ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Scenic Coffee Pot Blvd. in St. Petersburg is a place where recreation meets relaxation, and where drivers are faced with some tight turns.
That's why Jeff Bardsley, who lives nearby, chooses not to ride in the bike lane.
"I ride on the sidewalks or the trails wherever I possibly can," Bardsley said.
But last week, Gloria Mastell wasn't even safe on the waterfront sidewalk when an impaired driver failed to negotiate one of the turns and plowed his truck into her and her friend as they took their daily stroll. The driver, Timothy Deacon, 21, has been charged with DUI manslaughter.
Mastell died at the scene. Her death prompted the city to take a closer look at Coffee Pot Blvd form North Shore Dr. up to 28 Ave N.
"We've pulled accident statistics along this entire section of roadway. And from North Shore Dr. up to about 28 Ave. North, we've experienced 15 accidents over the last three-year period. That's not an inordinately high number of accidents," explained Joe Kubicki, Director of St. Peterburg's Department of Transportation and Parking.
According to the city, most of those accidents involved distracted drivers. With its official scenic drive designation, Coffee Pot Blvd. also comes with plenty of well-marked crosswalks. Lowering the speed limit in spots and adding flashing yellow lights prior to sharp curves may be considered.
"We'll look at that as one of the solutions. But it's not necessarily the solution," Kubicki said.
"I think the nature of the road is the problem. It's a curved road, it's a pretty road; there's a lot to look at. I'm not sure there's much you can do except enforcement of the existing laws," said Bardsley
People who enjoy this neighborhood in the city's Historic Old Northeast know that speed is often the biggest culprit.
"Maybe there should be signage to really slow, really slow down; because this is a residential area," said Sue Hargrave.
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