All the talk these days about greening this and greening that and the sustainability of everything in between makes me wonder if I'm the only one thinking we could probably start by paying closer attention to the world that begins at the end of our driveways.
In case you haven't noticed, it's kind of a mess out there. Garbage piling up next to roadways bothers most of us a great deal, but lately it seems like there's more of it around Pinellas. I thought it was just my hypersensitivity, but increasingly, readers have been writing us to express their dismay about what seems to be an increase in litter.
Reader Karen Ray's recent e-mail to the Doc carried the subject line "Appalled!" and her message expressed her shock to see so much trash alongside the road while driving along Interstate 275 to Tampa, starting at 54th Avenue S.
Ray wrote: "I saw boxes, plastic jugs, newspapers and plastic bags all over the place. I was so surprised! This was Super Bowl weekend and our city was not showing our best."
Reader Michael Page wrote to call attention to garbage that piles up near his home in the vicinity of the Pinellas Bayway Bridge, which is a favorite fishing spot and a route many of us take to St. Pete Beach, Tierra Verde and Fort De Soto. Page says the area has become a garbage dump and it's worsened by the fact that there's one lone trash barrel in the car park area used by people who fish there. It fills quickly, then overflows, blowing garbage into the road and Boca Ciega Bay. Page says the trash barrel appears to be emptied only occasionally, which leads to piles of garbage sitting for days, attracting crows and vermin.
We passed both readers' concerns on to Kris Carson of the Department of Transportation. Carson told us that her office had received a complaint about the Bayway location in November and at that time the DOT added an additional trash barrel. But the barrel disappeared shortly thereafter and this is not an isolated incident. Carson said DOT trash barrels have repeatedly been swiped from the location. But new ones will be delivered again and they will have lids attached.
Another resource in the community that combats roadside litter is Keep Pinellas Beautiful, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cleaning up litter and debris countywide. Report litter trouble spots by calling (727) 210-4663 or sending an e-mail to Stoplitter@tampabay.rr.com.
Better yet, think about volunteering some time to clean up area roadways. Groups can participate in the Adopt-a-Mile program. Participants agree to perform four cleanups a year on their 1-mile stretch of adopted roadway. .
E-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.