Seminole drivers are no doubt pleased that the city has bumped up the 35 mph speed limit for eastbound traffic on Park Boulevard just east of Seminole Boulevard, restoring it to the previous, longtime 45 mph.
Readers may recall that a 45-mph speed limit sign located close to the entrance of Home Depot was suddenly removed a few months ago, effectively slowing traffic to 35 mph for half a mile east to the traffic signal at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Seminole Isles.
Outraged motorists bombarded the Doc with e-mails and phone calls about the slower speed through the area, some even asserting that the lowered limit was intended to snag motorists in what amounted to a county speed trap. Other folks were incensed that the lower limit created confusion because it did not jibe with the speed limit for opposing westbound traffic and that because there is little to no pedestrian traffic and no cross streets, 35 mph seemed unreasonable.
Although one Seminole employee insisted to the Doc that Park Boulevard is a county road, county records show that parts of Park between Seminole Boulevard and Starkey Road have been owned by the city since its incorporation or were incrementally annexed into the city between 1988 and 2000. A call to Seminole's city manager, Frank Edmunds, confirmed that the city's Public Works Department was responsible for moving the speed limit signs.
Edmunds said he requested that Public Works establish 35 mph for westbound Park Boulevard to begin to slow traffic as it approaches the busy intersections at the Home Depot entrance and at Seminole Boulevard. Edmunds stands by this decision, noting that most serious traffic accidents that happen in Seminole take place at those two intersections, so slowing traffic there is a safety concern. But the change for eastbound traffic was not part of the plan, Edmunds said.
"After I requested the change for the westbound lanes, Public Works took it upon themselves to shift the eastbound speed limit sign," Edmunds said, which created the angst for the motoring public.
Edmunds said that although his office received only one citizen complaint, "several City Council members did receive calls." After a discussion with the City Council, he asked that the 45 mph speed limit sign near the entrance to Home Depot be replaced.
Belleair Causeway will close on July 26
Motorists should plan now for a detour route because of an upcoming 24-hour closure of the Belleair Causeway. The closure of all east/west lanes will take place at 7 p.m. July 26, reopening at about 7 p.m. the following day.
County reps say the closure will decrease the need for future lane closings on the relief bridge and will allow workers to prepare for the shifting of traffic off part of the relief bridge onto the new bridge.
The closure and reopening dates and times are contingent on the weather. The bridge is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2010. Check the official bridge Web site for updates: belleaircauseway bridge.com.
Need a ride to the game? Try the Looper
Free shuttle service to and from Tropicana Field will be available Saturday and Aug. 2. Shuttles begin on game days at 4:40 p.m. and end one hour after the post-game concert is over. Other free shuttle dates may be added during the remainder of baseball season. Check online for updates at LooperTrolley.com.
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at email@example.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.