Pothole on 66th Street has finally been patchedBy JEAN HELLER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2002
We always like to open with good news, though in the world of potholes, road crowns and dollops, it isn't always possible.
The good news this week is the demise of a former Eyeball Jiggler of the Week. It was on 66th Street southbound at Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. The crown on Central had caused so many cars to bottom out on the south side of the intersection that drivers had to contend not only with the bump and bang of the crossing but with a large pothole that had been gouged out of the pavement.
The good people of the city have seen fit to clean up the area and put in a pretty good patch. It doesn't make a perfect intersection, by any means, but it's a darned sight better than it was a few weeks ago.
Now ... the bad news:
Travel one block farther south on 66th Street and turn left onto First Avenue S.
It's the new Eyeball Jiggler of the Week.
More good news.
How about the new pavement on First Avenue S from 34th Street east to 16th Street? Pretty smooth, huh? And the asphalt hasn't started bleaching out, so you actually can see the lane lines.
Don't worry. It won't last.
We had a question from Gary Wenner of St. Petersburg, and we didn't even have to go out and research it, because we have shared his experience many times.
Drivers westbound on Ulmerton Road who want to turn left onto southbound 66th Street had better leave extra time for the trip. The left-turn signal is agonizingly short, allowing for only a half-dozen cars to get through, fewer if there are U-turners.
Since we often see two dozen or more cars trying to make that turn at a time, it goes without saying that many of them must wait two or even three cycles of the light to get through.
We suspect that the timing is off or that it was set up when Ulmerton was carrying a lot less traffic. For whatever reason, it really would be great if the state roadies could get out there and take a look for themselves. They have been swell about adjusting turn signals elsewhere when necessary, and we think this intersection is an excellent candidate for reconsideration.
While we're saying nice things about the state roadies, and you have no idea how much it pains us to do this, they have finally heard the public's cry for a left-turn signal for drivers northbound on Fourth Street N who want to turn left at 54th Avenue.
For years, the accident rate there wasn't high enough to justify the turn signal, according to the roadies. Never mind that people felt seriously endangered trying to make the turn. We're not sure what prompted the change of heart, but the roadies have made a lot of friends in the neighborhood.
We thought most people know about buried road sensors and left-turn signals, but we have had several questions about them lately, so the story is probably worth telling one more time.
Pat McCarty reports that her husband was waiting in a left-turn lane in Seminole when the driver behind him came up and rapped on McCarty's window. He told McCarty if he didn't move up in the lane, they would never get a turn light.
Pat asked us if this is true. It is.
Here's the scoop. If you are first in line to make a left turn, pull up to the broad white line. There is a sensor buried in the pavement, and if you don't trip it, it will assume that there are no cars in the turn lane. So if you stop short of the sensor, it can't see you.
If you scooch out too far into the intersection so you're beyond the sensor, it will assume that your car has turned, and that no one is waiting. Either way, you won't get a turn signal.
Most intersections in southern Pinellas County have these sensors. But we also should add that the sensors can go bad, and when there is road construction, they are almost always broken.
Okay, time for this week's Carbungle, things other drivers do that make your blood boil.
This has happened to everyone. But recently it happened to us. We were tootling along Interstate 275 doing the speed limit. Okay, maybe a little more than the speed limit. We were in the center lane. Traffic was light, and there was room to pass on both sides.
A black SUV pulls up way too close behind us. Even though it wasn't necessary, we would have moved over a lane to let the vehicle pass, but we hate tailgaters, so we didn't.
Aggravated by our attitude, the driver pulled out on the left, went around and pulled back in so suddenly his rear bumper nearly clipped our front end. There was no reason for this other than his need to vent his displeasure that we didn't recognize his ownership of the road.
Sir, if you are reading this, Jessie wants you to know that you are a fool.
And now, by popular demand, here is Dr. Delay's Terrible Traffic Tidbit of the Week:
The federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics (without which there would be no Terrible Traffic Tidbits, by the way) tells us this week that nearly three out of five Americans are concerned about the safety risks arising from the dangerous behavior of others, such as aggression, road rage, air rage and drunk driving.
And will the two out of five who aren't concerned please step forward?
-- Dr. Delay can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at (727) 893-8675 or by snail mail at 490 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
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