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Ask Dr. Delay St. Petersburg manager says no to First Street right-turn-only idea

Several readers have asked the Doc in recent months about the right southbound curb lane of First Street at 40th Avenue N in St. Petersburg. Folks suggest that it be converted to a right-turn-only lane, arguing that more vehicles turn right (to head west on 40th Avenue N) than those that proceed south on First Street, which narrows to one traffic lane a few hundred yards south of the intersection.

We touched base with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation, and asked him about this suggestion. Frederick said First Street between 30th and 77th avenues N is a designated "collector roadway" in the city's comprehensive plan, and as such is a four-lane undivided facility that does not become one lane for both northbound and southbound traffic until south of 30th Avenue N. At that point, Frederick says, First Street's official designation changes to local neighborhood street.

Since there are still plenty of motorists traveling south past 40th, "we would not consider making the curb lane a right-turn-only lane at 40th Avenue N," Frederick said.

Forest Lakes U-turns beat alternative, DOT says

Some north county readers are concerned about traffic flow along east/west Tampa Road in Oldsmar. Eastbound motorists on Tampa Road are making U-turns at Forest Lakes Boulevard in order to head west. So many motorists are attempting that U-turn at the busy intersection that it is causing backups and conflicts with other turning traffic. Some readers have suggested that "No U-Turn" signs should be posted there.

Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation told us that motorists leaving businesses on the south side of Tampa Road have only two options if they want to head west: go east on Tampa Road until they get to Forest Lakes Boulevard and make a U-turn, or take the frontage road on the south side of Tampa Road to Forest Lakes Boulevard and then turn left onto westbound Tampa Road.

Carson suggests that most motorists probably take the route that seems most convenient — making a U-turn — and may not even know that the frontage road exists on the south side.

If the offending U-turns were banned at Forest Lakes Boulevard, the next available opportunity to make a U-turn would be at the median opening at the Walmart driveway, about 1,300 feet downstream on Tampa Road. Forcing traffic to that location would likely cause numerous conflicts because of the high number of vehicles making right turns out of Walmart. For these reasons, the DOT can't recommend banning U-turns at Forest Lakes.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

E-mail Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity. Follow the Doc on Facebook by searching for Ask Dr. Delay.

Ask Dr. Delay St. Petersburg manager says no to First Street right-turn-only idea 09/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:30am]
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