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Ugly roundabout is temporary

What's happening with the Park Street roundabout? Reader Elaine Coffin contacted us recently and asked for an update. Coffin wrote:

"Hi Doc,

I'm writing regarding our lovely roundabout in South Pasadena at the intersection of Villagrande (Avenue) and Park Street.

Now that we're all used to it and appreciate it, we need to know if 'they' are going to fix it up! Half of the cones are smashed, flattened and just plain battered. It is quite an eyesore. Just wondering if they are going to replace the cones and/or beautify the thing in some way, as other communities have done. Thanks, Elaine Coffin"

The roundabout, which is actually within the city limits of St. Petersburg, has been through the wringer. When it first appeared more than a year ago, it was met with disdain by residents, many of whom described it in letters to the Doc in various negative terms such as "a hideous blot on the landscape," "idiotic" and "a total waste of taxpayer's money."

Love it or hate it, the circle is showing signs of wear and tear. It is ringed with white plastic stanchions which have been smacked into and run over — one has been flattened and others are covered with skid marks and are tipping or listing. The weather has also taken a toll, fading the once-white color to a dull, chalky pallor.

We checked in with Mike Frederick, the city's manager of neighborhood transportation, and asked if there are plans to upgrade the traffic circle.

Frederick told us that the existing ring of plastic pins was always intended to be a temporary measure until a permanent traffic circle could be constructed.

"A bid has now been awarded to a contractor and construction of the permanent traffic circle will start soon, as we are now finalizing the schedule," Frederick wrote last week in an e-mail.

Frederick acknowledged that the process has taken a little longer than initially anticipated, but he seems confident that the finalized version of what he refers to as a "neighborhood traffic control" device will be pleasing to the eye as well as effective in slowing down speeders. The total cost of the upgrade, Frederick said, which will feature landscaping in the center, will be about $45,000 and will be paid for with Penny for Pinellas money.

Work stretches into fall

Road work on 54th Avenue S west of U.S. 19 that has lanes of traffic winnowed down to one approaching the Pinellas Bayway toll plaza had us wondering what's going on.

We touched base with Stacie Lehmann, of St. Petersburg's Water Resources Department and learned that the work on 54th Avenue S is an engineering project to replace the 54-inch wastewater trunk main that feeds into the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility. Lehman said work will continue until sometime in September.

Readers have also been inquiring about work on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street at 54th Avenue S.

The project is a city engineering project to improve storm drainage. North and southbound traffic is detoured to 16th Street via 54th Avenue S and 62nd Avenue S but local traffic and access will be maintained at all times. The purpose of the project is to alleviate street flooding near Lake Coronado and Lake Catalina. City representatives say the project will be completed by November. Call (727) 893-7400 for information.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

Ugly roundabout is temporary 07/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 4:30am]
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