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Dr. Delay: Reader questions distance on exit sign to Tampa International Airport

Reader Frank Baptie asked us to look into the highway signs on the eastbound Howard Frankland approach to the exit for Tampa International Airport.

He has two concerns: First, he thinks the positioning of the new exit sign to TIA causes dangerous, last-minute lane changes. Baptie says the sign that indicates that the exit is in three-quarters of a mile is incorrect — it is actually a half-mile, so folks are not prepared to change lanes soon enough and then attempt abrupt changes at high speed.

We shared Baptie's note with Kevin Dunn, the DOT's district manager of signs and pavement markings, who acknowledged that the sign is about 460 feet less than three-quarters of a mile from the exit.

Dunn said the old sign on the eastbound approach to TIA read "1 Mile" and was changed to read "3/4 MILE" as part of the project that moved the exit point closer to the sign. Mileage on guide signs must be in quarter-mile increments, so "3/4 MILE" was selected as it is the closer of the two mileage increments. If the sign were to read "1/2 MILE," it would have been located 860 feet farther away than 1/2 mile.

"While the sign structure could have been removed and a new sign structure installed at exactly three-quarters of a mile from the exit, in the interest of saving money (the estimated cost is $200,000) we decided to reuse the sign structure and live with the distance anomaly," Dunn said.

Dunn said there is a plan to install, at some point, sets of "EXIT" followed by "ONLY" pavement messages in the exit lane to TIA.

Median at King Street, 77th Ave. N to stand out

A reader alerted us last week about a potentially dangerous median at 77th Avenue N and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

She ran into trouble — literally — when she turned left off King Street onto 77th Avenue N and ran her car over a small divider median there. She later took note that it has no markings like a sign, or paint on the curbing.

Her run-in with the median cost $500 in repairs, she says, and she asked if we could help get the median painted so that no one else has the same experience.

We contacted Michael Frederick, St. Petersburg's manager of neighborhood transportation, who looked into it and issued a work order to have the median painted highway yellow and an identifying marker installed.

That should help make it more noticeable and prevent future accidents.

And car repair bills.

Email Ask Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Dr. Delay: Reader questions distance on exit sign to Tampa International Airport 05/05/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 5, 2012 4:31am]
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