1. Archive

Not synchronizing traffic lights could signal pay off for county

Re: Synchronizing traffic lights isn't all that hard, letter, Oct. 28.

I agree. Back in 1990 when I moved to Pinellas County, there was an article in the Times that stated the city of Clearwater would install synchronized traffic signals within the next two years. What happened?

The letter writer mentioned he knows "the people down here don't want to hear how we did it up north." Well, it has been done in the South _ Dade County, to be exact. I was there consulting 25 years ago. The facility I worked at was in the mideast section of downtown Miami. There were approximately 60 traffic signals between the two locations and about 23 miles in distance. It would take me 25 minutes to get to work at the speed limit of 55 mph. This was due to the synchronized traffic signals along Highway U.S. 1.

I have concluded that the traffic signals in Pinellas County are synchronized to stop traffic, not to move it along. This way, drivers who need to get from one location to another in a quick manner may run through a caution light, not come to a complete stop or wind up in a traffic accident. All these incidents are very beneficial to the city and county; they issue traffic citations, courts receive money and auto insurance costs increase. Who loses? You, the taxpayer.

Don't look for this county to ever synchronize traffic signals. It would cost them too much financially in what they make up in issuing citations and in court.

Joe Torregiante, Palm Harbor

Traveling on U.S. 19 is unsafe, inefficient

Is U.S. 19 a 30-mile long strip mall, a people mover or a slaughterhouse?

As a slaughterhouse, U.S. 19 in Pinellas County is quite possibly the best in the state! Last year it managed to kill 13 people, helped cause 1,758 accidents, injured untold thousands of people and probably accounted for tens of millions of dollars of damage, hospital bills, insurance and death benefits.

Way to go, metropolitan planning commission and county commissioners! Isn't it your responsibility to provide for the health, welfare and safety of your constituents?

An efficient people mover U.S. 19 is most certainly not! What should be a comfortable and safe 15-minute drive form Ulmerton Road to the north county line is more likely to be a 45-minute battle of bumper cars and stoplights. Nice going, Department of Transportation! You've chosen to piddle your tax money away on feeder roads and approaches that do little but exacerbate the problem.

Now what about that 30-mile strip mall on U.S. 19? Your good planning and greed for a greater tax base are encouraging new developments like Winn-Dixie and Walgreens superstores right across from Publix at the corner of Nebraska and U.S. 19. And new stores and businesses are blossoming out every couple of weeks on U.S. 19. More congestion, more deathtraps. If you ever rectify these problems, your taxpayers will have to pay astronomical damages for destroying these same businesses and for costly land acquisitions. Or didn't you learn anything from the Kmart shopping center on the corner of U.S. 19 and Main?

What to do? Use some common sense! Fix U.S. 19 first, before squandering your tax money on nice but unnecessary projects. Where is it written in stone that the county can't build an overpasses over U.S. 19 or share costs with the state, which claims to be tapped out on road funds? You're bloated with more money than you know what to do with, thanks to your favorite cash cow, Penny for Pinellas. Think what that billion dollars could mean to fixing U.S. 19.

If the answer is more overpasses, build them. If it takes elevated highways, build them. If it takes reducing traffic by enforcing no-insurance and canceled driver's license laws, do it. All it takes is money _ which you have _ and the will and good sense on where to use it.

David Grimm, Palm Harbor

VIP seats at jazz fest seem unimportant

Re: Clearwater Jazz Festival _ VIP status.

I have a few questions:

Why is it necessary to have an area all the way to the stage for the VIPs to use?

Why is it necessary to have reserved seating for the VIPs? As a Times photo showed, that area was nearly empty.

Why is it necessary to have the parking lot by Harborside reserved for VIPs?

Not very democratic. Makes the rest of the people feel like chopped liver.

Harriet Phillips, Clearwater

Increase in arrests is good forum topic

Re: Curfew proposal brings spirited debate, article, Oct. 29.

A symposium or open forum to uncover the cause and nature of increased arrests reported by the Largo Police Department is a worthwhile undertaking for the city. The only thing asinine is Commissioner Jim Miles' unwillingness to accept any suggestion that is contrary to his own thinking.

Tunnel thinking, as practiced too often by the commissioner, is passe and at odds with the visionary thinking the city is attempting to portray.

Ralph R. Treveria, Largo

Concertgoers should be considerate

Let's be fair at activities held at Coachman Park. Early birds are staking out choice spots at concerts with tarpaulins and then not showing up until much later, if at all, when it rains. The space sits idle until they show.

This practice is not fair to those of us who must settle for poorer locations even though we're in attendance early. It should be outlawed.

Catherine Gross, Clearwater