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Dr. Delay: 66th Street entrance to Crossroads Plaza vexes drivers

The nightmare that is the exit/entrance to Crossroads Plaza on 66th Street in St. Petersburg drives plenty of folks crazy. The Doc avoids the area, accessing the shopping center from Tyrone Boulevard to avoid the stew of vehicles trying to dash across congested lanes on 66th Street.

There's just too much high-speed traffic and too many drivers who don't give a darn about anyone else's right of way but their own. If you've driven 66th and seen the vehicles stranded at the median waiting for a break, or inching out into traffic to the point of blocking travel lanes, you know what I mean.

Reader Benita Pagac wrote to us about trying to exit the shopping center from the southwest by Mattress Giant and the Home Depot — the only exit that allows a turn south.

Pagac wrote: "It is very hazardous and time-consuming to make a left or right turn since the traffic lane is usually filled with people turning left. There are a lot of people that exit onto Tyrone and then take 18th Avenue back to 66th Street, causing an increase in the neighborhood traffic."

Pagac suggested that a possible solution might be to open an exit in the wall that runs along the back of the shopping center's parking lot along 18th Avenue N.

We passed along Pagac's idea to Mike Frederick, the city's transportation manager, and asked him what he thought.

"While it is very busy, there was only one reported crash in 2008. Unfortunately, opening an access from the plaza onto 18th Avenue N is not an option, as access is restricted as part of a development agreement with the city," Frederick said.

Mainsail Arts Festival

Allow time for parking and use free shuttles

If you're headed out to the Mainsail Arts Festival at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg this weekend, give yourself plenty of time to park and hop on one of the free shuttles that will be zipping to and from the downtown venue. Minibuses from Carey Limousine and vans from Wheelchair Transport Service will shuttle art lovers to and from the venue from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Shuttle stops are at First Street and Central Avenue (behind the Ponce De Leon Hotel), Second Avenue NE just east of the Dolphin Lot Trolley Station, and Seventh Avenue NE just west of Bayshore Drive.

Paid parking can be found at the Pier parking lots, BayWalk parking garage, and the Southcore parking garage, and at other private lots downtown. A printable shuttle route map can be viewed on the events page at www.LooperTrolley.com.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, questions and comments.

Dr. Delay: 66th Street entrance to Crossroads Plaza vexes drivers 04/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:30am]

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