Deer deaths spark call to action | story, Dec. 19
Deer population must be thinned
Credit is given to the activists wanting to help the deer along East Lake Road, but reducing the speed limit from 45 to 35 mph is not going to provide the humane benefit desired. In fact, it might result in just the opposite effect, with fewer kills and more injuries. And there is no way to really help an injured deer.
The entrance to Crescent Oaks is not in the area of severe deer problems on East Lake Road, but even if it was, adding a light at Crescent Oaks would not help, as it's only 1.6 miles between the light at Keystone Road and Trinity Boulevard. As a side note, installing a light at Crescent Oaks has been addressed at length and denied.
The real issue is the over-population of deer in the area and it is only getting worse with each doe giving birth to one or two fawns every year in May or June.
Unfortunately, the only answer to helping the deer regarding food or injury is to thin the herds in a humane, proactive manner. This, of course, would be unconscionable to animal lovers who only view the problem myopically. Consequentially, the deer problems will increase along with the traffic if speed is reduced here.
C. E. Henderson, Palm Harbor
Deer deaths spark call to action | story, Dec. 19
Out of touch with the reality
Can you guys have given the podium to a more hysterical and ridiculous woman, Ronda Musca of the Clearwater Audubon Society?
Her cliche phrases like "wild west on East lake Road" and panic-stricken terms like "baby deer brains splattered on the road from a gunshot" and "we can't have blood and brains at our bus stops," make it sound like the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is at war with the deer.
The reality is these officers do not enjoy killing baby deer, but rather do the humane thing and put them out of their misery when the poor animals are hit by a car and obviously seriously wounded.
Her "analysis" that a baby deer might have been just "stunned" after being hit by a car is nonsense. Animals suffer severe internal injury after being hit by a car that is going 45 mph (the speed on McMullen-Booth Road) or even 15 or 10 mph. It sounded like you guys interviewed an out-of-touch speaker for PETA.
Adam Rothenberg, Palm Harbor
Red-light camera use to rise | story, Dec. 21
Options beyond red-light cameras
It was disappointing to read that the St. Petersburg City Council voted to extend the red-light camera program, especially when data and statistics show that traffic accidents have increased at these locations since the cameras were installed.
If, as Mayor Bill Foster stated, driver and public safety are the real reasons for installing red-light cameras, then here are some suggestions that cost Pinellas County nothing and will undoubtedly reduce the number of accidents and drivers who purposely run red lights.
Instead of relying on the computerized Intelligent Transportation System to regulate traffic signals, rely on human observations and solutions. Start with balancing timing of all Pinellas County traffic signals. Most people run red lights because of the unbelievably long red signal times at some intersections throughout Pinellas County.
Increase the time between a yellow signal and a red signal, allowing sufficient time for drivers to legally clear an intersection. This should be done on roads like U.S. 19 with a 55 mph speed limit.
Increase the delay time between a red signal and an opposing green signal, creating a safety buffer before opposing traffic moves.
Increase the left turn signal time. I've seen them as short as five seconds. This is the biggest offense I've seen at intersections. Ensure there is enough time for the line of motorists that take up the entire length of the left-turn lane to clear the turn signal.
These solutions are less costly and more efficient than red-light cameras and will result in bigger benefits such as fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities at Pinellas County intersections.
Ken Gagliano, Clearwater
Driver safety? Pay attention
As a car and motorcycle driver, I can tell you that I see drivers every day focused on everything but driving. At least 90 percent of drivers go much faster than the posted speed, 50 percent tailgate, 50 percent to 75 percent don't use turn signals, 50 percent to 75 percent are on the phone, eating, texting.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that if you focus on what you are doing, like driving, you will not be involved in an accident or receive a traffic citation for running a red light or any other citation.
I told my daughters when they were learning to drive to think that all other drivers are idiots. Even though a lot of drivers are not, many are.
Alan Roberts, Largo
Give drivers time to change habits
It took years for folks to learn they could drive through red lights with impunity. They won't change these well-ingrained habits in a few months.
Let them pay the tickets — the state and city can both use the money. Better to have more rear-end crashes for a couple of years while slower minds figure this out than continue the T-bone smash-ups that kill their victims.
Give it three years and then evaluate results.
Mike Judd, Dunedin
Rear-end crashes will diminish
I ask that you reconsider your editorial position questioning the value of red-light cameras. Over the past 25 years, I have come close to death crossing busy local intersections at least 10 to 12 times. In each instance I started forward on green only to find that I had to take drastic evasive action to avoid a deadly T-bone crash with a red-light runner.
Most thinking people predicted an increase initially of rear-end collisions pending the education of drivers to stop rather than accelerate on yellow. They are certainly less deadly and will decrease as drivers realize that the car in front is trying to drive safely as opposed to recklessly trying to beat the light.
Earl G. Peck, Clearwater
Tall vehicles can block line of sight
It is true a few people will race to beat a red light, and have the option to not. However, it is more true that drivers of normal-sized cars traveling behind huge trucks cannot see whatever is in front of it.
I nearly caused an accident because I didn't want a ticket generated by our new "Big Brother" cameras.
One day, a very large FedEx truck raced across a busy intersection before the caution light changed to red. This tall vehicle visually blocked the traffic light until it had traveled mostly through the intersection. By then, I had barely enough time to screech my car to a halt.
The car behind me made an instant decision to whip around my sedan rather than rear-end it. Thankfully, the other lane was free of cars. I do wonder how many others experienced a scenario like this with worse results.
Jacqueline Brown, Palm Harbor
Dunedin set to let logo loose | story, Dec. 20
No free ads for Honeymoon
It seems to me that advertising Honeymoon Island State Park on our new Dunedin city logo would be worth asking the state of Florida to chip in a little money for our advertising their state park — for which they charge plenty for even our residents to use.
Robert H. Carlson, Dunedin
From the heart to Sandy Hook | photo, Dec. 19
Kudos to Safety Harbor Middle
I opened the Clearwater & North Pinellas Times to find a glorious picture of a very large group of children, arms extended to make a heart, and dressed in green and white. I then read that it was the students of Safety Harbor Middle School, who had posed for a group photo to send to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
I saved the picture, and when I looked at it more closely I noticed the image of the sun, wearing sunglasses, mounted right in front of the school, overlooking the group. Then I noticed the principal's name, Alison Kennedy.
Coincidentally, I had written and had published a letter to the Times Dec. 2, 2004, regarding that same principal, who I wrote "sounds like a child-oriented administrator."
I am so proud of Alison Kennedy and all of the teachers and children of Safety Harbor Middle School.
Bernadette Menz, Safety Harbor