tampabay.com

Today's Letters: 6-inch median must be rebuilt

By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published July 4, 2007


Re: Suit faults design of bridge story, June 27

Frank Urino's vehicle was struck by a car driven by a drunken teenager that crossed the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge's 6-inch-tall concrete median in April 2006. The accident might result in Urino losing his right foot.

Who can blame 54-year-old Urino for his lawsuit against PCL Civil Constructors Inc. of Canada and Earth Tech Consulting Inc. of California, which helped design and construct the new Memorial Causeway Bridge? Clearwater city officials wanted a "showpiece." And that, they got.

With all the knowledge and know-how, it should have been obvious to all of those involved in the planning and construction of the state bridge that it would take more than a measly 6-inch median to prevent eastbound and westbound vehicles from crossing over and colliding with oncoming traffic.

The reflectors the Florida Department of Transportation installed along the median in February are no panacea when an out-of-control and/or drunken driver has his or her foot on the accelerator.

Now that eight motorists have crossed the median and crashed, with one death, a remedy might finally be on the way. My hope is that a barrier made out of concrete is built, tall enough to prevent rollovers and to stop vehicles from crossing over into oncoming traffic.

How many more skid marks are needed to prove that the city needs to act now?

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

Re: Bicycles entitled to place on roads story, July 2

Bicyclists glad to get attention

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see positive press in regard to bicyclists. As chairman of the Pinellas County Bicycle Advisory Committee, I can tell you we work hard to educate both motorists and cyclists on cycling etiquette and rules of the road. Articles such as this help us immensely by sharing the facts with the public.

With rising fuel prices and road congestion getting worse, more and more people are turning to their bikes to go to the store, get to work and school and to just enjoy our Florida environment. In fact, nearly 70 percent of the users of the Pinellas Trail use it for nonrecreational purposes.

Education is indeed the key. Through marked bike lanes, trails, bus bike racks and events like the "Share the Road" ride, more people become aware of cycling and the rules of the road.

Who knows, maybe after reading your article more people will dust off their bikes, pull them out of the garage and go for a ride!

Thanks again for the good press.

Tom Ferraro, president Suncoast Cycling Club Safety Harbor

Popular center deserves better

Your July 3 editorial, Recreation cuts need scalpel rather than ax, proves that the old adage, "Wolves come in sheep's clothing, " is alive andwell.

I am a member of the Stay Fit 55-plus Class at Morningside Recreation Complex in Clearwater and would like to set the record straight.

We welcomed your photographer warmly on May 24 (the Thursday before Memorial Day) and told him that instead of the five participants he saw, we usually were averaging nine or 10 in the summer months and 13 to 17 in the winter months when our Northern friends are here. He took many pictures and we were so excited that the picture and article that would be published would be positive and would help recruit new members.

How wrong we were. I feel that the St. Petersburg Times had a hidden agenda that day. Under the protection of the sheep's clothing lurked a wolf who supported the closing of the Morningside Recreation Complex.

Our class helps keep the cost down to the city because the leader accepts no pay. Please come and look over our sign-in sheets and talk to our members. I think that you would be impressed with the dedication and loyalty our members feel toward the class and toward Morningside Recreation Complex.

Nancy Stoner, Clearwater

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.