St. Petersburg to make section of Fourth St. S. into two-way street

"I think it's wonderful.  I think it's absolutely wonderful," said Donna Boehner as she crossed 6 Ave S. near All Children's Hospital.

Boehner works at the hospital and her reaction seems to match the overall response to the City of St. Petersburg's plan to change a one block section of Fourth St. S. from one-way to two-way traffic.

"There should be a celebration," said Mike Frederick of the city's Transportation Department.  

Frederick says allowing traffic to flow in both directions for the short distance between Fourth and Fifth Avenues South will help ease the growing concerns over pedestrian safety around the All Children's and Bayfront Hospitals' complex.

Because of the dual left turn lanes a block before the one-way begins, most drivers trying to reach I-275 via I-175, pass through the medical district. Allowing northbound traffic to reach Fourth Ave. S. gives drivers a new and quicker way to reach the interstate.

"The time of travel will be expedited because you won't have to be impacted by other signalized intersections, crossing pedestrians and other congestion at the hospital district," Frederick explained.

Some hospital workers say they strategically pick their places to cross.

"It's like a race track through here sometimes.  And that corner down there is very dangerous," said Sylvia Hubbard, a nurse at Bayfront.

Dr. David Desper says making it safer for those who walk this congested area has been a long time coming.

"Anything we can do to relieve some of that traffic burden I think will be much safer crossing here," said Desper.

Officials expect work on the new two-way section of Fourth St. S. to be completed sometime  in the late spring or early summer.

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