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Lights, lanes on Tyrone will get an adjustment

The state roadies tell us that the issue is called a "head placement adjustment."

We thought at first they were talking about Washington, D.C., politics.

Or outdoor toilets.

But no, they're talking about the new traffic signals on Tyrone Boulevard between 66th Street N and Park Street.

After a reader called the situation to our attention, we drove out and took a look and discovered that some of the new traffic signals aren't mounted on their mast arms directly over the lanes they are meant to control.

And west of Tyrone Square Mall, the lane lines on the new concrete road are so light that motorists who line up their vehicles on the traffic signals will actually be straddling lanes.

Roadie spokeswoman Kris Carson, who knows everything or can find it out, e-mailed us with word that the state will be fixing the lane lines in the next three weeks and is aware that some head placement adjustments are necessary.

That's wonderful. Head placement adjustments.

Don't you simply adore gov-speak?

While we're on the subject of heads and their adjustment, that dangling head over the westbound lanes of Gandy Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street has been fixed.

Last month we noted that the signal farthest to the right was dangling by a broken strap supported by only one instead of the usual two overhead wires.

The strap, or brace, or whatever it is called _ perhaps a "head placement security apparatus" _ has been replaced, and the light is secure once again.

We thank both the state roadies and the city of St. Petersburg for swift action.

Our rant last week about the car racing in downtown St. Petersburg brought a deluge of mail, as we expected, most of it in grave disagreement with us, which we also expected. Some of the correspondents took our opinion with the intended dose of humor. Others demonstrated, well, acute humor impairment.

Differences of opinion are fine. But we need to set the record straight on one matter involving some of you who chose to take paw-shots at Jessie the Westie. Jessie is a girl dog. If she were a he, it would be Jesse.

Being a girl, Jessie has no earthly use for fire hydrants or any other vertical targets. And she does not soil property that she does not own.

She once ate a Lazy Boy, but that's another story.

Our new Eyeball Jiggler of the Week is a little far afield, but despite the fact that it is in Hillsborough County, it _ or rather, they _ will make quite an impact on Pinellas residents leaving Tampa International Airport for the Howard Frankland Bridge.

For months, the ramp from the George Bean Parkway out of the airport onto westbound Interstate 275 has been a sorry array of bad and worse potholes. It was annoying enough that they were there, but at least we learned to anticipate them, even if there were far too many to avoid.

Now, somebody has come along and filled most of them, which gives motorists cause to relax and enjoy the drive.

Until you get to the top of the ramp. Suddenly, there's a huge one directly under your left front wheel. You swerve right to avoid it and drop into a series of potholes under your right front wheel. You aren't prepared for any of them because you've been lulled into a false sense of security by the repairs that came before.

So be forewarned. Slow down and watch for these booby traps or, better yet, take the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

Sometimes I think readers of this column get together at Luby's cafeteria every other Tuesday afternoon and decide to write multiple letters to us on a specific traffic situation. How else can you explain the fact that we don't hear about something for years, and then we get four or five letters about it in the same week?

Such has been the case with the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Fifth Avenue N. It's a bizarre little corner of the world, what with eastbound Fifth Avenue suddenly going from a two-way street to a one-way street. If you are driving west, it goes from one-way to two-way.

There are little signs hanging among the traffic signals warning of the changes, but the look of the place still baffles people.

Let's travel west together along Fifth Avenue, as if we were getting onto the interstate just beyond King Street.

We've got three lanes westbound, but as we approach King Street, the extreme left lane becomes a left-turn-only lane to put us southbound on King. On the far side of the intersection, that left lane is still there, but it is for eastbound traffic and it is filled with arrows directing that traffic to turn right onto southbound King.

To make the left turn onto the interstate ramp, you must cross the new lane of eastbound traffic and all those turn arrows that aren't for you.

It makes sense when you sit down and map it out. But the first few times you see it, the odd situation might throw you.

And don't even think about trying to make a right turn from the eastbound lane onto the interstate ramp. Your wheel will be so hard over that you're likely to pop a transmission fuel line.

Dr. Delay's Terrible Traffic Tidbit of the Week:

In 2000, there were 481 miles of interstate in Florida. Of those, 270 miles of roadway were reported in very good condition, 146 miles in good condition, 26 miles in fair condition, 33 miles in mediocre condition, and 6 miles in poor condition.

_ 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.

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