There is a dangerous situation at 40th Street and 11th Avenue S, which is not immediately apparent unless you travel it regularly. East-west traffic on 11th has stop signs, while 40th Street traffic has none. Traffic traveling north and south on 40th Street goes much too fast and cars going east-west are slowed down by very deep "dips" at the intersection. East-west traffic on 11th Avenue S is generally slowed by various humps (traffic calming devices). As a result, the north-south traffic is frequently required to slow down to avoid collisions. While the east-west traffic bears the burden to wait until they can cross safely, if they proceed at the normal pace, they are going much too slowly to get across. The 40th Street speed being disproportionately faster creates a deceptive situation in which it appears you can cross the intersection in time, but you cannot. A four-way stop would be much better or at least a level intersection so that 11th Avenue S traffic could proceed at a normal pace.
We asked Michael Frederick, St. Petersburg's transportation manager, to look into the situation. The transportation department reviewed crash history (none reported in the past year) and conducted a 24-hour traffic count at four intersection approaches along 40th Street.
"Based on the volume and delay it was determined that the installation criteria was not met for the implementation of an all-way stop, as requested," Frederick said.
Here's what the 24-hour traffic study found: the average speed of vehicles on 40th Street was more than 10 mph above the posted 30 mph speed limit; 261 of the 2,186 vehicles counted exceeded 40 mph. Another concern is that the study revealed that of the 1,098 vehicles counted on 11th Avenue S, 635 (58 percent) failed to make a complete stop at the STOP sign.
While a four-way stop will not be implemented, Frederick is taking a three-step approach to addressing the speed issues. First, an illuminated Neighborhood Speed Watch sign will be used for a time on 40th Street to inform motorists of their speed and remind them of the speed limit. Frederick has asked that the police monitor speeds and stop-sign compliance at the intersection. Finally, Frederick has been in touch with the leadership of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association to discuss the situation.
Frederick suggests that speed humps placed at critical locations along 40th Street would be appropriate to address traffic safety. This is a decision that cannot be made without consensus among the residents of the neighborhood. Concerned residents might want to attend the meeting of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association, which is set to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Childs Park Recreation Center, 4301 13th Ave. S, where a petition will be circulated. Per city policy, two-thirds of the residents of the neighborhood must be in favor of amending the current neighborhood traffic plan before any changes can be made.
Lately I've noticed a school bus on First Avenue S that makes a 6:30 a.m. stop at 42nd Street. This causes upwards of 20 eastbound cars across three lanes to stop and wait. The bus then makes a right turn onto 42nd Street. Why do they disrupt traffic flow on First Avenue S when the pick-up can be made on 42nd Street where the bus turns anyway? Not only is this a convenience issue for drivers but also an environmental issue when you consider all the idle vehicles pumping exhaust in the air needlessly. Can you please find out if they would consider a change to 42nd Street?
We asked the Pinellas County School District, and in response, the bus stop was moved from First Avenue S to 42nd Street S, according to Michael Bessette, the district's associate superintendent of operational services. The change went into effect last week.
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