Recently, the state Department of Transportation installed white traffic pylons around the inside of the curved roadway carrying traffic north from Bayway South eastbound onto the Pinellas Bayway. Unfortunately, the workers installed the pylons on the driving side of the boundary-marking white curb-designating stripe, thus robbing the curb turn lane of at least a foot of width and forcing turning drivers to swing dangerously wider than normal, crowding any vehicle also turning right in the outside parallel lane. A number of pylons have already been run over. Can the DOT reset these pylons to the inside of the white boundary strip, giving back to the motorists their normal driving lane width?
According to Kris Carson of the DOT, the pylons were recently installed because a bicyclist was injured while riding in the paved shoulder/bike lane by encroaching vehicles. The stanchions were installed on the traffic side of the bike lane due to the minimum width (3 feet) of the shoulder/bike lane (bicycle handlebars could hit them if installed any closer to the cyclist). The pylons begin where the right-most lane widens, so they should not restrict traffic in the right lane.
What steps are being taken to address issues with crosswalks on Gulf Boulevard? Motorists either ignore the flashing amber lights activated by pedestrians or floor it when they see the lights come on. Some seem unsure if they are supposed to stop or not, so they may slow down but more often they keep going. We asked the DOT if there are plans to add signs to these crosswalks similar to the ones posted on Park Boulevard near the Wagon Wheel flea market, which instructs motorists to prepare to stop for pedestrians when crosswalk lights are flashing.
Carson responded: "We always focus on the three E's — engineering, education and enforcement. We have found that our safety campaigns are only successful when you incorporate all three of these. The engineering along Gulf Boulevard is the enhanced/added crosswalks etc. We have allocated $300,000 to address pedestrian safety education and enforcement in Pinellas County; $100,000 of that will go towards Walk Wise in Pinellas (walkwisetampabay.com) for education, $180,000 will be given for law enforcement efforts (approximately $50,000 is allocated for Gulf Boulevard) and $20,000 will be used on media to extend our See the Blindspots campaign."
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