Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Most frequent driver complaint: roundabouts

The Doc celebrated an anniversary last month, marking my fourth year behind the wheel as Dr. Delay. Longtime readers of the Ask Dr. Delay column know that I am not the first Doc, which is both challenging and humbling. I'm actually the fifth Dr. Delay, and my predecessors set a high standard in reporting on potholes, malfunctioning traffic signals, tailgaters and speed demons for nearly two decades. So have the readers of the column, who are the reason we have kept driving around town and bugging the folks at the state DOT, Pinellas County Public Works and the city of St. Petersburg's transportation department. Somebody's gotta do it. And I think I can safely speak for the four previous Docs in saying that it's a gratifying undertaking.

Last week I took a look back at the four years of columns I've written in response to reader inquiries and complaints and noticed that one subject stands out among all others. Man, oh, man, do we hate roundabouts. Some folks call them rotaries. Or traffic circles. The previous Dr. Delay referred to them as "traffic pustules." But whatever term you prefer, the circulars meant to calm traffic while maintaining a continuous flow really tick most people off. My opinion is that when they work they're great, but when they don't work — more to the point, when motorists don't address them properly — they're a complete waste of concrete and reflectors. There are certainly a few roundabouts around town that I would be happy to see replaced by a good old-fashioned four-way stop, because some folks just don't seem to know how to slow down.

Reader Jim McPoland agrees: "Hi Doc, I travel 30th Avenue NE a lot. Often I can't get into the circle due to speeders coming up or down First Street. The other day, I had to sit (almost started out since it was my turn) when two speeders came south on First Street. They never slowed, and apparently never planned to yield. This happens all the time. Why can't something be done? I prefer a stop sign on 30th; at least that would be safer."

Dear Jim: Me too.

Friendship Trail, fishing pier damage assessed

It has not been a good time lately for fans of the fishing pier on the old Sunshine Skyway bridge or the former Gandy Bridge's Friendship Trail, which was closed last week because of the visible decay of the structure. Saltwater and the other corrosive elements have taken their toll on both structures. In August, the state closed the east section of the fishing pier that was part of the old Sunshine Skyway after discovering structural degrading. The DOT suggested that the Friendship Trail, among others, be inspected as well because it's about the same age as the Skyway. Reps at the county told us last week that the inspection of the Friendship Trail Bridge is ongoing. About a mile and a half of the middle section is closed right now. A full report is expected in about 2 1/2 weeks from an engineering firm that specializes in bridge structures. Something tells me the price tag for fixes is going to be out of reach.

Barricade watch

Road work to look out for this week:

LEALMAN: 55th Street N from 46th Avenue N to 54th Avenue N — detours for drainage improvements.

SEMINOLE: 102nd Avenue N from Seminole Boulevard to Starkey Road — roadway beautification; Park Boulevard drawbridge over Intracoastal Waterway — bridge maintenance and painting; Walsingham Road from Seminole Boulevard to 119th Street N — milling operations for road widening.

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.

Most frequent driver complaint: roundabouts 11/15/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: 'Channel Zero: No-End House' pumps up the prestige horror


    In its second season, Channel Zero cements itself as one of the scariest shows on television.

    Amy Forsyth in Channel Zero: No-End House.
  2. Utilities face barrage of questions as power returns to Tampa Bay


    Nearly all of Tampa Bay has electricity again a week after Hurricane Irma shredded the power grid, but elected officials here say the problem is far from solved.

    Duke Energy's Scott Crellin (right) works to cut tree limbs from a power line along S Pinellas Avenue as apprentice lineman Nick Ceccarini looks on Sept. 11, the day after Hurricane Irma struck Florida. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times]
  3. Yep, 2017 hurricane season really is more intense than normal


    It was only 25 days ago that Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

    A handout satellite image from Sept. 8, 2017, of, from left, Tropical Storm Katia, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Jose, which would intensify into a hurricane. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been unusually active. There have been 13 named storms this year. Only four other seasons since 1995 have had that many by Sept. 18. [NASA/NOAA GOES Project via the New York Times]
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs could run into their nemesis


    Greg Auman finishes wrapping up the Bucs' win against the Chicago Bears and looks ahead to Sunday's game at Minnesota, where Tampa Bay could run into nemesis Case Keenum, in our latest Cannon Fodder …

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) during a 2016 game. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  5. How to vamp out for Buffyfest in St. Petersburg

    Music & Concerts

    Who's your favorite superhero? I always answer Buffy.

    Photo illustration RON BORRESEN, Photo by Warner Brothers, Photo by SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Members of the Florida Bjorkestra rehearse, Monday, 3/13/17, at the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg for their upcoming concert. In the foreground is percussionist Joe Coyle.

Sarah Michelle Gellar