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Frances left ugly mess, but others had it worse

So ... where were we before the world went storm crazy? I think we were talking about potholes and street construction. That was before Frances found a way into my garage roof and left enough water up in there to bring down part of the interior ceiling.

I'm not complaining. Lots of people have far worse hangovers from that storm than I do.

And, speaking of Frances, if you live in the city of St. Petersburg, and you're still cleaning up Frances-deposited debris from your yard and your street, we wanted to remind you that today is the last day to haul it to one of the city's brush dropoff sites.

There are six of them, and all will be open until 6:30 this evening:

+ 1000 62nd Ave. NE

+ 7750 26th Ave. N

+ 2500 26th Ave. S

+ 4015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S

+ 3802 54th Ave. S

+ 2453 20th Ave. N.

Scheduled curbside pickups have ended, but if you missed the city sweep and have debris, including aluminum and other metal, you can call 893-7398 during regular business hours or visit Action Online at www.stpete.org/action.htm to request a special pickup.

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Road news from the city of St. Petersburg:

Bayshore Drive NE behind the Museum of Fine Arts will be closed for approximately three more weeks while a drainage pipe is installed.

There is also construction in North Straub Park, immediately north of the museum.

Traffic is being detoured on Beach Drive.

As work progresses and Bayshore Drive is reopened, more street closures are expected along Third Avenue N and its cross streets between the shores of Tampa Bay and Mirror Lake. The work is part of a major storm drain improvement project that will help relieve street flooding in the downtown and Beach Drive areas.

Isn't this fun?

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There are a lot of roads in southern Pinellas County that come in for some harsh criticism from those condemned to use them on a daily basis.

We all know about the intersection of Central and Pasadena avenues (which will be fixed later this year).

Another I hear about with excruciating regularity is 22nd Avenue S through Gulfport and St. Petersburg. The condition of the road and the lack of left-turn lanes are among the biggest gripes.

I mentioned last year that plans were in the works to fix as much of the road as easements would allow. After hearing from Don Gregoire about the street's deficiencies, I checked again with Pinellas County to see if plans for improvements have been updated.

The answer is yes, but you're probably not going to like it.

The projection is for a preliminary engineering study on 22nd Avenue S from 58th Street to 34th Street late next year.

Design and some right-of-way acquisition will follow, with construction to start in 2009.

The plan is to improve drainage, update sidewalks, add bike lanes and try to accommodate a five-lane roadway section where rights-of-way permit.

This is a long time for drivers to wait. The problem is, of course, that there isn't always money available to do right now what we think needs to be done right now.

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There is a traffic signal in St. Petersburg that seems to have a mind of its own.

Or perhaps it was confused by Frances.

It is at the intersection of First Street and 22nd Avenue N. For several months, readers have been writing in to complain that traffic on First Street has an unfairly long wait for a green light, while the light is almost always green for east-west traffic on 22nd Avenue.

I went out some time ago and checked up on it, and the red/green distribution seemed equitable to me. And I wrote so in this very space.

I heard from several readers that they saw the change and appreciated it. They gave me credit for bringing it about. I didn't. I had nothing to do with it.

Time passed. New readers started writing to complain about the light, yet again.

I went out again to look, and this time I caught it red-handed. And yellow-handed. And, well, green-handed.

First St. traffic gets a mere 10 seconds to scamper through the signal. Vehicles on 22nd Avenue get nearly a minute and a half.

The traffic on 22nd Avenue is heavier, and the signal should be weighted toward those drivers.

But not this much.

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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