The city of St. Pete really needs to install flashing crosswalk signs at the intersection of 28th Street and Seventh Avenue N. St. Pete High School students can't be seen trying to cross in the morning because it's so dark, and no one stops. Down the street on 28th Street south of 22nd Avenue N are brand-new flashing crosswalk signs for the business there.
We touched base with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of transportation planning, who says he has been working with Schuller on this issue for a couple of weeks. A study was recently conducted on a Wednesday morning from 6 to 7 at the intersection of 28th Street and Seventh Avenue N. Twenty-two student pedestrians were counted crossing. Fourteen were counted crossing at the signed and marked crosswalk at the south leg of the intersection. Frederick says there were no delays or conflicts when the students crossed, and motorists yielded the right of way.
Observers counted seven students crossing south of the marked crosswalk, merging into oncoming traffic from the west side of 28th Street to the east side, causing conflict with southbound traffic. In addition, observers witnessed one student crossing on the north leg of the intersection where there is no marked crosswalk or signs indicating a crossing — a dangerous situation because vehicles are not accustomed to yielding to pedestrians there.
That said, it was determined that no signaling needs to be added, based on the study.
"The crosswalk is appropriately signed and marked and is directly under street lighting. Students that crossed properly were yielded to by vehicular traffic," Frederick wrote in an email last week.
As for a crosswalk at Fifth Avenue N and 25th Street in which a student was hit and injured on Oct. 15, the state controls that one. The mother of Aurora Vestel, 15, wants flashing lights installed at that crosswalk.
"We are going to review the crash history and also talk to local law enforcement for extra pedestrian enforcement," Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation told TV station WTSP.
The city-controlled crosswalks on Ninth Avenue N on the other side of the school have caution lights that can be activated by pedestrians.
• Cleveland Street in Clearwater will be closed from 5 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday from Osceola Avenue to Fort Harrison Avenue because of the Counting Crows concert at the Capitol Theatre. Traffic will be detoured via Park Street.
• The westbound lanes of traffic on Keystone Road were shifted last week to the north. Joseph DeMoss, engineering supervisor with the county's department of environment and infrastructure, said this is a permanent change, and delays are expected for a little while as motorists adjust to the new configuration. In addition, eastbound traffic will soon shift to the south on the new section of Keystone Road just west of East Lake Drive to East Lake Road. The changes are part of the ongoing Keystone Road improvements from U.S. 19 to East Lake Road that began in April 2010. Construction of a segment of the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is also taking place. That is expected to be complete in April.
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