The list of folks who have emailed the Doc the past two weeks regarding the recent repaving of Park Street reads like a who's who of St. Petersburg. Busy Park Street is as iconic as it is utilitarian, and in spite of the bumpy Augusta block surface along some of the stretch, we love the historic road and wouldn't want it any other way. Except for the turn lanes and the pavement markings. We want our turn lanes, and darn it, we want them where we think they ought to be, and clearly marked.
If you haven't traveled Park Street recently, here's the upshot: Park Street was resurfaced a few weeks ago between 22nd Avenue N and Tyrone Boulevard/Bay Pines Boulevard. A smoother ride is always welcome, but there have been a few hitches.
The first problem was that once the paving job was complete late last month, folks were dismayed to find that all southbound left-turn lanes, including the one at the signaled intersection of Park Street and 22nd Avenue N, had been eliminated. In response to complaints, the intersection was restriped to include the southbound left-turn lane and stop bars. But the lane seems to be much shorter than the old one, so grumbling continues about that.
Another issue is the new island-shaped center lane markings, which have created confusion.
While some folks say the wider lanes are great, the turn lanes are now indecipherable. Dozens of readers have commented that the only clearly recognizable pavement markings are the center turn lanes, but there are private residences and businesses along the street, so drivers pulling in and out of driveways, Abercrombie Park, etc. are unclear about whether the painted islands were intended to be driven on, and where vehicles are to be safely positioned when waiting to turn without blocking traffic. The result has been a lot of hesitation on the part of drivers, which is not ideal or safe.
Tom Washburn, manager of Pinellas County's traffic engineering department, said there are a few more tweaks to come. "We will be modifying the markings in the center lane to include left turn lanes at all side streets. Although it is legal to turn left from the crosshatched area, it is causing much confusion," Washburn wrote in an email last week.
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Reader Sandra Doege asked if there are plans to resurface the picturesque but horribly pot-holed Courtney Campbell Parkway.
"It was a beautiful sight leaving Tampa International Airport or driving on Gulf to Bay Boulevard, but it has become bumpy and nausea-producing for visitors and residents driving between the two counties," Doege wrote.
The answer is that, yes, there are plans to resurface the Courtney Campbell, in fact, work is set to begin this week from the Pinellas/Hillsborough county line to east of Rocky Point Drive (near the Bayport Drive access road by the Hyatt). The 5-mile project starts today and is expected to be completed sometime in the summer of 2013 at a cost of about $8.5 million. Most work will be done at night with lane closures between 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.
Email Ask Dr. Delay at DocDelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.