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Dr. Delay: Will flashing yellow turn signals ever be a consistent trend in St. Petersburg?

Readers have questions about yellow lights, particularly flashing yellow. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, 2018)
Readers have questions about yellow lights, particularly flashing yellow. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, 2018) [ CHARLIE RIEDEL | AP ]
Published Sep. 25, 2019
Updated Sep. 27, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG— Last week the Doc talked about a study that said two Tampa Bay intersections were among the worst in the country for red-light runners. Based on your reaction, the subject is near and dear to your heart.

RELATED STORY: Dr. Delay: Study proves Tampa Bay drivers are among the most reckless in the U.S.

The Doc has read your comments and emails, and it seems many of us agree that Tampa Bay drivers are reckless. But I’m curious to see what other intersections I should avoid.

Let the Doc know by emailing docdelay@tampabay.com with intersections in the subject field, and if you have a picture, the Doc would love to see that too.

Now, about those flashing yellow turn signals.

In case you’re not familiar, we’re talking about those fairly new signals placed over left-turn lanes at intersections where one of the signals is a flashing yellow arrow. Other signals shows are the standard green, yellow and red arrow.

Some intersections have them, most don’t.

Robert Strube doesn’t understand why there isn’t one on 22nd Avenue N in both the eastbound and westbound direction at the 58th Street intersection.

It turns out it depends on the traffic volume.

After a talk with St. Petersburg’s Traffic Operations department, city spokesman Ben Kirby tells the Doc that they are collecting traffic counts to determine if the volume is sufficient to allow for the permissive arrow (aka the flashing yellow signal).

But they do not expect those counts to be completed for another week at least.

“Changing the signal requires meeting the warrants that allow for the change," Kirby said.

“If the counts are sufficient the arrow will be changed”

The Doc will update you on what they discover.

In the meantime, another reader, Mary Battle, is confused by the flashing yellow. After having two near-crashes in the past month, Battle wants to know who legally has the right of way if she has the green light to turn right and opposing traffic turns left by way of the flashing yellow.

And the verdict is in.

According to the state law and the Department of Transportation., flashing yellow means left turns are allowed, but the driver must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The oncoming traffic has a green light.

Flashing yellow lights recently emerged after a Federal Highway Administration study showed that the new signal is a low-cost safety measure to help prevent crashes, move more traffic through an intersection, provide traffic management flexibility, and distinguish when motorists who are turning left are protected from oncoming traffic, and when they must yield.

In other words, don’t abuse it.

Always yield first.

And if someone chooses not to yield, then let them go because it’s not worth risking an accident or worse, your life.

• • •

If you’re free on Oct. 3, the Doc suggests attending an open house and public alternatives meeting held by Pinellas County for the 126th Avenue N improvements Project Development and Environmental Study that’s underway.

The study area covers 126th Avenue N from U.S. 19 to 34th Street in the Gateway Economic Development Area.

The meeting is informal but aims to assess how the road can be configured to ease traffic congestion from Ulmerton Road and 118th Ave. N while improving access to existing businesses and attracting new ones.

It’s a great opportunity to provide feedback and learn about the design alternatives, proposed enhancements, and the social, economic and environmental impacts of the study.

If interested, the open house is from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the St. Petersburg College Epicenter, 13805 58th St. N near Largo.

TRAFFIC UPDATES AND ROAD CLOSURES

Hernando County:
  • Lane closures continue 24 hours a day through Saturday at a half-mile on each side of Suncoast Parkway (State Road 589) for U.S. 98 bridge construction of Suncoast Parkway 2
Hillsborough County:
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from Armenia Avenue to Florida Avenue for State Road 580 (Busch Boulevard) repaving from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Lane closures continue 24 hours a day through Saturday from Madison Avenue/Pendola Point Road to Port Sutton Road for U.S. 41 intersection reconstruction
  • Intermittent lane closures continue through Saturday from Bullfrog Creek to Denver Street from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for U.S. 41 drainage and sidewalk installation
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Saturday at SR 589 (Veteran’s Expressway) from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. for SR 60 operational improvements
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from Florida Avenue to Ida Street from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for U.S. Business 41 (Highland Avenue and W Violet Street) roadway/pedestrian improvements
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. at Interstate 75 southbound exit ramp (Exit 257) to SR 60
  • Nightly lane closures continue along SR 60 under Interstate 275 through Friday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Pasco County:
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from Pond Avenue to Long Avenue/Pioneer Museum Road from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for U.S. 301/U.S. 98 repaving
Pinellas County:
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m for State Road 682 (54th Avenue S) repaving
  • Intermittent lane closures continue through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. from SR 60 (Chestnut Street) to Mohawk Street for Alt. U.S. 19 (Myrtle Avenue) repaving
  • Lane closures continue through Friday at 22nd Avenue S from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Interstate 275 interchange improvements
  • Lane closures continue through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from I-275 northbound Exit 30 ramp to westbound SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) and westbound 118th Avenue (CR 296), and from I-275 southbound from Fourth Street (Exit 32) to south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28) for the Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system)
  • Lane closures continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. along U.S. 19 Frontage Roads from 110th Avenue to 126th Avenue, along SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge, along SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street, and along SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street all for the Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system)
  • Expect lane closures and delays on McMullen Booth Road at SR 580 to Curlew Road in Clearwater until Monday as the county completes construction
  • Expect daytime lane closures on Belcher Road from Druid Road to Park Boulevard as the county completes construction on Monday

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@tampabay.com to share your traffic concerns, questions, and pictures of roadway troubles you spot in your travels around the Tampa Bay area. Follow @AskDrDelay.