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Traffic-calming overkill in Pasadena area?

Is it me or does Park Street just west of Pasadena Avenue seem to be getting managed to death?

We have a roundabout close to two speed humps and a traffic signal, which seems a bit much. Some might even say that there's a trend toward traffic-calming overkill in the Pasadena area. The latest is the removal of yield signs, which have been replaced with stop signs on Poinsettia and Oleander avenues S.

The sign swap on both streets is at the point where they intersect with Park Circle S, a large roundabout that is intersected by Pasadena Avenue.

Reader Sheri Schauer, who frequently drives through the area, contacted the Doc about the sign swap and asked, "Why change to stop signs? Ninety-nine percent of the time I use this route there is no traffic on Park Circle. Yield signs are used with other roundabouts throughout the city, so why the change?"

We asked Mike Frederick, St. Petersburg's manager of neighborhood transportation, whether he could fill us in. Frederick told us the installation of stop and yield signs are regulated by the Federal Highway Administration.

"A recent review at these intersections has indicated that the prior 'yield' condition did not meet the federal requirements, as no merge-type movement exists. Therefore a 'stop' sign was installed so that conditions at these intersections would meet this federal standard," Frederick wrote.

Why buses stop at old railroad crossings

Have you noticed school or PSTA buses stopping at railroad crossings that no longer exist and wondered what's up with the stopping for phantom railroad lines?

We have too, and so have some readers. Jack Tunstill recently wrote to the Doc:

"Regarding the railroad crossing at First Avenue S near the Trop: All indications that a railroad crossing is located there have been removed or covered up. The only indication that a railroad crossing was there are the rails buried in the street. However, PSTA buses still stop before the crossing, causing drivers to stop or suddenly change lanes. What are the rules regarding buses stopping at abandoned railroad crossings?"

The stops may be nothing more than force of habit for bus drivers who are accustomed to exercising caution when encountering railroad crossings. Another possible explanation is that the decommissioned tracks were not listed as officially exempt by CSX (meaning buses are no longer required to stop there) until about a month ago.

We shot Tunstill's question over to Bob Lasher at PSTA. He told us last week that PSTA's safety and training manager has since notified their drivers that a stop at the abandoned railroad crossing at First Avenue S is no longer necessary. But, Lasher said, their drivers are counted on to use their judgment in such cases and even if getting momentarily caught behind a bus is a drag, the bigger picture is that buses are helping to speed our commutes countywide.

DOT to begin work on Park Boulevard

Park Boulevard commuters should be aware that a contractor for the state Department of Transportation will begin work on the curb at northwest corner of the intersection of Park Boulevard and 40th Street this week.

Work is scheduled to start Monday and is estimated to last most of the week. There will be road closures between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and the southbound U.S. 19 ramp that takes traffic west to Park will be closed for a short time.

Message boards and a detour route will be provided, but it's a good idea to give yourself extra time or plan an alternate route. If you have to be on Park Boulevard, be prepared for slowdowns and alert to workers in the roadway.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Traffic-calming overkill in Pasadena area? 10/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 2, 2010 5:30am]

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