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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. One Ulmerton Road widening project ends by Thanksgiving, another drags on to 2017

    Roads

    What's happening with Ulmerton Road? Judging by the number of requests for updates we've received from construction-fatigued motorists, lots of folks want to know. After all, about 250,000 vehicles traverse that major thoroughfare at its peak on weekdays.

    If it seems like the work has been ongoing for years, you're correct: it has been nearly four years and counting. The state Department of Transportation has three distinct projects, totaling a combined $64.1 million, under way along the Ulmerton Road corridor: Ulmerton from Seminole Bypass Canal to El Ranchero; Ulmerton from 49th Street to 38th Street; and Ulmerton from 38th Street to Interstate 275. The oldest project began back in 2012....

    The Florida Department of Transportation has three projects totaling $64.1 million under way along the Ulmerton Road corridor. This is Ulmerton just west of Belcher Road earlier this week.
  2. Work on Ridge Road ran into unforeseen problems

    Roads

    Can you please tell me why the road work on Ridge Road between Valencia and 15th Avenue SW in Largo is taking so long? I live on a cul-de-sac that has been bombarded with traffic since the closure first occurred. There are no detour signs back in this neighborhood telling people how to get back onto Ulmerton Road, thus they end up on our dead end road, constantly! I realize all the rain we had delayed it for a time, but it has been weeks and no progress....

  3. Timing of lights on U.S. 19 should be getting better

    News

    The improvements made to U.S. 19 in central Pinellas County are great. The problem is now from State Road 580 north, in particular, the timing of lights at Innisbrook and U.S. 19 and Spruce Street and U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs are not in sync with the lights at Alderman Road. This is a new development for the light at Innisbrook and an ongoing issue for the light at Spruce Street. Innisbrook was in perfect sync with Alderman forever, but now approximately 150 cars that just passed through Alderman have to stop so six or eight cars can pass through this intersection in the east/west direction. Exact same situation at Spruce Street, except this light has never been timed coherently with Tarpon Avenue since installation. With a Lowe's store going in at this location soon, this is only going to get much worse. I suggest that with no further improvements to U.S. 19 in this area on the horizon, focus should be on light timing and new traffic control technology on U.S. 19 north from State Road 580 to the county line....

  4. New software causing headaches at key Seminole intersection

    News

    I would like to ask if you can find out who changed the traffic light pattern at Park and Seminole Boulevards. During rush hour, Park Boulevard backs up westbound through the light at Home Depot, causing major issues. Cars are running the red light to enter and leave Home Depot due to the backups. It now takes an additional 10 to 12 minutes to clear this intersection and anyone who lives in Seminole usually has to travel this area on a daily basis....

  5. Bridge over Riviera Bay being studied

    Roads

    Is it true that the San Martin Boulevard Bridge will be replaced soon?

    An environmental study on the effect of replacing the San Martin Bridge over Riviera Bay kicked off this month. Pinellas County is leading the project, which includes gathering community input in the current preliminary phase. The area being studied is from Tallahassee Drive to Weedon/Ridgeway Drive. An additional project will evaluate possible improvements to the trail from Macoma Drive to Gandy Boulevard. For more information and to view documents related to the study, go to pinellascounty.org/sanmartin bridge....

  6. Clearwater launches pay-by-phone parking program

    News

    I heard that we can pay for parking with cellphones on Clearwater Beach now. Is that accurate?

    Yes, Clearwater launched a pay-by-phone program this month called Parkmobile that allows for payment for parking throughout the beaches and downtown via smartphones or other Internet-enabled devices. The service is not a replacement for traditional payment methods; it provides an alternative to using cash at parking meters. One of the cooler features is that users receive an alert on their phones 15 minutes in advance of the expiration of their meter time. The app is free, but there is a 35-cent fee per transaction for non-Clearwater residents. Users can sign up for the program by downloading the Parkmobile app for iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Amazon Fire devices at us.parkmobile.com. A video with more information is available online at bit.ly/1JdMUm8....

  7. Pinellas County to study conditions on 86th Avenue

    Roads

    I am concerned about a road in Seminole that is traveled on quite frequently, especially by parents and students attending four area schools on the same road: 86th Avenue between Ridge Road and 125th Street is extremely rough and is causing a lot of wear and tear on cars. The county has done nothing but patch up the road every time a pothole is formed. Does the county have any plans in the future to repave this road?...

    Use of 86th Avenue between Ridge Road and 125th Street in Seminole has grown, and equestrians also ride adjacent to it.
  8. Know how to get out if hurricane comes

    News

    One element of hurricane preparation that shouldn't be left until the last minute is evacuation route planning. For those who live or work in beach communities in particular, it's important to plot a drive plan well ahead of time and share the information with family, friends and co-workers.

    Pinellas County Emergency Management has published the latest hurricane evacuation route map for all of Pinellas County to its website. View the map, which can be downloaded and printed, at bit.ly/1CE7V7g....

  9. DOT: No signal needed at Pinellas Bayway intersection

    Roads

    I'm a resident of Isla Del Sol. As you know, the construction of the Pinellas Bayway Bridge between Isla Del Sol and St. Pete Beach was recently completed. Since the bridge is now four lanes of 45 mph traffic, it poses a danger to those of us who must exit Sun Boulevard and Bahia Del Mar Boulevard. Turning lanes on either side of the Pinellas Bayway for the purpose of entering either boulevard add to the confusion....

  10. South Pasadena will have new traffic lights by fall

    News

    When will the work on the new traffic lights in South Pasadena be finished? In time for snowbird season?

    G. Schwartz

    This is a state Department of Transportation project, which will replace traffic signals along Pasadena Avenue S at the intersections of Majestic Way, Gulfport Boulevard, and Park Street. The replacement work began in April of this year and is expected to be wrapped up sometime this fall. In the meantime, motorists should expect nightly lane closures between 7:30 p.m. and 7 a.m....

    Traffic lights are being replaced on Pasadena Avenue S at Majestic Way, Gulfport Boulevard and Park Street. Expect nightly lane closures between 7:30 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  11. Summer school means drivers should be watchful

    Roads

    When will summer school be starting up this year? I know last year we noticed school zones active during the summer months all over the county. Does summer school run all summer long? It would be nice to have a break from the school-zone crawl during morning rush hour, even if it's for a little while.

    Frank Martin

    The Pinellas County School District's Summer Bridge programs will run Mondays through Thursdays from June 16 to July 23. Motorists should expect to see students and parents in school zones areas from approximately 7 a.m. to 2 p.m....

  12. Palm Harbor intersection requires careful navigation

    Roads

    My 16-year-old son practices driving from Palm Harbor University High School to our home on school afternoons. Recently, a right-turn arrow light was installed for those traveling east on Nebraska Avenue who wish to turn right onto U.S. 19 to go south. There is no sign saying "No Turns on Red." Almost every driver ignores the red turn arrow and turns right onto U.S. 19. In fact, some drivers actually honk the horn when my son stops and waits for the red arrow to turn green. Are we missing something or are most drivers just unaware that a red arrow means no right turn on red?...

    The red arrow for the right-turn lane on Nebraska Avenue at U.S. 19 is causing confusion at the already-challenging high-traffic intersection.
  13. Officials change timing on Park Boulevard lights

    Roads

    We do most of our west to east travel on Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park. For many weeks now we are seeing eastbound traffic piling up between Belcher and 66th Street, most noticeable at peak driving hours and weekends. It is not unusual to idle through three green light cycles to get east of 66th, when this happens. Is the timing of traffic lights causing this?

    R. Strader

    Several readers contacted the Doc about this issue, which we passed along to Pinellas County's traffic engineering folks. As a result, the section of Park Boulevard was evaluated and short-term changes to signal timing were made to provide some immediate relief to the problem. County employees then worked collaboratively with the state Department of Transportation to put phasing changes into operation to improve coordination between the intersections of Park Boulevard and Belcher Road and Park and 66th Street on a long-term basis. ...

  14. Shopping center merge at Welch Causeway causes confusion

    Roads

    On westbound Bay Pines Boulevard approaching the Welch Causeway, I had a near-accident near the Publix entrance. I was traveling in the far right lane, as I have many times before, to enter the Publix parking lot. But the old entrance was paved over and the lane was running out. Just a few feet west there is a new entrance — a road running between Publix and McDonald's. No signs warn of the change and the arrow on the road does not give enough time or room to make the turn safely. It is an accident waiting to happen!...

    On westbound Bay Pines Boulevard approaching the Welch Causeway, three lanes become two right before the entrance to the parking lot of the new Publix, causing confusion.
  15. Gulf Boulevard paving restarts after pause in Treasure Island

    Roads

    What is happening with Gulf Boulevard on Treasure Island? It seems to me that work to repave the road started a few months ago, we had heavy equipment everywhere, and Gulf Boulevard turned into a parking lot just in time for the spring breakers. Then it stopped. Now it's started up again (maybe?). What's the story now?

    D. Stevenson

    First, yes, the state Department of Transportation began work this week to mill and repave the length of Gulf Boulevard within the city of Treasure Island. Work will take place Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (no overnight or weekend work) and is expected to last through May....