I'm a snowbird from Madison, Wis., who winters in the St. Pete area. For several years "up North" we have had left turn lanes that start off green with oncoming traffic stopped and after a period of time change to flashing yellow to allow you to continue turning left if no traffic will impede safe crossing through the intersection. Time and fuel are obviously saved if conditions warrant.
Last Saturday on the way to the Dunedin art fair on State Road 580, coming into Dunedin I saw my first signal that performed as I previously described. Why aren't they all over the area? It seems to be a no-brainer. What am I missing?
Pinellas County has 24 incorporated municipalities and in most cases, each handles its traffic management system and approaches independently. This makes uniformity in traffic signals a challenge. There are other factors such as varying traffic volumes and road capacity and conditions from one municipality to the next. While uniformity of signal functions makes sense in such a large, connected region, these and numerous other considerations preclude that from happening.
• Today's eighth annual Clearwater Halfathon Running and Fitness Festival will close Cleveland Street from Osceola Avenue to the Clearwater waterfront. Motorists should use caution and be alert to runners along the race route. The 5K race route starts at Coachman Park, then heads west over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway, then back to Coachman Park. The marathon route starts on Drew Street at Coachman Park, crosses the Memorial Causeway Bridge to Gulf Boulevard, then heads south on Gulf Boulevard to Park Boulevard. The route then heads east on Park to Oakhurst Road, east to the Pinellas Trail, north on the Pinellas Trail to Clearwater using residential streets back to Coachman Park. Road closures in downtown Clearwater begin at 6:30 a.m. today and will reopen sometime after 3 p.m.
• Route clearing for the 28th annual National MLK Drum Major for Justice Parade in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will begin at 6 a.m. Monday. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and several parking restrictions will be in effect in downtown St. Petersburg.
Parade activity will begin at an assembly area at Tropicana Field. Parade participants will then exit the main entrance to Tropicana on Third Avenue S to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, then turn north to Central Avenue. At Central, the parade will head east and proceed to Bayshore Drive. At Bayshore, the parade will turn north and end along Fifth Avenue NE by the Renaissance Vinoy Resort.
Parking will be restricted along the parade route, so downtown residents and commuters should be prepared. The St. Petersburg Police Department says vehicles that violate the temporary parking restrictions will be subject to citations and towing. Also, be prepared for traffic congestion along the parade route from approximately 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m. Motorists should stay west of King Street (near Central Avenue) and the downtown waterfront until after 3 p.m.
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