Bob Bergen noticed some confusing signs along 54th Avenue N recently and decided to bring his safety concern to the Doc's attention. We passed Bergen's note along to the state Department of Transportation, and hats off to him, because action is being taken.
Here's what Bergen wrote to the Doc:
"As an old truck driver, I just notice things like this: eastbound on 54th Avenue N, coming off of I-275 N, the ramp has its own lane, but there is a sign saying "Lane Ends Merge Right." The sign should be on the left side of the road — this is where the lane ends quickly. I have seen locals and visitors get confused."
Kris Carson of the DOT told us that in response to Bergen's note, the department will take the following actions: First, the "Lane Ends Merge Right" sign will be removed and replaced with a yellow and black sign that indicates that the left lane ends and an additional sign will be installed in the median. Second, a new sign will be installed to the west of the overpass to provide more advance notice of the need to merge. The sign will read "Left Lane Ends/1000 Feet."
40th Street/First Avenue s
Parked cars cause problem with view
Reader Ron Spivack works in an office on Central Avenue at 40th Street and he has some long-standing concern about the intersection at 40th Street and First Avenue S:
"If one is traveling south on 40th Street with the intention of either turning east or going across First Avenue S, a line of parked cars and/or trucks to the west of the intersection, on the north side of the street, effectively blocks any view of oncoming traffic. … I have strongly suggested to the city that a few of those spaces be vacated, to no avail. I have just returned to my office from another accident (thankfully without injuries) at that location."
We shared Spivack's e-mail with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation, who acknowledged he has had previous contact with Spivack on this issue. The city has already removed several parking spaces to improve sight lines for southbound motorists on 40th Street and the current sight lines meet all safety standards, he said.
"Unfortunately, some drivers either don't edge up to make sure the way is clear before proceeding across the roadway or are in too big of a hurry to wait until there is a safe gap," Frederick said.
Frederick said his team will conduct another review and determine if additional parking spaces need to be eliminated.
54th Avenue S
Be considerate of those who live near Eckerd
Reader Eleanor Wolf is a resident of Dolphin Cay, across the street from Marina Bay and Eckerd College. She wrote the Doc about the heavy traffic on weekends and the difficulty it poses to residents of Dolphin Cay, which has only one entrance/exit:
"The traffic on 54th Avenue S is always pretty heavy, but on beach days it is impossible to get out without the 'goodwill' of oncoming beachgoers. There is a large "X" on the road to indicate that traffic not block the intersection but absolutely nobody pays attention to it. It is very hard to understand why there is no traffic light at Eckerd College to control the situation. The light at Leeland to the west of the toll booth works fine for traffic coming from the west."
We shared Wolf's e-mail with the DOT, but the outcome is not what she and her neighbors had hoped for. The DOT has concluded that a traffic signal at Eckerd is not warranted. There is not enough traffic on the side street to justify installing a signal to stop the flow of traffic on the main road, which is a major consideration any time a signal is requested.
The best the Doc can do is to appeal to readers headed to or from the beaches to be considerate of residents trying to enter or exit side streets along 54th Avenue S.
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