually, as funding permits, we will have all the intersections in the downtown rebuilt to include these narrowing features," Frederick said.

Doc Delay is on twitter! Get news from the road at www.twitter.com/DocDelay. Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

Perhaps walkers should wave a flag while crossing Pinellas streets 04/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 5:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. University student accused of making bomb threat on Snapchat

    Crime

    DELAND — A Florida university student is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus.

    Stetson University freshman Griffin Powell, 18, is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus in DeLand.


  2. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants

    Bucs

    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  3. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium

    Bucs

    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  5. Watch live: President Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly

    World

    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron are expected to take the spotlight at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations — but it's the tough global challenges from the nuclear threat in North Korea and the plight of Myanmar's minority Muslims to the …

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]