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Don't hold breath for left-turn arrow

Dr. Delay Navigating South Pinellas

By LORRIE LYKINS
Published May 13, 2007


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The intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard and 58th Street can be hairy for motorists, especially for east-bounders attempting left turns onto 58th Street from Roosevelt State Road 686.

Motorists usually have a little bit of time to make it safely through the intersection when there's a break in the westbound traffic because of a traffic signal east of the intersection. But sometimes it's just a few seconds.

Some readers have inquired about the possibility of a protected turn arrow at Roosevelt and 58th Street N.

Reader Sandy McLaughlin wrote: "As you may know, that corner has become home to the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. Because of the lack of a left-turn signal onto 58th Street, we have lost some volunteers who are too frightened to drive through this intersection."

We checked with the Florida Department of Transportation and learned that engineers have studied this particular intersection as recently as February.

The DOT's records show 51 crashes at the junction in the past three years, but 47 of those did not involve left turns from the east.

The opinion of the engineers is that because Roosevelt is so heavily traveled, the time that would be lost to moving east-west traffic through the intersection would likely increase rear-end collisions by forcing the traffic to stop.

"Installing an arrow does not guarantee that there will be no more left-turn crashes. Our experience indicates that the arrow will probably increase the 21 rear-end collisions that occurred in the same time period (January 2004 to February 2007) due to stopping Roosevelt traffic longer, " DOT signals and systems engineer Keith Crawford wrote in an e-mail last week.

46TH AVENUE N

Bike lanes, more coming

The project to improve 46th Avenue N is in its final design phase with plans for construction from 80th Street N to 62nd Street N, a distance of almost 2 miles.

Planned improvements include installation of bike lanes, new sidewalks and curbs. Storm sewer pipes will also be added to eliminate some of the ditches along the road and to improve stormwater runoff in the area.

Construction on the final phase is set to begin early next year.

Dial 511 for clarity

The miasma created by smoke from Florida and Georgia wildfires, combined with humidity, has made for hazy driving conditions lately. That and the early attention to hurricane season, with the first named storm of 2007 that developed in recent days, has prompted the DOT to urge drivers to add its free 511 service to their summer travel and emergency preparedness plans.

Motorists can dial 511 toll-free from a cell phone or land line and hear real-time traffic reports on all highways in the state and Florida's Turnpike. The state's five regional services, in northeast Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay, southwest Florida and southeast Florida, provide detailed information on local roads.

Information and updates are also available online at www.FL511.com. The Web site is regularly updated with information on road conditions, bridge and road closures, and emergency evacuation routes.

Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at docdelay@yahoo.com.

[Last modified May 12, 2007, 19:32:37]


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