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Davis Islands

Residents want city to block busy road

A petition is circulating, asking officials to limit access from Adalia Avenue to Davis Boulevard.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 7, 2003

Ask Donna Gillis about traffic problems on Adalia Avenue and one word comes to mind: Max.

Max, her year-old papillon, died several years ago when he slipped out her front door and ran into the road. The speeding driver never saw him.

Gillis buried Max behind her house overlooking the Hillsborough Bay. His tiny grave serves as a grim reminder of the street's dangers.

Without hesitation, Gillis signed her name on a petition to block off the north end of Adalia at E Davis Boulevard.

"It's the right thing to do," she said. "There's no reason people should be using this as an expressway."

Resident John Giammarco last week began circulating a petition asking the city to limit access to Adalia from Davis Boulevard. He claims the intersection breeds disaster because it's so close to the foot of the busy Davis Islands bridge.

"When you come over the bridge and you don't know where you're going, you turn down our street," he said. "I just want the free-flowing traffic to stop."

Giammarco wants the city to block off Adalia so that cars can't make a left onto Davis Boulevard. People in the Adalia Bayfront Condominiums would continue entering and exiting from Adalia Avenue, but homeowners along Adalia would have to use Aegean or Adriatic avenues to the south.

Limiting Adalia to local traffic would help parents such as Giammarco who have young children bicycling in the narrow street and playing ball.

"There's a lot of kids out there," said the father of two kids, ages 4 and 6. "We're constantly telling people to slow down."

Adalia is a frequent cut-through for motorists, delivery trucks and construction vehicles building waterfront mansions. They often hit Adalia off the bridge going 50 mph or more, resulting in frequent accidents.

All the "banging and screeching" wakes people at night, said Elizabeth Tryggeseth, who owns the Villa de Leon apartments at the corner of Adalia and Davis. "I'm so glad somebody is finally doing something about it."

The easy access to Adalia has made it a prime target for thieves cruising in from downtown, Giammarco said. Three years ago, he watched crooks steal his car from his own driveway.

The petition isn't the first attempt to limit the street's access.

Carolyn Bricklemyer, a Hillsborough County School Board member who lives on Adalia, remembers it was an issue 15 years ago when her children were young. Sketches were drawn but nothing became of them.

She hopes this outcome will be different.

"With all the younger children that are on the street now I support it even more," she said.

Residents aren't sure what happened to previous proposals. Gillis, a resident for 13 years, says she suspects the city got heat from other people on Davis Islands who didn't want the added traffic. Some on Adalia also oppose driving an extra half mile to get to Davis Boulevard.

Giammarco planned to present the petition to the city's transportation department this week.

Debbie Harrington, a city traffic engineer, said closing the end of the street or limiting access are possibilities.

"It's something we could definitely consider doing if people on the street support it and funding is available," she said.

-- Susan Thurston can be reached at 226-3394 or .

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