If you're one of the Doc's many readers who have noticed odd lights flashing from the Sunshine Skyway bridge, rest assured. No one's sending signals to UFOs from the superstructure.
Steve Cheney from Pinellas Point recently wrote: "The DOT keeps delaying the date for when the lights will be back on the bridge cables. … Lately there have been some curious things about the lights on top of the bridge towers. For the last several months, there have only been flashing strobe beacon lights on the towers. And they seem to come on for no apparent reason. They will be dark for several days, and then suddenly one night they will flash for about two hours and then stop. And now they curiously have disappeared altogether and have been replaced by flashing red aircraft beacons. Are they triggered by aircraft, large ships, motorists in trouble, or are they a signal to aliens from outer space?"
Kris Carson of the DOT told us that it's nothing as exciting as alien signaling and that the aviation beacons on the top of the towers are functioning properly. But with Cheney's observations, it's likely the DOT will take a closer look. Carson said the lights, which are controlled by a photo cell on top of each tower, transition from white during the day to red at night. The photo cells aren't synchronized, so it is possible for one to flash red while the other flashes white for the period of time between dusk and darkness. But if a red light fails to come on at dusk, the white light will intuitively flash 24/7 until repairs are made. This is a fail-safe mechanism built in to ensure that there's always a functioning light on the top of each tower.
Regarding road lights on the Skyway, as we've mentioned before, the DOT says the lights cannot be reinstalled until the painting is complete. But the end of the tunnel is near: Painters are working on the lowest 15 feet of the bridge stays and have primed all the quadrants. The anticipated completion date and reinstallation of the lighting is the end of this month.
PSTA Demand Response
New service providers for disabled passengers
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority announced last week changes in service providers to disabled citizens.
The Demand Response Service (DART) is curb-to-curb service via van or taxi provided for those who cannot use PSTA's regular fixed-route buses.
Riders must be preapproved in order to access the service and must schedule transportation at least 24 hours in advance. DART's new providers as of Tuesday are Clearwater Yellow Cab at 540-1897 for sedan service and Care Ride at 540-1960 for wheelchair service.
Individuals interested in applying for the DART program should contact the PSTA administrative office at 540-1800.
Construction will snarl route going to airport
If you're planning an airport run this week, you might want to take the Howard Frankland rather than the Courtney Campbell Parkway as ongoing construction will require some rerouting of eastbound traffic exiting State Road 60 to Tampa International Airport. Beginning Tuesday morning, traffic coming over the Courtney Campbell headed toward TIA will have to use the right lane.
At the moment, motorists exit to the left to head to TIA (or eastbound Spruce Street).
For those daily commuters using the Bayside Bridge, then the Courtney Campbell, here are some tips from the DOT: If you're headed to TIA on eastbound State Road 60, get into the right lane as early as possible. If you're bound for Spruce Street, get into one of the two left lanes. If you're continuing south to Interstate 275 or Kennedy Boulevard, stay in one of the right two lanes. Motorists should also be aware that the speed limit has been reduced to 40 mph in this area.
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.