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    Signs near roundabout to see more changes

    To ease clutter and driver confusion, Clearwater will replace and shift signs.

    By CHRISTINA HEADRICK

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 21, 2000


    CLEARWATER -- A dozen signs warn drivers approaching Clearwater Beach that they better slow down, get into the correct lane and yield to other drivers at the city's accident-plagued roundabout.

    At best, some residents and city officials have said, the signs make the beach's entranceway from the Memorial Causeway look cluttered.

    At worst, the multiple messages make drivers feel stressed as they try to read all the warnings in rapid succession, residents have complained at meetings about the roundabout.

    Early next year, the signs are a-changin'.

    The city recently got permission from the Florida Department of Transportation to remove at least four of the signs at the roundabout's entranceway. New, bigger, easier to read versions of the signs will be put up along the Memorial Causeway, which is a state road, City Engineer Mike Quillen said Wednesday.

    "It became obvious that there were too many (signs) in too small an area," Quillen said. "So we asked the state, and DOT said it was okay to move them."

    One pair of new signs will be placed near the small bridge just before the beach and another pair will be put near the traffic light at the entranceway to Island Estates, Quillen said.

    The signs tell people to get into the right lane of the roundabout to exit quickly at north Clearwater Beach roads and to enter the left lane of the roundabout to go to south beach or the city marina.

    The old signs were originally installed this summer at the recommendation of a city traffic consultant, who suggested adding them to help eliminate drivers' confusion about how to use the roundabout.

    The roundabout had been the site of about an accident a day from its opening late last year through this summer. Most of the accidents were minor fender benders.

    Police have reported that the number of accidents declined this fall, but the city is still reviewing ways to improve the circle next year.

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