Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dr. Delay: Seeing red on Fourth Street: Why not synchronize lights?

Reader Anne M. Fagan dropped us a note recently to share the frustrations of her daily commute along a major St. Petersburg corridor. "The good news is that I have a job. After a year and a half of being unemployed, I was hired by a wonderful organization at Fourth Street and Gandy. The bad news — I now have the 'pleasure' of traveling Fourth Street twice a day from 11th to 100th Avenue. By my fuzzy math calculations, there is one traffic light per half-mile, even though some are closer together, and some are further apart. None of these are synchronized, and the lights at 30th, 34th and 72nd avenues ensure that there is no chance for a smooth flow of traffic for the drive. I know this is a dream, but it sure would be nice if some effort were made to synchronize these lights."

We shared Fagan's note with Bill Foster, of the city's traffic signal operations. Foster told us he drove the route several times to check the equipment and encountered just one major stop along the route, at 38th Avenue N.

"We use a computer program that allows us to create a diagram that shows which traffic signals will have green lights and which traffic signals will have red lights for motorists driving through that portion of roadway,'' he said. "It is very easy to design a timing plan where all the vehicles traveling in one direction will get nothing but green lights as though the street was a one-way street. However, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction on this street usually will receive red light after red light."

The challenge is creating a plan that will require the fewest number of stops for vehicles traveling in both directions.

Foster says that during the morning rush hour, for example, he can't give priority to northbound traffic because at that time lots of cars are traveling south into downtown. So as a result of trying to benefit both directions, there is an unavoidable stop for northbound traffic at 38th Avenue N. If that stop were eliminated, vehicles traveling south would encounter a red light at 38th Avenue, where they currently receive a green light.

"With a two-way street with balanced traffic, I try to find a timing plan that will benefit vehicles traveling both directions equally, but some stops are unavoidable," Foster said.

St. Pete Beach medians requested by residents

Reader Ron McKeska of Tierra Verde asked us to fill him in on the two dozen medians being installed along Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach. "They appear to be an added distraction to motorists attempting to make left or right turns from establishments along the way, not to mention the cost that must be involved," he said.

Kris Carson of the state Department of Transportation told us the medians are being installed in response to requests from residents. The project was discussed in detail during a public meeting in July.

The initial estimated cost was $1 million, but Carson said the actual cost is $537,000 for the project, which is on schedule to be finished in the spring.

DOT raises a toast to sober driving

The state DOT has released its eighth annual collection of nonalcoholic drink recipes gathered from restaurants around the Tampa Bay area. "Recipes for the Road" intends to raise awareness about the importance of designating a sober driver and reducing DUI crashes year-round. Themed recipes include drinks for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and other festive occasions. See the recipe book at tinyurl.com/bmufhkt.

Email Dr. Delay at DocDelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Ask Dr. Delay on Facebook. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Dr. Delay: Seeing red on Fourth Street: Why not synchronize lights? 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Rays' Blake Snell erasing memories of his poor start

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — As Blake Snell strides up the mound at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with an 10-game unbeaten streak, doesn't the miserable start to his sophomore season, when he was winless in eight starts and got demoted to Triple-A, seem like a long time ago?

    To him, too.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the dugout during the fourth inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. St. Petersburg youth baseball concession stand vandalized

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — The early-morning phone call warned Charles Castle, president of Burg Baseball, to "expect the worst.'' The organization's concession stand had been vandalized.

     Cliff Williams, Vice President of the Burg Baseball Inc., St. Petersburg, looks at a damaged and trashed concession stand at the Lakewood Baseball Complex, home of the Burg Baseball. According to Williams someone vandalized the concession stand either Saturday or Sunday. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  4. Tampa charter school teacher charged with firing handgun at ground

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa charter school teacher was arrested Sunday after she fired a gun into the ground during a dispute with her boyfriend, police said.

    Melody Patrice Bing, a teacher at the Village of Excellence Academy in Tampa, emerged from her home holding a weapon and dropped it when police confronted her at gunpoint. [Tampa Police Department]
  5. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

    Blogs

    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.