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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. Traffic signal timing to be adjusted

    Roads

    Why are the traffic light sequences and timing so erratic on Belcher Road? I (recently) was driving west on Tampa Road approaching Belcher. The light was red and cars were backed up about a quarter mile. After two more minutes the light changed to green. A total of three cars went through the intersection before the light changed back to red; another three minutes passed with cars continuing to stack up before the sequence changed. This is not an isolated instance. I see this happen frequently at this intersection as well as the intersections of Belcher with Curlew Road, Alderman Road, and Klosterman Road. Those patterns are causing confusion and frustration among drivers and may well cause a future accident....

  2. Timing of Gulf Boulevard paving brings unavoidable frustrations

    News

    Doc, why in the world would the DOT repave Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island during the busiest snowbird and spring break month of the year? It is absolutely frustrating the heck out of visitors and locals alike. As a local business owner, I am really hearing it from everyone.

    Jim Everett

    You are not alone in your frustration or your incredulity about the timing of the resurfacing of Gulf Boulevard. Plenty of readers have asked the same question in the past two weeks, which we shared with Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. Carson said that while the DOT strives to minimize the impact construction activities have on the public, sometimes it's unavoidable. In trying to balance the needs of the traveling public and residents with scheduling necessary work that requires specific weather conditions, it's impossible to not to inconvenience everyone....

  3. Colorful oleanders on I-275 were diseased

    Roads

    Though this isn't necessarily a traffic issue, it is at least a roadway question, for which I hope you can find an answer. For miles along Interstate 275, there were large, beautiful, healthy oleander shrubs that were a lovely sight. For the past few weeks, work crews have been digging them up. What is the purpose of destroying these beautiful blooms and foliage that brightened up this corridor? Thanks for your help in finding an answer....

  4. Work below ground affects duration of Ulmerton Road project

    News

    I wonder how many more years it will take to finish Ulmerton Road? The traffic cones from Seminole Boulevard to the Bayside Bridge have been on Ulmerton Road for so long, I think that's where they are stored. If we had snow and a short season to get it done, I could understand it, but this is Florida!

    Ann Waite

    The widening of Ulmerton Road in the Seminole area (there are two sections) is scheduled to wrap up sometime in late summer this year. The widening of Ulmerton from 38th Street to I-275 will be ongoing until spring of 2016, according to the latest update from the state Department of Transportation....

  5. New signals designed to improve safety on 38th Avenue N

    News

    What's the story with the traffic signals that are pointed skyward on First Street and 38th Avenue N where it turns into 40th Avenue N? Is there some unseen sky traffic above us in need of direction?

    Daniel Libby

    Two new mast arm traffic signals on 38th Avenue N were to be activated this week after the resurfacing of 38th Avenue N from Fourth Street to First Street. The project, which also added pavement markings, is part of a state Department of Transportation plan to improve safety on what is an increasingly busy thoroughfare....

  6. Confusing signals likely a result of traffic monitoring

    News

    Could you explain to me why the county keeps changing traffic patterns? For example, County Road 1 and Main Street in Dunedin — for westbound traffic when the light is green, the left-turn arrow is green; when the green arrow turns red, the eastbound traffic gets a green light. When westbound traffic gets a red light, the eastbound traffic gets a green arrow. Sometimes both the eastbound and westbound traffic get the green arrow at the same time. This pattern changes in the same day. This happens all over the county. My wife says they do this just to get me riled up....

  7. Officers managing traffic at events may be on duty or off

    News

    For all the years I've lived in Pinellas County I've noticed Florida Highway Patrol or sheriff's officers out on the roads conducting traffic management to facilitate those getting in and out of church, always Christian churches. Maybe I've just not been in the right place at the right time to observe it, but I've never seen them outside synagogues and mosques. Do these agencies provide the same taxpayer-funded service to those houses of worship as well?...

  8. Handicap hanging permit rules a bit fuzzy

    News

    I just received my disabled parking permit. It states on both sides of the pass: "Remove before driving vehicle." I notice almost all who use the pass leave them on the rear view mirror all the time. I am curious why no enforcement is done because having the pass in the window is a hindrance.

    Ed Sias

    There is no doubt that driving with a disabled parking placard flapping from one's rear view mirror may be a distraction or even visual obstruction, but it does not appear that motorists doing so are committing a moving violation for which one may be issued a ticket....

  9. Work at Ulmerton and Roosevelt lengthy, but on schedule

    Public Safety

    I have not seen much progress on the improvement at Ulmerton Road and Roosevelt Boulevard. The construction has made a nightmare of all cross traffic and turning traffic and is not getting better. The traffic lights on 34th Street at Ulmerton are extremely long during morning hours and the eastbound turns from Ulmerton to north 34th Street are so short during the day that three to four green-light cycles are not uncommon. The original schedule for completion was spring 2016. Can you let us know what the plans are currently and will there be any improvement soon?...

  10. Pedestrians and interstate entrance make for dangerous mix

    Roads

    I'm concerned that a pedestrian will be killed walking on the sidewalk on the west side of Fourth Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues S in St. Petersburg. To be specific, the sidewalk crosses the vehicle entrance to Interstate 175 just north of Fifth Avenue; pedestrians walking along the west side of Fourth Street must proceed across the rather wide vehicle entrance to I-175.

    I walk this route frequently, crossing the marked pedestrian walkway across the freeway entrance, which is marked by a lone road sign. In my experience, many southbound vehicles approach the freeway entrance at high rates of speed, accelerating toward the entrance. Almost all ignore any pedestrians who may be in the walkway. Northbound scofflaws routinely make illegal U-turns to access the interstate entrance (which is supposed to be only for southbound vehicles), endangering southbound pedestrians who have already started to cross the entrance, and have no way of seeing this danger....

  11. Courtney Campbell trail still has months to go

    News

    Hey, Doc, those of us who really miss the defunct Pinellas/Hillsborough Friendship Trail are looking forward to using the Courtney Campbell pedestrian trail. What's the latest? Is it going to open anytime soon?

    Roger G.

    Work to create the 9-mile Courtney Campbell Trail, which connects Clearwater and Tampa and runs parallel to the southern side of the Courtney Campbell Scenic Highway (State Road 60), has been done in two phases, beginning with the 5.5-mile stretch on the Hillsborough County side completed in the fall of 2013....

  12. Pinellas Bayway barrier in place far too long

    News

    Dr. Delay, please look into why the state DOT refuses to remove the construction barrels on the northbound side of Pinellas Bayway South in Tierra Verde. The seawall rebuilding project on the east side of the street has been abandoned by the contractor and as of yet we have heard nothing from DOT about a replacement contractor. In fact, last week DOT removed all of the construction materials stockpiled for the job and yet the barrels remain, over 60 of them turning a perfectly good two-lane highway into a narrow one-lane gauntlet....

  13. New traffic lights mean a learning curve for drivers

    Roads

    I have noticed new flashing left-turn signals at some intersections in north Pinellas County that don't seem to run through the usual cycle. They light up at odd times and I'm wondering what the story is with these. Can you fill us in? I'm sure I'm not the only one who is scratching his head.

    Jim Matthews

    The intersection of Keene Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater has one of the new signals in operation now. As you note, the cycle pattern of the new traffic signals, which feature four lights, is a departure from what we are accustomed to, in particular, the green left-turn arrow may occur earlier, later, or even twice in a signal cycle, based on traffic conditions and volume....

  14. Construction and holiday events will complicate traffic in Pinellas

    Roads

    Just in time for the holidays:

    • The final phase of the Bryan Dairy Road/Starkey Road intersection improvement project is in motion — nighttime milling and resurfacing means lane closures, detours and significant delays from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Resurfacing is scheduled to be wrapped up Dec. 19 and the completion date on the project, which began in April 2013, is set for Dec. 30.

    • The scheduled resurfacing of 38th Avenue N from the southbound Interstate 275 on-ramp to Haines Road began this week and is scheduled to last until Dec. 24. Motorists should expect daytime lane closures and delays....

  15. Pinellas Trail detour vexing to reader

    Roads

    With only a few days' notice, the Pinellas Trail has been closed for repairs between Belleair Road and S Fort Harrison in Clearwater. No detour has been designated. The only real option for cyclists is via Belleair and Clearwater-Largo Road, about a 1-mile detour. Clearwater-Largo lacks a good shoulder for much of this stretch; inexperienced riders would do well to avoid this route altogether. For those of us with the need and the skills to negotiate this busy road, could the county perhaps help with temporary signage to notify both cyclists and cars that road-sharing is necessary? Additional signage on the trail itself might also warn riders of the closure before they actually get there and discover they have to choose between turning around and rerouting on busy streets....

    The Pinellas Trail from Woodlawn Street/Woodlawn Avenue south to Ponce de Leon Boulevard is closed for repairs.