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It's legal to turn left on red lights at one-way intersections, unless posted

The dilemma of right turns on red lights frequently tops the list of questions we receive as does the issue of left turns on red. Some readers, especially those who travel downtown streets daily, say they are frustrated and annoyed by having to idle behind vehicles stopped at red lights on one-way streets when there is no traffic on the cross street. Vehicles can legally and safely make a left turn from a one-way onto another one-way after first stopping at the red light, unless a posted sign forbids it. Sometimes even a polite tap to the horn doesn't prompt some drivers to make the left turn onto a one-way street. Maybe it's because we are so conditioned not to turn left on a red light.

Reader Marjorie Dahl wrote: "Dear Dr. Delay: I suggest you tell the public about turning left from a one-way street onto another one-way street. A lot of people don't realize you can do this. They sit at a red light when they could be turning. Some one-way streets you can turn onto downtown are: Third Street onto First Avenue N, Fourth and King Streets N onto First Avenue S, and First Avenue S onto Third Street. And there are more."

Here's what the Florida statutes say about left turns from a one-way street: "The driver of a vehicle on a one-way street that intersects another one-way street on which traffic moves to the left shall stop in obedience to a steady red signal, but may then make a left turn into the one-way street, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection, except that municipal and county authorities may prohibit any such left turn as described, which prohibition shall be effective when a sign giving notice thereof is attached to the traffic control signal device at the intersection."

You can read all of the 2009 Florida Statues online at and select Title XXIII, which covers all the motor vehicle laws.

• • •

A year ago, the Doc offered an update on northbound Duhme Road in response to complaints from motorists who travel the corridor in Seminole, which runs parallel to Seminole Boulevard and U.S. 19.

Readers have been registering complaints about the condition of the road for what seems like an eternity. Duhme, which is deteriorating into a minefield of potholes and asphalt patches on top of patches, seems to be worsening by the day, with new potholes appearing weekly.

In January 2007, the Doc reported that the road was scheduled to be repaved this year. At that time, Pinellas County transportation staffers said that repaving north-south Duhme Road between the Madeira Beach Causeway and 54th Avenue N was included in the county's 2008-2009 fiscal year budget. The plan was for the resurfacing work to be combined with a project to install reclaimed water pipes with Pinellas County Public Works and Utilities departments coordinating so that the road would be closed just once.

But the wait will be longer than anticipated. The project has been pushed back to fiscal year 2010-2011. And with the current budget crunch we are experiencing this is another improvement that may be much longer in coming.

• • •

Detour-weary motorists who rely on 38th Avenue N for their daily commute are more than ready to get their road back. And parents have been asking the Doc if the massive construction project will be wrapped up in time for the start of the new school year.

We checked in with Meg Korakis, spokesperson for Pinellas County, and asked her how the road improvement project is coming along.

Korakis said that work is on schedule, with the contractor currently preparing to pave the road.

But kids who ride school buses through the neighborhood should prepare for a few weeks of a scenic route: the project completion date is looking like the first week of September, following the start of school.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

It's legal to turn left on red lights at one-way intersections, unless posted 08/01/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 28, 2009 8:08pm]
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