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    New light proposed to slow down drivers

    The Forest Lakes Boulevard extension is still a speedway, city officials say. A study will be done to see if a second light is warranted.

    By MEGAN SCOTT
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published February 6, 2003


    OLDSMAR -- City officials have already installed a traffic light on the new Forest Lakes Boulevard extension at Pine Avenue N.

    But they say that isn't enough to slow down drivers who zoom up and down the 2.5-mile stretch of road leading to Hillsborough County.

    At Tuesday night's meeting, council members discussed installing a second light where the new road intersects with Lakeview Drive.

    "We probably cross three or four times the (number of) pedestrians" at Lakeview Drive as those that cross at Pine Avenue, said Council member Brian Michaels. "We did a traffic count earlier this month. It's showing the average speed is 44 mph. The 35 mph speed limit is not working."

    Michaels said drivers on Lakeview who are coming from Forest Lakes Elementary School have a hard time crossing the intersection because the cars are coming too fast. They wind up trapped in the median, he said.

    City Attorney Tom Trask will prepare a resolution for installing the light. Meanwhile, City Manager Bruce Haddock will ask the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the county's main transportation agency, to study whether a signal is warranted.

    "We have a resolution as a backup in case they decide they don't want to put one in," said Michaels. "We're just implementing the mechanism to get the wheels moving."

    Council members also discussed a recommendation from public works director John Mulvihill to modify the "No Truck Any Time" designation on Forest Lakes Boulevard from Race Track Road to Tampa Road.

    The Pinellas County Sheriff's office has not been able to enforce the signs because of the temporary location of a borrow pit, which is being excavated to supply fill dirt for construction projects, west of Race Track Road.

    But nobody made a motion to approve the recommendation to make part of Forest Lakes truck friendly.

    "We need to leave the signs alone," said Mayor Jerry Beverland. "While that borrow pit is there, just don't do anything with the trucks on Forest Lakes east of Commerce.

    "After that, once the borrow pit is over, then Forest Lakes will still be all anti-truck, which is what I want."

    In other business, the council:

    -- Gave preliminary approval to the town center development code. Under the code, developers will be required to build projects that have an Old Florida look and feel, such as bungalow-style homes. The other major change increases the area's density, or the number of units allowed per acre.

    -- Gave Trask a 40 percent raise, from $90 to $125 per hour. The average hourly rate for other city attorneys in Pinellas County is $123 per hour. Trask's $3,500 a month retainer fee will remain unchanged.

    -- Voted against establishing procedures regarding appointments to volunteer boards, including a resolution prohibiting relatives to serve on the same board or committee.

    -- Approved spending $30,200 for a traffic study focusing on Tampa Road at the intersections of Pine Avenue N, Commerce and Bayview boulevards, the entrance to Canal Park and the access to the Woodlands Square Shopping Center.

    -- Approved spending $43,450 for park projects, including designing new lights for Field 3 at Canal Park and installing video surveillance equipment at Bicentennial Skate Park and Mobbly Bayou Preserve.

    -- Megan Scott can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or mscott@sptimes.co

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