Folks who travel Park Boulevard on the weekends know that the area around the Wagon Wheel Flea Market presents several challenges, including a stomach-rolling combination of traffic backups, sudden stops, U-turns and pedestrians trying to cross the very busy six-lane road, many walking with children or pushing strollers. The existing pedestrian crosswalk doesn't seem to be all that effective in alerting drivers that a crosswalk may be in use, especially when you consider the volume and the speed of traffic along this corridor on weekends.
Readers Gloria Sciuto and Manny Raposa wrote the Doc to express their dismay with the conditions on Park Boulevard during the peak hours of congestion related to the Wagon Wheel Flea Market:
"This is a fatal accident waiting to happen. To ask pedestrians to take their lives in their own hands to cross Park Boulevard to get to the flea market is insane. Of course, the flea market is open during the busiest traffic times and days. The added traffic that the flea market generates on Park Boulevard actually stops traffic in the passing lane. We are shocked that a traffic police officer is not located there, since there is a constant traffic jam caused by this large (and growing) farmers market/flea market on weekends."
Other readers have contacted us to ask whether there are plans to enhance the crossing, which currently consists of yellow striping on the pavement and pedestrian crossing signs. Along with requests for the installation of flashing warning lights, there have been requests for the presence of law enforcement to help manage traffic during peak times on the weekends. We have shared these concerns with the traffic management folks at the county level and will keep you updated. In the meantime, consider an alternate route for east/west travel, or if you must be on Park Boulevard on the weekends, keep your eyes on the road and slow down.
Look out for athletes of Mad Dog Triathlon
Beachgoers who customarily use the Madeira Beach/Tom Stuart Causeway, as well as motorists in the Seminole area, should be aware that today is the 25th annual Mad Dog Triathlon.
The race starts and ends at Archibald Park on Gulf Boulevard, and the route will run along Gulf Boulevard, then east on Madeira Way, turn northeast on 150th Avenue, then north on Duhme Road/113th Street N to Walsingham Road. Athletes will then make a U-turn at Walsingham and head south back down 113th Street to Park Boulevard, then head west on Park to Gulf Boulevard, then south to Archibald Park.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will manage traffic, and motorists should be prepared to share the road. Also, the Park Boulevard Bridge will be closed to traffic from 7 to 10 a.m.
Eckerd graduation may affect beach traffic
Beachgoers who travel the Pinellas Bayway might want to consider using the Pasadena Avenue or Central Avenue/Treasure Island bridges to get to and from the beaches this morning. Eckerd College will hold its commencement and related festivities on its main campus beginning at 6 a.m., so traffic along 54th Avenue S will probably be quite heavy most of the day.
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