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SOME PROJECTS CREATE NEW HEADACHES

Many projects take the slow road and Redesign of busy intersection hits bumps - Sept. 9, stories

The twin articles on changes in neighborhood traffic and their slow road to becoming reality struck my interest. It seems to take about eight years for a traffic project to go from planning to reality. This means that the city administration may have turned over during those years and that the neighbors who pushed for the projects, but probably have no training in traffic management, may be long gone. Homes turn over every five years on the average.

The last few years have seen a flurry of impediments to traffic flow resulting from this illogical system of delayed decisionmaking.

Placing curbs in the right of way, such as those along Beach Drive NE leading out of downtown, is the most dangerous, however. Look for yourself. There are few of these curbs around town that have not been hit by a tire, and in some cases a chunk of concrete is missing. The new walkway curb on 62nd Avenue NE near Canterbury School already has a chunk missing. This has got to damage tires and auto suspensions.

Scenario: A car drives through St. Petersburg and hits a curb recently constructed in the right of way. The next day on Interstate 4 a car suddenly swerves across lanes and enters a front-end collision. No fault here. Those who planned these structures are all long gone.

Mark Reinecke, St. Petersburg

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It's a mess and nobody knows the answer - Aug. 30, letter

No accountability for school bus mess

I could not agree with the letter writer more. The children and parents deserve, and are in need of, a professional at the helm of the Pinellas County school transportation department. What is unacceptable and outrageous seems to be "first-day hiccups" to school superintendent Julie Janssen.

My experience over the years has been that of nightmares. I have two children in the Pinellas County school system who take transportation. Eight years of unbelievable transportation issues have me outraged. My transportation issue this year was that when my middle schooler's bus finally showed up at 9:20 with a school start time of 9:30, there were no seats available for the 14 students who needed to get to school, nor seats for the students at the following three stops. The bus is for disabled students to accommodate one student in East Lake Woodlands, thus the bus had half the usual seats. The bus driver did stop and make a call and said she was not sure, but she thought the transportation department was sending another bus. Can you imagine?

So, after obtaining permission from parents, three carloads made it to school with the kids. I attempted more than 35 times to contact the transportation department and was unable to get through because of a busy signal - a sign that there were other problems throughout the county.

I e-mailed the entire School Board with no reply other than acknowledgement of receipt from the board office, and no reply from director Rick McBride of the transportation department.

Where is this acceptable?

I urge parents to attend the School Board meeting Tuesday at 5 p.m., where I (and I hope others) will be asking the School Board to be accountable for their lack of action and for accepting the mediocrity of the transportation department.

Jennifer Bertisch, Oldsmar

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Increase in motor vehicle fees

County staffers did well with late rush

Kudos to Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson and her staff for their dedication and patience with the long lines of people renewing vehicle tags and driver's licenses before the fees increased on Sept. 1.

We are curious as to why people waited until the last minute to renew. My driver's license expired at the end of September, but I renewed it in mid August to beat the rush.

The situation caused undue strain on the people waiting in line, as well as tax collector employees.

B.J. Mitchell, St. Petersburg

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Empty buses

Why not smaller, cheaper and full?

I would like to know what it costs taxpayers in Pinellas County a year to subsidize our bus service.

I was born and raised here and have never ever seen a bus full or even close to full. But they keep buying big buses that nobody rides.

Wouldn't smaller, more maneuverable buses be cheaper, easier on gas and cost less to maintain? As our streets get narrower and more congested, wouldn't smaller be better? God forbid that riders should have to sit next to each other.

I am a retired St. Petersburg firefighter with no cost-of-living increase in my pension plan, one 3 percent raise in the 10 years I have been retired, yet my health plan runs over $800 a month. If St. Petersburg had to pay less to fund a bloated bureaucracy like the PSTA, maybe I could get a COLA. Fat chance!

Mike Bingham, St. Petersburg

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Buses are empty - Aug. 30, letter

PSTA ridership varies, is tracked

Seeing a few empty buses on a couple of routes and characterizing it as a waste is like seeing a robbery downtown and declaring the area crime-ridden. Ridership is often down in the middle of a day, and a bus that pulls into a transfer point empty may leave with a dozen passengers. PSTA tracks ridership (it's increasing) and will make necessary adjustments.

John Royse, St. Petersburg

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Buses are empty - Aug. 30

Mass transit beats one-passenger cars

The PSTA offers another method of transportation, which is viewed as "green" for those trying to reduce our need for foreign oil and abuse of natural resources. Has the writer ever recognized how many thousands of largely empty private vehicles there are on the road?

T.W. Funari, St. Petersburg

Share your views

We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our Web site atsptimes.com/letters. They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

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