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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.


  1. Coachman Road project in Clearwater to last until May


    I have been watching your column to see if you published anything about what is going on with State Road 590, NE Coachman Road, west of U.S. 19 in Clearwater. Can you find out what they are doing, when it will be finished?

    David White

    The construction project, which runs along State Road 590/NE Coachman from Drew Street to Audrey Drive, began in October and is scheduled to be completed in May. There's a lot going on with this project, to include traffic signal improvements, enhanced lighting, new sidewalks and medians, resurfacing of the road, new pavement markings and signs. The state Department of Transportation is overseeing this work and cautions that motorists should be prepared for lane shifts, lane closures and travel delays during the life of the project. Sunset Point Road is a suggested detour route to avoid the construction area....

  2. I-275 slog to last a while longer


    What's the latest on the nightmare that is the Interstate 275 rush hour commute from St. Petersburg into Tampa? Is the Department of Transportation doing anything to alleviate the Howard Frankland Bridge backups?

    We checked in with DOT spokesman John McShaffrey, who told us that the DOT's project team and engineers have been reviewing the roadway alignment and monitoring traffic since implementing the temporary lane shift of traffic Jan. 12. The recent gridlock is the result of a combination of issues to include the conversion of an auxiliary lane into a through-lane, which formerly carried traffic entering I-275 from Dale Mabry Highway and Himes Avenue and traffic exiting to Armenia Avenue....

  3. Timing of red lights always changing


    Has Pinellas County changed the timing sequence on the traffic lights? It appears I'm sitting at red traffic lights for a much longer time period, plus it appears the line of cars waiting at these lights to change are getting longer and longer. And as more northerners are coming down the line of cars is getting longer.

    The answer to this question is yes and it's part of a larger issue that some may refer to as "the new normal" in terms of traffic signal timing and our expectations as motorists. The Doc receives dozens of inquiries each week about the timing of specific traffic signals around the county. The bottom line is that it is unrealistic to expect signal timing to be set and stay that way. Traffic signal timing is not static; sequences are subject to adjustment in real time to accommodate traffic and roadway conditions and volume both upstream and downstream of traffic signals at major intersections especially. This can be frustrating when we're sitting at a long red signal and don't have an overhead view of the big picture further up or down the road. ...

  4. Dual projects complicate Ulmerton Road work


    Can you tell me why they haven't completely paved the westbound portion of Ulmerton Road? There are two sections east and west of the 34th Street intersection that are clearly one layer lower than the rest of the road.

    We've had a lot of inquiries about the status of the work along this section of Ulmerton Road, so we checked in with Kris Carson of the state Department of Transportation and asked her to provide us with an update. The bottom line is that it's going to be well into 2017 before the paving is completed. Here are the details:...

  5. State law on crosswalks is clear


    Could you explain the laws regarding pedestrian crosswalks in downtown St. Pete? There are different kinds of crosswalks. The ones where you activate the flashing lights for cars to stop are pretty clear, the others not so much. For instance, what if there is a crosswalk but no walking pedestrian sign? What about a walking pedestrian sign but no flashing lights? We have all three types downtown....

  6. Starkey Road project to last a year


    What is the latest with the work on Starkey Road? It looks like something new is starting up.

    What you are seeing is the start of drainage and utility improvement work on Starkey Road/ Park Street N from Starkey at 84th Lane N to just north of 82nd Avenue N. The project is under the jurisdiction of Pinellas County and is scheduled to last for about a year — the completion date is currently January 2017. So, for the New Year, we can resolve to be prepared for daily and nightly lane closures and delays in the area. Alternative routes to consider include 113th Street N, Seminole Boulevard and Belcher Road....

  7. Combination of factors clog East Lake Road


    Maybe you could investigate what's going on along East Lake Road going north starting at Sandy Point Road? The backup of traffic is awful at any time of the day, including the weekend. It's bad enough between 3:30 and 7 p.m. with every day's rush hour. This other horrible mess has been going on for months.

    Bob Salvior

    Many readers have complained about the delays and traffic snarls along East Lake Road due to two projects underway. First, there's Duke Energy's work to replace the power poles and restring overhead power lines in the East Lake area. We checked in with representatives of Pinellas County's traffic engineering office to get some insight into what's happening with the project....

  8. Downtown Clearwater paving project will take a while


    I heard that State Road 60 is going to be closed for some major project. What's the story with that?

    The $4.1 million project to repave a section of State Road 60 began last month and work is expected to continue until sometime next spring. The work is isolated to a stretch of Court Street/Chestnut Street in Clearwater between the Memorial Bridge and Missouri Avenue. The state Department of Transportation says due to damage from leaking pipes underground, some sections of the roadway will need to be rebuilt as will some portions of damaged sidewalk. The project will require around-the-clock lane closures in some areas with paving work scheduled to begin in January. Motorists can expect lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. Stay tuned as work progresses....

  9. Reader asks for the lowdown on Pinellas motorcycle fatalities


    As I read the newspaper, I notice how many motorcycle deaths there are in the area. It seems to me there is at least one or more every week. If this is correct, then there would be 52 or more deaths per year. Do you have any statistics on this?

    Carl Hardy

    Pinellas County's Metropolitan Planning Organization reported 619 total motorcycle crashes in 2013 (the most recent data available) and 16 fatalities. This number is down from the two previous years: there were 20 motorcycle fatalities in Pinellas County in 2012; 28 in 2011. According to the MPO, Pinellas accounted for about 6 percent of Florida's total number of motorcycle crashes in 2013. The Miami-Dade area led the state in motorcycle fatalities in 2013 (45 fatalities), followed by Hillsborough County (42); Broward County (36); Volusia County (29); Orange County (26); Duval County (25); and Brevard County (21)....

  10. Uneven pavement on Gulf Boulevard should smooth out when project's done


    I read your recent article regarding the construction on Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach. As a resident of SPB who travels the length of Gulf Boulevard daily, I was happy to hear about the transition to night-time road construction/paving. But I wonder if anyone else has commented on the terrible paving job. There is about a 2-inch height difference between the lanes and the median, which is very awkward when crossing over. Also, the thickness of the tar on the lanes seems to be lower, because now the manhole covers in both lanes stick up a lot higher than before near the Don CeSar until 45th Avenue or so. It makes the tires thud heavily and feels like wear and tear on them, and I notice many cars swerving around them....

  11. Work below ground delays Curlew Road project


    What are they doing on Curlew Road at Countryside Boulevard? Nothing seems to be getting done.

    Karen Fulton

    What you're seeing is a $1.4 million Florida Department of Transportation project to improve Curlew Road (State Road 586). The DOT has contracted with Hubbard Construction to rebuild the curb lanes along Curlew Road between Countrybrook Drive and Landmark Drive in Palm Harbor, which also affects Countryside Boulevard....

  12. Cost a factor in lack of Ulmerton Road turn lanes


    Even though I try to avoid Ulmerton Road, I do have to drive west from Starkey Road to Lake Avenue SE, which is where I turn to go home. I've noticed the nice new sidewalk in place of a much-needed turn lane that was there before the construction started more than four years ago. Is there ever going to be a turn lane again if and when they finish this disgustingly slow project? Who do I write to in regards to this dumb decision for a sidewalk instead of a right turn lane? Trust me, there is not enough pedestrian traffic there to warrant the sidewalk but there is plenty of traffic turning onto Lake Avenue. Judy Jensen...

  13. No changes planned for Seville Boulevard access in Clearwater


    I can get to my home in the Seville Condos, on Seville Boulevard behind the Clearwater Mall, from U.S. 19 going north or south but, from Gulf-to-Bay (State Road 60), I have to drive through the mall parking lot. Is there any plan for residents of the apartments back here to be able to get home more easily? I thought there would be a left-turn lane from the access road that goes past Sam's Club, but that doesn't look possible....

  14. Gulf Boulevard paving project in St. Pete Beach has been delayed


    Can you advise how long the current repaving of Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach will continue? I also heard a rumor that there is more involved construction to be performed at this location.

    Harold Butler

    There's plenty of asphalt and barricade fatigue to go around on St. Pete Beach, judging by the volume of emails and phone calls coming in to the Doc on this one....

  15. New road marking means share road with cyclists


    What is the new symbol on 62nd Avenue N between 66th and 49th Streets? Was 62nd Avenue converted to a bike trail and they didn't tell us?

    Monti Rik

    The new pavement marking you refer to (a bicycle with two arrows above it) is a lane-sharing symbol known as a "sharrow." When a sharrow is present it means that a cyclist may legally use the full lane.

    This is a safety improvement element that is endorsed by Pinellas County's Metropolitan Planning Organization. The MPO's long-range transportation plan addresses specific safety concerns countywide, and part of this encourages the installation of bicycle lanes on major roads via resurfacing, reconstruction or restriping projects. When these options aren't feasible, sharrows are an alternative to provide continuity of travel for cyclists and safer access to destinations countywide....

    This lane-sharing symbol will be showing up on signs and roads where bike lanes aren’t possible. It’s a reminder that bicycles are entitled to use the full lane.