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Dr. Delay- Navigating Pinellas

Barbara Burgess asked us about work at McMullen-Booth Road and Enterprise Roads. "What's going on with this intersection? The road construction to enlarge the left turn lane from McMullen-Booth onto Enterprise Road started in November 2010 and it's still not done! There are still barricades in this 'new' turn lane, and traffic backs up constantly and more so during rush hour. Please Doc, can you write a prescription to get this work project healed?"

We checked with Pinellas County, and Burgess copied Clearwater on her inquiry. Soon she got a phone call from Mayor Frank Hibbard. He told her the county project should be done within three weeks. That's what we call a public servant.

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St. Petersburg

Run to honor officers to affect parking, traffic

The Partners for Life: Police Appreciation Run/Walk event honoring slain police Officers Thomas J. Baitinger, Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz, and David S. Crawford will affect downtown St. Petersburg traffic starting at 5:30 a.m. today with road closures until about noon.

The 10K and 5K races and 1-mile walk will begin and end in front of North Straub Park on Bayshore Drive NE. Some portions of the route will be closed to vehicles. The Police Department says residents who park on the street overnight should remove their vehicles from the race route before 5 a.m. or risk being towed. Residential parking permits won't exempt vehicles from being ticketed or towed. Visit for information.

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118th Avenue

Traffic light timing has one driver in a lather

Jan Boyett loves the new 118th Avenue exit, except for the intersection of 118th and Belcher Road. She wrote:

"There are five traffic lights in the mile from Belcher Road to Starkey Road. At 4:30 p.m. most days, I hit from three to all five of them, and that's after waiting through at least two light cycles at Belcher. Is this ever going to get better?"

Ken Jacobs, county signal operations manager, said a recent traffic accident damaged a signal. A Belcher Road utility project has affected timing.

Jacobs' team is modifying the signal timing, but 118th Avenue from Starkey to Belcher does not have the same capacity as segments east and west, making it difficult to handle all the traffic.

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In Memoriam: Robin Mitchell

Original Dr. Delay was witty, wise, beloved

The very first Dr. Delay about 20 years ago was Robin Mitchell, who wrote fun copy such as "There's more to driving than ricocheting off bumps, tumbling into potholes or watching the temperature gauge creep into "H" while cooling it in traffic." The handful of "docs'' who have followed in Robin's footsteps have had huge shoes to fill.

Robin was sharp and droll, a master of irony and one-liners, some hilarious, others groaners. Be they snarky quips about politicians he described as "weasels" or wry observations on life, Robin expressed himself with a combination of intelligence and cheeky aplomb.

When I took on the Dr. Delay persona in 2003, I called Robin (who was preparing to retire from the newsroom) and asked for advice. Without missing a beat he replied, "Don't get a DUI. This may mean that you will occasionally have to sleep behind a Dumpster rather than drive, but maintaining credibility is paramount when one aspires to be a columnist." Robin died April 29, leaving behind his lovely wife, Sharon, and a legion of heartbroken colleagues, friends and fans, all of whom are richer for having known him.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.