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Lorrie Lykins, Times Correspondent

Lorrie Lykins writes Dr. Delay, a column about traffic and commuting in the bay area. Send her tips, story ideas and questions at the email address below.

E-mail: docdelay@gmail.com

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  1. Start of school year means more vigilance for drivers

    Transportation

    On a recent Sunday afternoon, I was biking along the trail on 62nd Avenue NE and as I approached the crosswalk at 16th Street I saw a truck approaching. As I got closer to the crosswalk, the truck stopped at the STOP sign. As I started to cross the intersection while ringing my bike bell, the truck began to turn right onto 62nd Avenue NE and clipped my rear tire. He asked if I was okay, then turned onto 62nd Avenue. ...

    In the vast majority of cases, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. No compatibility in sight for E-ZPass and Florida toll system

    Roads

    When is the Florida DOT going to accept E-ZPass on its toll roads? Orlando's Central Expressway accepts it.

    Catherine Needham

    Electronic tolling in Florida is not easy to figure out. Orlando's Central Expressway accepts E-Pass, which can be used on all toll roads and most tolled bridges in Florida as well as in North Carolina and Georgia. E-ZPass is accepted in 17 states mostly in the northeast, but is not usable on Florida toll roads. ...

    Lorrie Lykins
  3. Dr. Delay: St. Petersburg's traffic light synchronization hinges on 34th Street

    Roads

    A few times a week I drive my wife to work at the Dali Museum. Our preferred route is to take First Avenue S all the way and on most days, we can time it to get all green lights. In the past six weeks or so, the signals at 22nd Street and 20th Street have been retimed and stop us dead in our tracks. Can you explain the change?

    Robert and Kathie Hurt

    We asked Tim Funderburk, St. Petersburg's traffic signal coordinator, to fill us in on the recent retiming of signals on First Avenue N, First Avenue S, and Central Avenue....

    Lorrie Lykins
  4. Caution is the answer where Pinellas Trail crosses 58th Street in Gulfport

    Roads

    I travel 58th Street to and from Gulfport several times a week. I once almost hit a biking youngster who zipped across the Pinellas Trail without using the alert lights or even looking. The trail is only a block north of Boca Ciega High School and is a "school zone" twice a day.

    From the north, vision is blocked by a homeowner's 6-foot wood fence on the west and a tarp fence around the cemetery to the east. From the south, vision is blocked by foliage to the east and a residence to the west. Drivers can't see trail users and trail users can't see drivers until they're right at the junction. ...

    Lorrie Lykins
  5. New Pinellas Trail signal in Clearwater is confusing for driver

    Roads

    My daily driving life has me crossing the Pinellas Trail at Lakeview Avenue in Clearwater multiple times every day. My first encounter with the new traffic control devices left me bewildered. One day I'm faced with a new traffic signal, the likes of which I've never seen before, with no posted explanation of how a motorist is supposed to respond to it. Apparently, these belong in the "let them figure it out" school of driver education. Some ignore it, some slow down, and some stop and wave the cyclists to proceed across busy Lakeview Avenue, although they control only one of the four lanes of traffic! Worst idea I've ever seen. ...

    Lorrie Lykins
  6. Final sign positions should cut danger where trail crosses interstate ramp

    Roads

    I am concerned with the yield signs I saw recently installed for the new bike and pedestrian trail along either side of Roosevelt Boulevard between Carillon Parkway/28th Street and Interstate 275. These yield signs seem to be pointing to the drivers, one side as they exit the interstate northbound, the other as they enter I-275 southbound.

    Could you please contact the correct authority and beg for some rational action here? At the very least, those yield signs should be pointed to the trail users, not the drivers. And honestly, they should be STOP signs for the trail folks as it will be extremely dangerous to cross those exit and entrance ramps....

  7. Dr. Delay: Updates on road construction in Madeira Beach, Pass-A-Grille and Largo

    Roads

    Do you know when the road construction in Madeira Beach will be done? They started tearing up 133rd Avenue last summer, and we're wondering when it will finally all be done.

    James Davies

    Construction work to improve the roadway east of Gulf Boulevard between Boca Ciega Drive and Boca Ciega Avenue began last August and is scheduled to be completed sometime next month. The purpose of the yearlong, $4 million project is to replace failing roads and aging drainage infrastructure that resulted in flooding of neighborhood streets following heavy rains and the discharge of pollutants into Boca Ciega Bay. Other features of the project include installation of new pipes, gutters, curbing and asphalt paving. ...

  8. Florida's toll systems can be confusing to navigate

    Roads

    After a recent road trip to Apopka, during which I traveled on State Road 429 from Interstate 4, I received a bill from the Florida Department of Transportation's toll enforcement for $5 and a bill from the Central Florida Expressway Authority for $6.80. After phone conversations with both organizations, I was told I must pay both bills. Is this correct? Would I save money by paying cash at toll booths? ...

    Florida’s toll roads involve a confusing array of agencies and methods of collection.
  9. Intersection near northeast St. Petersburg Publix gets more signs

    Roads

    The intersection between Kahwa Coffee and Publix in the Northeast Park Shopping Center in St. Petersburg can be very confusing for drivers heading east on 39th Avenue N. The problem is predicting which way the traffic coming out of Publix is going. If you are traveling east on 39th, the lanes don't match up perfectly because it is an awkward intersection and there is no signage telling you which oncoming lane goes left, straight or right. I've seen several near misses when a vehicle leaving Publix went straight and the driver of the car going the opposite direction had expected it to turn. I think lines painted on the intersection or overhead signs would help....

    The city is adding extra signs to cut down on confusion at this intersection at 39th Avenue North between a Publix and Kahwa.
  10. Flower boxes on Fort Harrison in Clearwater to go, traffic pattern to stay

    Roads

    I travel Fort Harrison Avenue in Clearwater often and I've noticed that the travel lanes have been rerouted to allow for what looks like flower boxes that have been painted by children. There are also a few spaces that push the travel lane to the center that have no boxes. Is this a permanent travel lane now? It seems to be an odd place to accommodate what amounts to window boxes without the windows, and it can surprise you at night. ...

  11. Answer to golf cart question not as simple as it seems

    Roads

    I've been noticing a number of golf carts roaming the streets, mingling with automobile traffic in Shore Acres and Snell Isle lately. What I have not noticed are any government-issued license tags on these vehicles. Is the use of golf carts and their like governed by any agency? Are they allowed to roam unfettered and unregulated on streets and sidewalks?

    Operating golf carts on public roads, streets, or sidewalks is prohibited in Florida, but there are exceptions: golf carts can use county or municipal roads that have been designated for cart use by the governmental entity that has authority. Factors such as the volume and speed of traffic that ordinarily uses the road are considered in making this designation. If the designation is made, the county or municipality in charge is accountable for posting signs that say that golf cart used is allowed....

    Golf carts and cars share the road in Sun City Center, where signs are posted in accordance with state law.
  12. Repaving of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard has weeks to go

    Roads

    What in the world is going on with the regrading and resurfacing of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater between Highland Avenue and Damascus? For weeks, the main drag has been left with sharp, deep ruts that make driving through intersections very worrisome. This is especially bad at the intersection of Keene Road and Gulf-to-Bay, where drivers have to creep through to avoid blowing out tires. We have seen zero work in weeks to finish this project. When will action take place?...

  13. St. Petersburg intersection doesn't meet standard for traffic light

    Roads

    For eight years, I have taken my coffee most mornings at Kahwa on the corner of Fifth Avenue N at Second Street (now called University Way). I have observed many near-accidents. I have spoken with Mike Frederick at City Hall on several occasions over the years, and he has implemented some improvements (there are now flashing crosswalks on the east and west sides of Second Street).

    The trouble is that there are more dwellings being built every day, more people, more events, and more traffic than ever before in the history of our fair town. Even just the normal everyday traffic of people using the University Way north corridor to turn west onto Fifth Avenue and traveling from the east heading toward Fourth Street and the interstate ramp make it nearly impossible to navigate. This is multiplied 10 times when we have an event downtown, which is nearly every weekend. If there ever was an intersection that needed a full-fledged traffic light in our county, this is it....

  14. New Sunpass lanes open on Sunshine Skyway

    Roads

    We recently traveled south over the Sunshine Skyway bridge at evening rush hour after miles of traffic getting to the bridge from the 118th Avenue entrance on I-275.

    There were two SunPass lanes open on the southbound side (the two extreme left lanes). We took the one on the right side that was perhaps newly opened as there were two toll-takers there watching things and it appeared to accept our SunPass — saying "Go Sun Pass."...

    New Sunpass lanes are open on the Sunshine Skyway.
  15. Art project to thank for designer traffic signal boxes

    Roads

    I have noticed a couple of traffic signal boxes that have been painted eclectic designs and wondered what was going on. One is at the Ruth Eckerd Hall entrance/exit onto McMullen Booth Road, and the other is just north of there at State Road 590. This may not be your area, but I didn't know who else to contact.

    Joan Bates

    The eye-catching traffic signals you refer to are among over a dozen that are receiving floral, tropical, and other themed artistic wraps. This is a project funded by Clearwater in collaboration with the Clearwater Arts Alliance. While the City Council has authorized funding for some of the locations, others have been funded through grants, says Paul Bertels, Clearwater's traffic operations manager, who is responsible for reviewing and approving the list of signals slated to be given special treatment created by local artists such as Tim Boatright, Ray Paul, Ya La'ford, Liz Smith and Don Gillespie....