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Dr. Delay: Timing of stoplights slows some traffic

If you live in southern St. Petersburg and commute to the north, it's likely that you hop on Interstate 275 at 22nd Avenue S in the mornings. And you may wonder what the story is with the long red light-green light cycle of the traffic signal at 31st Street S and 22nd Avenue S.

Reader Dave Kraynak asked: "Approximately three months ago, FDOT replaced the traffic lights at the I-275 S exit at 22nd Avenue S. Since then, the timing for traffic exiting the interstate and turning left onto 22nd Avenue S has nearly doubled.

"Also, for no apparent reason, the timing of the traffic light at the intersection of 31st Street S and 22nd Avenue S has changed.

"In the early morning (I leave for work at 5:30 a.m. from Lakewood Estates), the light for traveling north and south on 31st Street S is nearly three minutes long. Can you please investigate before I get a ticket for sneaking through a red light?"

The Doc is happy to do whatever she can to prevent anyone from sneaking through a red light, so she contacted Bill Foster, the city's traffic signal coordinator, and asked about the timing issues Kraynak mentioned. Based on Foster's answer, it looks like Kraynak may have to leave home a few minutes earlier.

Foster said both signals were recently placed under computer control to synchronize the corridor of 22nd Avenue S from 31st Street S to 37th Street S.

"This area has seen an increase in traffic, which has made synchronizing the traffic signals necessary. But there's a tradeoff when synchronizing traffic signals: increased delay on the side streets. The reader has noticed this but hopefully can accept that the overall benefit of synchronization to the majority of motorists is worth the added delay."

Parking lot problems

John Royse asked us to mention that pedestrians have the right of way in mall parking lots. He said: "Speeding drivers are often common in mall parking lots. Pedestrians do have the right of way and there is a speed limit — 15 mph on the main extremities and 5 mph elsewhere."

Royse makes a good point. The most harrowing shopping area parking lot, in the Doc's opinion, is the Shoppes at Park Place in Pinellas Park. Too many motorists seem not to understand that incoming traffic has the right of way — any more than they understand pedestrian rights in parking lots. I have been screamed at or shown someone's middle finger when entering the lot from U.S. 19 or Park Boulevard.

These incensed drivers are cruising through the parking lot and think incoming traffic is supposed to stop. They're incorrect. The entrances are not four-way stops. They are two-way stops and incoming traffic has the right of way. The same situation exists at other malls, including Largo Mall.

Free baseball shuttle

The free baseball shuttle from the downtown St. Petersburg parking garages to the Trop will operate Sept. 2-4 and 15-17, which can mean only one thing: The Yankees and the Red Sox must be in town for their final hurrahs of the season. Check times and stops at

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at to read more about commuting issues.

>>fast facts

Barricade watch

Road work scheduled around the county this week:

Tarpon Springs: The Fred Howard Park causeway will close Sept. 2 for one year.

Palm Harbor: County Road 39 (Belcher Road to U.S. 19) — delays for paving work. Also during the night on Tampa Road at Belcher Road.

Clearwater: Bayside Bridge — lane closures both directions for overhead sign repair.

Largo: Center Avenue (Ulmerton Road and Randolph Street) — temporary detour for drainage improvements.

Lealman: 55th Street N (46th Avenue N to 54th Avenue N) — detours for drainage work.

Dr. Delay: Timing of stoplights slows some traffic 08/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 1:38pm]
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