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Crosswalk at 54th Avenue N and 81st Street is being studied

Many readers say that motorists ignore pedestrians attempting to cross 54th Avenue N at 81st Street.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Many readers say that motorists ignore pedestrians attempting to cross 54th Avenue N at 81st Street.

On Jan. 11 a friend and neighbor was killed crossing 54th Avenue N at 81st Street. His mistake was that he thought he was safe crossing the street; he was in a pedestrian crosswalk. This crosswalk must be one of the most dangerous I have ever seen. There are three lanes of traffic traveling west on 54th and two lanes going east. Too many times cars ignore the posted signs and pedestrians have to guess if the cars are going to stop, or as in the case of my friend, one car stopped and the car that struck him went around the stopped car. What is the law in Florida for pedestrian crosswalks? Are cars required to stop when they see a pedestrian in the crosswalk? And can the existing pedestrian crossing signage on 54th Avenue N be replaced with a better style of pedestrian cross walk signage?

John Schneider

We shared this letter, one of several expressing concern about the that crosswalk, with county traffic engineering staff. In addition, many readers say that motorists persist in ignoring the presence of pedestrians attempting to cross 54th Avenue N near Holy Cross Catholic Church and the neighboring Eagles Park shopping center.

According to Debra Jaramillo, an engineering supervisor for Pinellas County, state Rep. Larry Ahern has also made an inquiry about the crosswalks in this area, which prompted an investigation that began last month. The county is conducting a study and gathering data as a first step in making improvements.

"This was one of the earliest flashing pedestrian crossings that we installed. We recognize that it is time to upgrade it, plus we have some ideas for additional safety improvements along the corridor," Jaramillo said last week.

As to the question about state law, yes, motorists are required to yield to pedestrians in designated crosswalks. Florida law also states that pedestrians are not to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. To read pedestrian traffic regulations, visit flsenate.gov/statutes, click on the motor vehicles link, then select chapter 316 (State Uniform Traffic Control) and scroll down to read statute 316.130.

Reading your article on the ongoing Ulmerton Road work I find an upsetting omission. The current projects are to make a six-lane road both east and west of the Seminole bypass canal. Is there any work to be done to the four-lane bridge over the canal, or is it to be a big bottleneck?

Jerry Ross

There are indeed plans to widen the bridge. It will be extended to accommodate the six-lane section, but the work is not scheduled to happen right away. This phase is anticipated to take place sometime between November 2013 and February 2014, according to the state Department of Transportation.

I regularly drive Gandy Boulevard from Fourth Street N to U.S. 19. As I work on Bryan Dairy, it would be very nice to be able to get onto Interstate 275 and get off the interstate at the correct exit, but that is not an option. There is a southbound I-275 entrance ramp from westbound Gandy — why not a NB entrance?

The DOT has no plans to add to add an on-ramp in this location, according to spokesperson Kris Carson, who noted that motorists can use Roosevelt Boulevard or Fourth Street to head north.

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

Crosswalk at 54th Avenue N and 81st Street is being studied 02/23/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 12:18pm]
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