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Backups near school embolden bad drivers

Commuters heading into St. Petersburg from Interstate 275 south have alerted us to a dangerous trend emerging near Gibbs High School. Early morning traffic backups caused by vehicles entering the school are emboldening impatient rush hour motorists to drive like nuts in order to circumvent the line of traffic. The situation is becoming increasingly hazardous, especially for students walking in the area, and we've told the St. Petersburg Police Department about the problem.

"Dear Dr. Delay," one reader wrote, "Each morning when my husband and I exit I-275 to 31st Street S at around 7:30 a.m., we run into a traffic jam caused by students going into Gibbs High School. We patiently wait in line to make a left-hand turn; however, many impatient drivers go down the right lane and then make an illegal left turn a little bit down the street. I think there should either be a police officer there or a signal. What say you?"

The Doc says that the police department should keep an eye on the interstate exit and ticket drivers who fail to observe traffic laws. The Doc wonders whether there should be an extra penalty added to the cost of the ticket for complete lack of common sense.

100th Way/Bay Pines Blvd.

New software should help adjust arrow signal

Reader Jack O'Boyle is a retired traffic maintenance worker who is driven crazy by bad signal timing. He recently checked in with us about the traffic signal at 100th Way and Bay Pines Boulevard. He noticed that the signal for westbound traffic turning left going onto the Bay Pines VA property was false, meaning the left turn signal was cycling without any traffic waiting there to turn, which interrupted the flow of traffic in the eastbound through lane.

"You don't notice it during peak periods, but at night when traffic isn't so busy the eastbound traffic gets a red because the westbound left turn signal is false," said O'Boyle, who has been on a mission to get it fixed for a few months.

We contacted Pinellas County Public Works on O'Boyle's behalf and learned that false calling was the result of the signal manager's need to prevent the main street (Bay Pines traffic) turns from timing concurrently, which would have created a bigger traffic headache. Recently installed control software will now allow county traffic managers to adjust the signals so that the left turn arrow will not appear during times of reduced traffic. So no more idling at a red light waiting for vehicles that aren't actually there to turn.

Pinellas Trail

Clearwater leg to close 30 days for repairs

The Clearwater leg of the Pinellas Trail between Sunset Point Road and Fairmont Street will be closed for repairs starting this week or soon after. Pinellas County Public Works says the closure will last about 30 days to repair the fascia of the Stevenson Creek Bridge. This part of the Pinellas Trail is in northwest Clearwater and is used by an estimated 1,420 people per month. No detour will be provided, so motorists should look out for cyclists entering the road in that area.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at to read more about commuting issues.

Backups near school embolden bad drivers 12/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:44am]
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