DUNEDIN — Perusing the Doc’s many emails about traffic and roadway concerns, one with the subject line “Crosswalk Hazard in Dunedin” stood out.
Maybe that’s because the Tampa Bay area has long been known as one of the most dangerous places to walk or ride a bike. And last year’s statistics did not show signs of improvement.
The number of pedestrians killed in 2019 rose by nearly 10 percent in Tampa Bay. Hillsborough County led with 59 deaths, then Pinellas County with 37, followed by 23 in Pasco County and seven in Hernando County, according to recently released preliminary data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
But it’s not every day you hear complaints like this one from Dunedin.
St. Petersburg, sure. But Dunedin?
“My wife and I encountered a potentially deadly crosswalk situation as we recently took a walk in Dunedin," wrote Ron Placey.
Placey said he and his wife were at the northeast corner of Bass Boulevard and Main Street and hit the walk button to head south across Main Street toward downtown.
He said they took the duration of the signal, which he estimated at about 12 seconds, to get only halfway across the street. Then the signal turned red and flashed, counting down about an additional 23 seconds, as they tried to cross the remaining lanes, Placey said.
That’s when a car came rolling through the crosswalk to make a right turn and blocked their path to the other side, he said. Then a car honked its horn at the couple after nearly running them over, he said, and the driver confronted them to tell them they were in the wrong.
Placey didn’t ask the Doc if they were in the wrong or not, but the Doc decided to find out.
The red flashing pedestrian signal with the countdown is designed to tell pedestrians how much time they have left to finish crossing if they’ve already started, according to the Florida Driver’s handbook. It is not a signal for pedestrians to start crossing.
The Florida law on pedestrians and traffic regulations says that the driver of a vehicle at any marked crosswalk shall stop and remain stopped to allow pedestrians to cross once they are in the crosswalk, either on the half of the roadway where the vehicle is traveling or closely approaching from the opposite half of the roadway.
It’s scary I know, but in this situation, the driver will always win, and your life isn’t worth the argument.
But Placey believes this incident could’ve been avoided if the initial crossing signal were longer.
The Doc brought this incident to the attention of Kris Carson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. The state is looking into additional signs for drivers, but there’s no problem with the times programmed for the crosswalks.
“We verified all of the crosswalk times in the controller are correct,” she said. “They are calculated at 3.5 feet per second. This is a mandated standard calculation. A person can make it across the crosswalk with time left over.”
Traffic and road closure updates:
- Intermittent lane closures for State Road 50 (Cortez Boulevard) widening from Windmere Road/Bronson Boulevard to U.S. 301 through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- U.S. 98 new bridge construction of Suncoast Parkway 2, a half mile on each side of Suncoast Parkway (State Road 589) causes 24-hour lane closures through Saturday
- Nightly lane closures (westbound only) State Road 674 (Sun City Center Boulevard) paving operations from U.S. 301 to Cypress Village Boulevard
- Nightly lane closures through Friday for Interstate 75 repaving from Manatee County Line to County Road 672 (Big Bend Road) from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Lane closures with flagging operations on County Road 580 (Sam Allen Road) from east of Paul Buchman Highway (State Road 39A) to Wilder Road through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
- Day and night lane closures on State Road 60 under Interstate 275 through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Lane closures through Friday on West Shore Boulevard (County Road 587) at I-275 from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Nightly lane closures for U.S. 92 (Hillsborough Avenue) repaving and drainage improvements from Central Avenue to 56th Street from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
- Nightly lane closures SR 60 (Kennedy Boulevard) traffic signal upgrades at Armenia Avenue and Brevard Avenue through Friday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- U.S. 41 bridge painting over CSX railroad tracks between College Avenue and 12th Avenue causes lane closures through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Nightly lane closures between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. for U.S. 92 stormwater system repairs from Falkenburg Road to County Line Road
- Lane closures are anticipated nightly between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for I-275 striping between Interstate 4 and Bearss Avenue
- I-275 operational improvements from west of SR 60 (Exit 39) to Lois Avenue (Exit 40B) cause lane closures through Friday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Westbound lane closures on State Road 56 diverging diamond interchange from Interstate 75 to Grand Cypress Drive from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Lanes will be closed through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and nightly between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. to complete northbound and southbound striping for a new Walmart traffic signal on Dale Mabry Highway
- Lane closure Eastbound SR 56 right lane to install Windridge utility in SR 56 right of way. The lane closure is located between Meadow Pointe and Morris Bridge Road on SR 56 through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- State Road 52 widening and new alignment between Uradco Place and Fort King Road and Clinton Avenue clearing operations from Prospect Road (County Road 579A) to Smith Road causes lane closures with flagging operations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Lane closures through Friday for Alt. U.S. 19 (Seminole Boulevard) repaving from 53rd Avenue N to 101st Avenue N from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- State Road 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) turning radius improvements at 62nd Street causes lane closures through Friday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Alt. US 19 (Seminole Boulevard) repaving from 53rd Avenue N to 101st Avenue N through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- State Road 688, State Road 586 and State Road 580 intersection lighting improvements cause intermittent lane closures through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at various locations:
- SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) between Hamlin Boulevard in Largo and Feather Sound Drive in St. Petersburg
- SR 586 (Curlew Road) between Alt. 19/Bayshore in Dunedin and Tampa Road in Oldsmar
Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system) updates:
- I-275 from south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28) to Fourth Street N (Exit 32) causes lane closures from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Lane closures on I-275 at the Roosevelt Boulevard Interchange (Exit 30) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Expect day and night closures through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on:
- U.S. 19 Frontage Roads from 110th Avenue N to 126th Avenue N
- State Road 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge
- SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street N
- SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street N to 16th Street N
- SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) from 34th Street to 49th Street N
- CR 296/118th Avenue North from U.S. 19 to 28th Street North
- Single lane traffic/traffic shifts and lane closures from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on County Road 296/118th Avenue North from 31st Street N to 49th Street N, and County Road 611 / 49th Street from 145th Avenue to Bayside Bridge
- Lane closures for Alt. U.S. 19 (Bay Pines Boulevard) bridge repairs over Long Bayou through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monique Welch is a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times, and the voice behind Dr. Delay. Send your traffic concerns, questions and pictures of roadway troubles you spot in your travels around the Tampa Bay area to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @AskDrDelay.