Well, the hot topic of this month is road signs. We mentioned a couple of strange ones over the past several weeks, and suddenly it seems that everybody has examples that seem incomprehensible.
Sherman Bywater, of Feather Sound, a regular contributor of strange things along area roads, wondered about an interstate sign that directs motorists to the V.A. Medical Center on Bay Pines Boulevard.
The sign in question directs drivers on southbound Interstate 275 to take the 22nd Avenue N exit. Wouldn't it be a more direct route to take the 38th Avenue N exit? Well, let's look at a map.
Yep. Looks to us as if Sherman is exactly right. There is no question that 38th Avenue is more direct and shorter. It also has the advantage of allowing people to avoid the congestion at one of the city's worst three-way intersections, Tyrone Boulevard, 22nd Avenue N and 66th Street near the Tyrone Square Mall.
So we hit the phones and asked the state roadies for an explanation.
There actually is one.
The Federal Highway Administration, it seems, limits supplemental informational signs at interstate exits to two. The rationale seems to be that if there are too many signs, drivers risk taking their eyes off the road for too long in order to absorb all the information.
Since the 38th Avenue exit already has two signs, directing drivers to Madeira Beach and Redington Beach, there wasn't any room for the VA sign.
"The choice was to put the VA directions at 22nd Avenue or no sign it at all," said Kris Carson, information maven for the roadies.
So now you know.
And Jessie would like to add that even though there is no VA signage at 38th Avenue N, you are perfectly within your rights to take that route, anyway.
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Glorious news for downtown drivers who are sick and tired of dealing with the temporary traffic lights that stood for months and months at the intersection of First Avenue S and Bayshore Boulevard.
They controlled traffic in the area while some major work was done on the Demens Landing bridge, but those who had to deal with what seemed interminable waits were generally not amused.
Well, the work is done.
The lights are gone.
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Funny sign of the week:
Drive north on 34th Street S. As you approach First Avenue S, you will see a sign pointing east to "The University of South Bayboro. Bayboro Campus."
Uh, no. We don't think so.
It seems to us it is properly called The University of South Florida, Bayboro Campus.
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And while we're in that neighborhood, how come nobody is complaining about the big brown mast arms that now support the traffic and directional signals all up and down the newly paved stretch of 34th Street?
The monopod of Pinellas Park, at Park Boulevard and 66th Street, got more ink last year than the Tampa Bay Bucs, for goodness sake. People couldn't stand the ugly brown color. They whined and moaned until the structure was repainted a not-unattractive blue.
Well, the mast arms along 34th Street are the same ugly brown. And there are four of them at each intersection. Everywhere else, mast arms are something that resembles stainless steel, and that looks fine.
We are outraged, we say. Outraged!
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A modest complaint.
Okay, another modest complaint.
Coming off I-175 onto Sixth Street S in St. Petersburg, there is a yield sign. But the way the sign is set into the ground, it isn't at all clear whether it is supposed to control Sixth Street traffic or I-175 traffic.
The result is that it controls nothing at all. Nobody yields to anybody.
On the other hand, that's pretty much the way traffic is everywhere.
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Before the Civil War, when Jessie and I first began writing this column, one of our very first Eyeball Jigglers of the Week was the intersection of Central Avenue and 66th Street, where the road crown on Central was so dramatic that drivers had to slow down to about 10 mph to avoid bottoming out when crossing on 66th Street.
Nothing about that intersection has changed.
But Marian Hawkins of Gulfport points out that other street obstacles in that area have grown even worse. An enormous pothole has developed where the one lane of southbound 66th Street traffic turns left onto eastbound First Avenue S.
That's double trouble.
And it earns for the area the dubious distinction as the Double Eyeball Jiggler of the Week.
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And the Carbungle of the week:
The idiot driver who refuses to notice my turn signal and won't give me room to move into his lane, electing instead to go around me and then cut into my lane, when it would have been so much easier and safer if we had just yielded to each other.
Where, we cry to the night, are standards?
_ Dr. Delay can be reached by e-mail at docdelaysptimes.com, by fax at (727) 893-8675 or by snail mail at 490 First Ave., S, St. Petersburg 33701.