Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Right turn should take precedence over U-turn

In a situation where a left-turn arrow authorizing a U-turn conflicts with a right-turn arrow accompanying a red light, what is the protocol and who has the right-of-way? There is at least one intersection in Pinellas County where that exists: Park Street at 54th Avenue N (just north of Tyrone Boulevard). The northbound right turn lane of Park Street going east onto 54th Avenue N versus the left turn lane from 54th Avenue N going south onto Park Street. Green arrows occur at the same time. I am a frequent driver through that intersection.

Gene Douglass

The intersection of Park Street and 54th Avenue N is not a location where the Doc would consider executing a westbound to eastbound U-turn on 54th. With no median and narrow lanes, it's dicey at best and although U-turns aren't prohibited, the geometry certainly isn't U-turn friendly for a vehicle any larger than a Mini Cooper.

As you noted, the signal cycle at this intersection provides a green left-turn arrow for westbound traffic on 54th Avenue N to turn left onto southbound Park Street. At the same time, traffic northbound on Park Street has a red signal, but then a green right-turn arrow comes on just a scant three seconds after the left-turn arrow for the 54th Avenue N traffic has come on. This is less than ideal, but it's incumbent on the driver of a westbound vehicle on 54th Avenue N who wants to make a U-turn to yield to other traffic and to make the U-turn only when it's absolutely safe to do so. This means that traffic turning right from Park Street eastbound onto 54th Avenue N has the right-of-way. Drivers approaching an intersection must yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the intersection. In the event that two vehicles arrive at the same time and both have a green arrow, the driver on the left should yield the right-of way to right-turning traffic.

When in doubt, yield; in the words of the Doc's high school driver's ed teacher: "Never assume anything ... especially that you have the right of way when making a left turn."

What's going on with Douglas Avenue in Dunedin? The northbound lane is closed and it looks like they are getting ready for some kind of construction.

Gary Martin

This is a streetscaping project, which closed the northbound lane of Douglas Avenue between Grant Street and Skinner Boulevard last week. Northbound traffic will be detoured west on Monroe, north on Broadway and east on Skinner Boulevard until approximately July 31. The southbound traffic lane of Douglas Avenue will remain open throughout the life of the project.

The plan is to extend the existing concrete paver sidewalks and decorative street lights along Douglas Avenue from Grant Street to Skinner Boulevard and to resurface Douglas Avenue from Main Street to Skinner Boulevard just south of Monroe Street. Another feature of the project will be a decorative wall at Skinner Boulevard that will be used to exhibit work created by local artists.

Barricade watch

•In Clearwater, Cleveland Street from Garden Avenue to East Avenue will be closed today from 1 to 7 p.m. to make way for the Tech Olympics. Traffic will be detoured via Drew Street and Park Street. More information about the event is online at

•In Belleair Beach, sewer repair work and related construction that closed Seventh Street at Gulf Boulevard last week will be ongoing until June 2. Traffic is being detoured to Sixth Street or Eighth Street and Harbor Drive. In the meantime, expect some traffic congestion.

Email Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

Right turn should take precedence over U-turn 05/22/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep


    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  4. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman


    TAMPA — When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Throughout her battle with brain cancer, Beth Caldwell, 35, keeps her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7, on her mind.
  5. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.