The sudden materialization of new speed humps and medians often take motorists by surprise and raise questions. A planter on 17th Avenue N is the latest addition to a downtown St. Petersburg neighborhood that has generated questions from readers, including Art Scheier:
"A road divider (one of those that you can plant shrubs or trees in) was recently put on 17th Avenue N and starts at the alley behind Bob Lee's. Can you tell me what the reason is for this divider? The people who live in the houses on each side of the divider cannot park in front of their own homes without blocking traffic on 17th Avenue N."
Mike Frederick, city manager of neighborhood transportation, said this median is part of the neighborhood traffic plan for the Historic Old Northeast. Neighborhood plans are developed with collaboration among residents and city staffers. Once devised, plans require buy-in from the majority of residents before implementation. At least two-thirds of the residents on the block signed a petition in favor of the median, and a neighborhoodwide vote was conducted before it was installed.
Now back to the median: Frederick said it "is an attempt to separate the commercial zone from the residential as an entranceway to regulate traffic speed and cut-through traffic. It does require that motorists park far enough away to maintain two-way traffic."
DUHME ROAD/113TH STREET
Danger in crosswalks?
The December opening of the new Publix on Duhme Road/113th Street in Seminole has made for some hair-raising experiences for motorists the past few months. Getting in and out of the parking lot is difficult due to the steep angle and narrow width of the north driveway; it's not easy for southbound motorists to squeeze into the drive if a car is waiting there to exit onto 113th Street. A lack of adequate parking at peak times leads shoppers to park in the Seminole Mall lot across the street, so we have pedestrians who persist in bypassing pedestrian crosswalks and dashing across six lanes.
Marie Wright is one of the dashers. She says she has her reasons — primarily her perception that using the crosswalk is more dangerous:
"Motorists seem to think the right turn lane is for mowing down pedestrians. Four times in the last two weeks my husband and I have had to either run for our lives or jump back onto the sidewalk when the walk signal comes on with the green light. Maybe the walk light should come on before the green or after it turns red. Or, put the walk light on the traffic signal to remind the driver that pedestrians do have the right of way or a 'beware of pedestrians' signal so that we may cross safely. … We have found that it is much safer to cross the street well away from the intersections when all the traffic has cleared to make our way to the other side. "
The Doc cannot ascribe to Marie's rationale — the crosswalk is always your best bet, although it is incumbent upon pedestrians to look before they leap. When turning right, look twice to ensure that pedestrians are not in your path.
HONDA GRAND PRIX
Shuttle service offered
Free and ride-for-fee shuttle service is available for the upcoming Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Free "Park N Ride" service to downtown runs 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to March 28 from Tropicana Field, where parking is $10. Martz buses and trolleys will provide the shuttle service. Look for red signs that read GRAND PRIX SHUTTLE in the windshield of all shuttle vehicles. Stops will be at 10th Street between Second and Third avenues S and Fourth Avenue S between Second and Third streets. Shuttles will drop riders a block from the track.
For 25 cents each time you board, folks can ride the Downtown Looper or Central Avenue Shuttle; both will operate during the Grand Prix from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The fare is 10 cents per rider for seniors, the disabled and Medicare cardholders. Children 5 and under ride free. Call (727) 821-5166.
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