The most recent newsletter of the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association included an item mentioning that the traffic roundabout at First Street and 30th Avenue NE was to be removed "by the end of the month" (meaning March). We see that it is still in place with no apparent preparations under way to return the street surface to its prior state. Could you tell us what's going on?
The long and winding road of the much-debated (and some may say hated) roundabout at the intersection of First Street and 30th Avenue NE in St. Petersburg is indeed reaching its end. Work to remove it is set to begin roundabout mid-May. This should be welcome news to the many readers who have written to the Doc over the years about the roundabout — also referred to as a traffic circle or rotary.
Complaints about this particular traffic calming circle — built in 2001 at a cost of nearly $25,000 — have ranged from confusion about right-of-way issues to elements of the design, and the smallish size of the circle. Scores of you have written to express frustration about the number of motorists who treat it like a four-way stop, or ignore it altogether, blowing through the intersection like it's the Sunshine Speedway, driving over the circle in the process.
The decision to remove the roundabout followed what Mike Frederick, the city's transportation manager, calls a lengthy review to address conflicts created by the traffic circle and recent crashes that have taken place at the intersection. Frederick says a consultant was involved, several options were considered, and a determination was made that the intersection is in need of a redesign that includes the removal of the current four-way yield circle.
The new traffic configuration will allow free flow of north/south traffic on First Street with stop signs for east/west traffic. First Street will be narrowed to one lane in each direction, with landscape medians providing a tapered approach lane. Frederick says that the intersection of First Street and 30th Avenue NE will be slightly raised and the circle pattern will remain in the roadway. The cost of the new configuration will be around $115,000, which will come from Penny for Pinellas funds.
•Residents of Tierra Verde should be prepared for the milling and resurfacing of streets throughout the neighborhood east and west of the Pinellas Bayway. The work is scheduled to be completed — weather permitting — May 16. In the meantime, motorists should plan on encountering lane closures and following detour signage.
Email Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org with your traffic questions or follow on Twitter @AskDrDelay.