I have several issues of concern on Ulmerton Road between 34th and 40th streets. On the south side of Ulmerton, the far right lane is dedicated for right turns into the many driveways for businesses. The lack of lighting at night or in the rain forces drivers to guess where the driveway pavement ends and the dirt begins (or where the nearby ditch begins).
Most of the businesses, except the gas station at the corner of 34th Street that is brightly lit, lack markings of any kind — paint, guardrails, embedded reflectors or reflectors on posts; curbs; streetlights; or visual warning or delineation of the drainage ditch that runs between Ulmerton Road and the properties. At the very least the sides of the driveways should be marked with white lines for safety and sanity.
On Ulmerton, recent road projects have used a combination of driveway material, including asphalt, concrete and blends of both. Sticking to concrete exclusively may help delineate the driveways, according to Kris Carson, of the state Department of Transportation, who told us that engineers will look into this.
But wait, there's more: Two projects are in the works for Ulmerton that will take us into 2016.
Lights will be installed along both sides of Ulmerton from 40th Street to 34th Street to fill the lighting gap. Progress Energy will install lights from 40th Street to just west of 34th Street, and standard DOT lighting will be installed for the remainder of the reconstruction and widening period.
Also, the ditch will be converted to a pipe system east of State Road 686/Roosevelt Boulevard, and driveways will be radial type with curbing in the road/sidewalk area.
The first project, from west of 38th Street to west of Interstate 275, will be put out to bid for contractors in September. Construction would start in early 2013. The second project, from east of 49th Street to west of 38th Street, is scheduled to begin in 2016.
What is the proper "etiquette" when an ambulance is traveling with lights and sirens on the interstate?
We all know that when we become aware of an approaching emergency vehicle that is obviously en route to an emergency (lights on, siren sounding), we need to yield the right of way by moving to a position that safely clears the way for that vehicle to get through. According to Florida law, this means that all vehicles (and pedestrians too, by the way) must move to "a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to, the closest edge of the curb of the roadway, clear of any intersection," stop, and remain in place until the emergency vehicle has passed.
When driving on an interstate or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, we need to yield by moving over, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. Florida law states that if this movement can't be safely executed, drivers must reduce their speed to 20 mph less than the posted speed limit when the limit is 25 mph or greater. And when we spot an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road, common sense needs to prevail — vehicles should move out of the lane closest to the parked vehicles and give them plenty of room.
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