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Crackdown on DUI begins

Dr. Delay Navigating South Pinellas

By LORRIE LYKINS, Times Correspondent
Published August 19, 2007


The Florida Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies statewide are joining to implement what they are calling an aggressive crackdown on drunken drivers during the Labor Day holiday.

Operation "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" was officially kicked off last week and will run through Labor Day.

Florida's 2006 Labor Day holiday weekend was particularly deadly.

There were 24 fatal traffic accidents, nine of which were determined to be alcohol-related.

"Our law enforcement partners will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and using undercover officers to get more impaired drivers off the road," said DOT Assistant Secretary Kevin Thibault.

The plan calls for close scrutiny of every vehicle on the road in the next two weeks, including motorcycles, RVs and campers.

20TH ST. AND FIRST AVE. N

'Wrong way' signals are for safety of pedestrians

The east-facing traffic signal at 20th Street and First Avenue N puzzles some motorists because motor vehicle traffic is westbound-only on First Avenue N.

Reader Craig Beard wrote:

"Obviously there is a set of traffic lights on First Avenue N facing east so westbound drivers can see when the light turns red or green. But why is there also a set of traffic lights facing west?"

Bill Foster, the city's traffic signal coordinator, said the signal is to help pedestrians heading east to know when it's safe to cross 20th Street.

"On two-way streets that do not have pedestrian signals, pedestrians normally look to the regular traffic signals to know when to cross a street," Foster said.

"On a one-way street, because one direction has no traffic signals, an additional traffic signal is provided for use by pedestrians," he said.

GANDY BOULEVARD

Flyovers for Fourth, King streets delayed for funds

Motorists who have been awaiting improvements to Gandy Boulevard that will include flyovers at the busy intersections of Fourth and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets likely have a much longer wait.

Reader Craig Mowrer inquired about plans for overpasses, noting in his letter, "If you look at both intersections, you can see that the land is there for the flyovers."

According to the DOT, improvments to Gandy Boulevard from west of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street to east of Fourth Street are about 30 percent complete but the flyover issue is stalled right now because of money.

"The department is attempting to incorporate a design submitted by the city of St. Pete into the ultimate design to be completed by FDOT; however, the funding is not available for construction," said agency representative Kris Carson.

DOWNTOWN

Looper trolley can help Trop's parking crunch

When the Yankees or the Red Sox are in town, traffic around the dome can get dicey as fans clog the roads.

If you want to catch the game but don't want to fight traffic around the Trop, try parking downtown and catching the Looper. The downtown Looper Trolley will offer free shuttle service from downtown to Tropicana Field when the Devil Rays play the Red Sox next week with loops beginning 90 minutes before the start of the games and ending one hour after the game.

A stop will be active at Second Street between Central and First Avenue S under the pedestrian bridge connecting the Bank of America Tower and South Core garage. Motorists can park in the South Core garage by entering from First Avenue S between First and Second streets.

For more information on the free shuttles to and from the Trop, check out the Looper Web site: www.LooperTrolley.com.

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