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Street near hospital needs crosswalk care

This is one of those weeks when we go careening all over town, so buckle up and hang on.

We'll start down in South Pasadena, where reader Margaret Stark is a volunteer at the Palms of Pasadena Hospital and the outpatient diagnostic clinic, which is directly across Matthews Road from the hospital.

There are always patients and family members or volunteers such as Margaret going back and forth across the street between the two buildings. Yet the most direct route is not the safest and requires pedestrians to break the law and risk injury from the huge number of vehicles that use Matthews Road.

There is a crosswalk between the two buildings, but it isn't at the place on the street that the patients actually use as the shortest distance between two points. As Margaret pointed out, using the crosswalk requires ambulatory ill, aging and infirm patients to take a lot of additional steps because it is well west of the logical crossing point.

There are plenty of speed bumps and stop signs on Matthews, so many, in fact, that the entire jumble is confusing. Somebody really should take a look and see if there isn't a way to relocate the crosswalk so that patients don't have an unenviable choice: to jaywalk or to go out of their way to cross the street legally.

Meanwhile, it might also be a good idea for the hospital and the outpatient clinic to consider using wheelchairs to transport patients who have difficulty walking. Then, the patient escorts would be able to take them down to the legal crosswalk.

In any event, it also would help to have signs warning motorists making a right turn from Pasadena Avenue onto westbound Matthews that they will encounter patients in the street ahead.

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We wrote about this in October, but some of you weren't paying attention, were out walking the cat or hadn't come back to the area for the winter yet. So here goes again. It is one of the most talked-about topics in St. Petersburg traffic because it is one of the biggest annoyances.

We refer to the intersection of Pasadena and Central avenues.

To say it is a mess would be like saying that the Empire State Building is tall.

Relief is on the way.

The state roadies plan to repave 66th Street N (which is every bit as bad as the offending intersection) from Tyrone Boulevard to Pasadena and from Pasadena south to Park Street. In the process, you-know-where is going to be fixed and repaved, too.

The contract will be let in June _ yes, of this year _ and work will begin in September. By the time you snowbirds come back next year, the area should be well on its way to full repair.

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As previously mentioned, the dreaded wastewater reconstruction project at Fifth Avenue N and 66th Street has begun. As a result, 66th Street is down to one lane southbound and two lanes northbound.

It's a mess, we know. But it could have been worse. The city originally planned to do the work in the month before Christmas. But Tyrone area merchants screamed, and the city, in its infinite wisdom, concluded that this wasn't such a hot time to be making the terrible traffic in the Tyrone area even worse.

On the other hand, if the city had gone ahead with its original plan, the construction would be over by now.


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Dorothy Cooper came up with the Eyeball Jiggler of the Week this time.

Loath as we are to criticize brick streets _ they are pretty and quaint and in perfect keeping with the ambience of St. Petersburg _ Seventh Avenue N between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and St. Anthony's Hospital needs rethinking.

It is a jumble of brick and concrete and asphalt, a mixture that exudes absolutely no quaintness or ambience at all. And, as Dorothy points out, it has to play havoc with surgical patients leaving the hospital. Ouch.

We vote to cover the stretch with asphalt and be done with it.

By the same token, we would fight to our last breath any effort to repave an even worse brick street, Roser Park Boulevard, that runs behind All Children's Hospital. It will shake your vehicle apart at speeds over 3 mph, but it's worth it.

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As a bonus Eyeball Jiggler of the Week we once again offer the right-turn lane from 118th Avenue N onto the new entrance ramp to Interstate 275. A few months ago, we mentioned that the entrance end of the right turn lane had a huge pothole in it, and the roadies got out and filled it in.

Now the pothole is back. It is smaller than before but deeper, so the jolt of hitting it is even worse.

My suggested solution: Don't hit it.

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Let's drive south on I-275 and get off at I-375, the main exit into downtown St. Petersburg. Now let's say you leave I-375 at the exit for Eighth and MLK streets N. On your left as you approach MLK, you will see signs telling you that the left lane ends and traffic should merge to the right.

The problem: The left lane doesn't end. It has through arrows all the way down to MLK. The merge signs probably need to go.

Not that anybody is using that left lane right now. Construction on Fourth Avenue N has closed the intersection eastbound.

Oh, well.

_ Dr. Delay can be reached by e-mail at, by fax at (727) 893-8675 or by snail mail at 490 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.