As promised, here's an update on the much-maligned (at least by the Doc's readers) traffic circle on Park Street at Villagrande Avenue S in St. Petersburg: It looks like it's here to stay.
A few months ago we reported that, according to city officials, the circle, which is currently lined with small white pylons that resemble bowling pins, was temporary pending a traffic study. Lots of readers wrote in to say that the roundabout was not needed, that speed humps or a four-way stop on Park Street would cost less and make more sense to combat speeders, and that the roundabout leads to right-of-way confusion for motorists, creating more problems than it solved.
Reader John Stross alerted us last week that surveyors and city officials have been visiting the site recently. We checked in with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation, and inquired about the status of the roundabout.
Frederick said that work going on right now is sidewalk construction along Park Street from Pasadena to Fifth Avenue S.
Frederick also said the neighborhood association voted in April to approve the construction of a permanent traffic circle on Park Street.
Plans to move forward are in the works. A city engineer has estimated that the cost of the enhancements will run about $30,000 but it could be more.
Frederick said the city will be accepting bids from contractors in the next few months and construction will begin shortly thereafter.
Crosswalk countdowns are scientifically figured
Another mystery solved: The illuminated countdown signs posted at crosswalks downtown have some readers, pedestrian and motorists alike, wondering exactly how those times are determined.
Bill Foster, the city's traffic signal manager, said the clearance time displayed on the warning signs is determined by measuring the width of the roadway and dividing it by the stride of an average pedestrian, which is about 3 ½ feet per second.
That average stride distance is a standard measurement set by the Florida Department of Transportation, Foster said.
Free shuttle rides to the Trop offered this week
City officials announced last week that a free shuttle will transport Tampa Bay Rays fans from downtown parking garages to Tropicana Field this week.
If you plan to attend today's game or any of the next three games against the Chicago Cubs (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), check out the information including a schedule and route map at loopertrolley.com/Events.
Officials say it's a good idea for fans to expect heavy traffic around the Trop and to arrive early for the games.
Here is a rundown of a few road work projects scheduled around the county this week:
GULFPORT: Bear Creek Bridge (Mango Avenue S at Bamboo Drive S) — bridge replacement.
PINELLAS PARK: End of 78th Street N and south of Park Boulevard — dredging of Joe's Creek.
LARGO: 131st Street N (Walsingham Road to 102nd Avenue N) — shoulder repairs; 134th Avenue N (121st Street N to 125th Street N) — sidewalk repairs.
LEALMAN: 55th Street N (46th Avenue N to 54th Avenue N) — drainage improvements.
ST. PETERSBURG: 54th Avenue N east of 49th Street N — sidewalk replacement.
SEMINOLE: 114th Avenue N at 131st Street N — drainage system improvements; Ridge Road (84th Avenue N to 86th Avenue N) — drainage work and sidewalk repairs.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring!
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.