Thursday, December 14, 2017
Transportation

Dr. Delay: More work to come on Park Boulevard project

Can you tell me, and probably hundreds of other drivers, what is taking so long to complete the resurfacing project on Park Boulevard? At the intersections of Park and 66th Street and Park and 49th Street when heading north or south, you practically have to come to a complete stop or you'll do damage to your vehicle due to the uneven pavement. It has been around a month and nothing is getting done. Why start a project if they are not going to finish it?

Park Boulevard is undergoing multiple improvements from 66th Street to 34th Street N. The state Department of Transportation is providing oversight for this project, which includes upgrades of sidewalks and ramps along this busy corridor, bringing them into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act to provide accessibility. In addition to the sidewalk and ramp upgrades, the roadway, as you noted, is undergoing milling and resurfacing.

It may seem like nothing is happening because the work is being done exclusively overnight to avoid lane closures during the day. The other thing to consider is all the utilities under the roadway that we don't see but rely on every day — including fiber optics, electrical and drainage lines. The project is expected to be completed in late November (but, as always, weather can affect the time line). Because of the uneven pavement, which can pack a jolt, motorists should slow down and pay attention to DOT signs in the area. Or, if you are able, use an alternate route until the work is complete.

Can you provide clarification of the law regarding turning on your headlights when it's raining? Many vehicles lock their headlights on at all times, but that doesn't cut it when it's raining. In my reasoned opinion, vehicles, even those with running headlights, should turn on their headlights manually for this reason: Turning on your headlights manually also turns on your running lights, including your taillights, which are just as important, or even more so, because they allow motorists behind you to see your vehicle in a potentially blinding rainstorm. If this is indeed the legal reality, should it not be emphasized? I'm sure those with running headlights reason that they are legally compliant because their headlights are always on. Are they right?

In the words of a law enforcement officer the Doc interviewed on this topic a few years back: "It's a shame that we can't legislate common sense." I think of this often when I see vehicles on the road with their daytime running lights, or worse, no lights at all in torrential downpours.

State law says vehicles must use their "lower or passing beam at all times during rain, smoke and fog, and from sunset to sunrise including the twilight hours (the time between sunset and full night or between full night and sunrise). This means your full headlights. Not parking lights, not flashers, not daytime running lights. A violation of this section, by the way, is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation.

It is possible that some motorists don't realize that their reliance on their vehicle's automatic daytime running lights' function may be placing them at risk for rear-end collisions in low-visibility conditions, because, as you pointed out, depending on the make and model of a vehicle, taillights may or may not be illuminated when the automatic or daytime running lights are on.

Getting back into the habit of manually switching headlights on is important; the Doc's rule has always been that if your windshield wipers are on, you should switch your lights on, too.

Contact Dr. Delay at [email protected], or P.O. Box 4954, Seminole, FL 33775, to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Follow @AskDrDelay.

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