Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Transportation

Dr. Delay: Park Street sign designed to prevent sideswipes

Why was a big green sign installed on the west side of southbound Park Street in St. Petersburg just before Ninth Avenue N announcing that Country Club Road is ahead? The sign is completely unnecessary and so oversized that it's an eyesore and ruins the residential aesthetic. Who added it and why?

The state Department of Transportation installed the sign; there is also a sign south of the intersection to alert northbound traffic.

According to Tom Washburn, manager of the county's traffic engineering department, the signs are part of a safety improvement initiative at 33 signalized intersections along County Road 1 from Pasadena Avenue up to Alderman Road for which Pinellas County was awarded a safety improvement grant.

"The purpose for the signs is to provide advanced notification to motorists of upcoming signalized intersections — research has shown that this information greatly reduces last-minute lane changes, which in turn reduces the potential for sideswipe crashes," Washburn said last week.

Motorists should expect to see similar signs installed along Belcher Road, Tampa Road, Alderman Road, Klosterman Road and County Road 611 (49th Street and McMullen-Booth Road).

Washburn said the size of the signs are based on factors including speed limit, the height of the letters and the length of the street name, as well as the requirements of the DOT's Elder Road User Program.

I want to know why the speed limit on Alderman Road between U.S. 19 and Alt. U.S. 19 is set at 35 mph (Alt. U.S. 19 to Belcher Road) and 30 mph (Belcher Road to U.S. 19)? This is a separated four-lane road and appears to be a speed trap at the section between U.S. 19 and Belcher Road — this section of the road quite frequently has state troopers monitoring speed and issuing tickets, while a quarter of a mile away on U.S. 19, cars seem to regularly exceed the posted speed limit.

Richard Tew

The speed limit for the segment of Alderman Road from Alt. U.S. 19 to Belcher Road was established at 35 because the hills of Alderman Road contribute to limited sight distance when motorists are turning from the subdivisions onto Alderman, according to a spokesman for Pinellas County.

The segment of Alderman between Belcher and U.S. 19 is posted at 30 mph because of the volume of pedestrian activity, including a significant number of children walking to and from Sutherland Elementary School, as well as commercial activity in the area.

Barricade watch

• CSX railroad track repairs will close West Bay Drive in Largo between Seminole Boulevard and Clearwater-Largo Road for a period of seven to 10 days, starting this morning. Message boards with detour information will be posted and businesses will remain open to local traffic, but pedestrians will not be permitted in the designated construction zone.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

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