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Triathlon is too much of a burden

Re: Ironman World Championship 70.3 held Saturday in Pinellas.

Triathlon is too much of a burden

I understand it only comes once a year, but what are the benefits to us locals? At least last year, the cops who ran traffic detail would wait for a break in the race to let people drive through. Not this year. An eight-minute journey took us 45 minutes and another 20 miles out of the way.

And here is what I didn't understand: The bike route crossed 66th Street at 82nd Avenue, yet they had the entire southbound lanes closed from Bryan Dairy south all the way to 82nd. Why? It's like a 2-mile stretch. I can understand extra safety measures for, oh, the pope, but an Ironman competition?

And I really do not want to hear the answer that businesses will benefit. All along the route, the police wouldn't let anyone turn into the plazas that were blocked off. How does that benefit anyone?

I know we live in a great area that people love to visit. I get it. The price you pay for paradise, I suppose. But when was the last time you heard of a diehard triathlete taking a vacation? Those I have known (six at last count) train 52 weeks per year. So they won't be back to visit. Is it really worth it to the tourism folks to get that extra night's stay at Clearwater Beach?

And according to the news, the Ironman generated $5-million for the greater Pinellas area. While that's great, what about the businesses along the roads that were closed down all day? They sure didn't see a triathlete come in for a cup of coffee along their bike route, or anyone else for that matter.

While that really irks me, it's not as bothersome as being told repeatedly by the Pinellas Park Police Department that they only have four police officers on duty at any given time. And while they would like to help control the speeders that leave rubber patches on the road in front of my house, they just aren't able to spare any officers for neighborhood patrol. And when I wanted to hire someone to come to my son's fourth birthday, I was told that just wasn't something they could arrange. But they can have 50 or more police officers blocking the road all stinking day for this event. It's so infuriating.

I am all for being civic-minded, but this year was ridiculous. And even with all of Pinellas County's finest on duty, people were making illegal turns, cutting people off, racing past red lights to make up for lost time. Yep, real beneficial. More unsafe, hurried and frantic drivers so athletes none of us have ever heard of can swim, bike and run.

Let someplace else have a turn.

George Roe, Largo

Re: Ironman World Championship 70.3 held Saturday in Pinellas.

Better traffic info needed for event

As a 50-year-plus resident of Clearwater, I feel the Ironman event is very beneficial to our community, in revenue brought in as well as the national exposure it gives our city.

However, I also feel information about projected traffic delays should have been much more detailed and comprehensive.

The event Web site and information in the newspaper were conflicting, and different articles in the St. Petersburg Times gave conflicting and incomplete information.

Next year, please publish more detailed directions for getting around. I had to travel from Clearwater to Oldsmar, a trip that normally takes me 20 minutes, and it took almost an hour even though I had carefully studied the Web site and the newspaper. Intersections were closed that were never mentioned in the media. I had to travel in circles and backtrack several times. Thankfully, I had friends making the same trip and they communicated alternate routes to me via cell phone.

So let's continue to have this event, just with more accurate and advance information available to our residents so we can get from point A to point B.

Leane Webb, Clearwater

Re: Ironman World Championship 70.3

Let residents vote on disruptive race

The overwhelming opinion among anyone I have met in Pinellas County is that the Ironman triathlon is a disruptive event that does more harm than good for our economy in Pinellas County. Why do our government officials continue to support such a poorly organized event that has such a far-reaching effect on our area? Shouldn't an event such as this be put to a vote of the residents?

David Papke, Palm Harbor

Move race where it won't be a bother

The race causes disruption in traffic, waste of fuel for people having to resort to awkward detours, and substantial loss of business to those who are on that route. Is it worth it? Why don't they move the race to the boonies where it will cause less trouble?

Papan Devnani, Safety Harbor

Triathlon is too much of a burden 11/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 17, 2008 4:07pm]
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