PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Frustrating, challenging and brutal: that’s how drivers describe their commute through Pinellas County.
Yet, ABC Action News is committed to driving Tampa Bay Forward and uncovering the best ways to shave time off your commute.
We took your top congestion concerns to Ken Jacobs, Pinellas County's head traffic engineer, and found out these helpful solutions:
1. Avoid the “rush hour rampage." The worst times to travel in Pinellas County are between 7:30-8 a.m. and 5-5:30 p.m. Jacobs says even leaving your house 10 minutes earlier and leaving work 10 minutes later could shave off time spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic. “That’s when everybody is trying to get to work and everybody is leaving all at the same time,” Jacobs expressed.
2. While you might think you’re saving time taking the back roads, it could actually make your commute worse! More than 130 main roads in Pinellas County like U.S. 19 and Ulmerton Rd have smart technology, so if you're traveling in the direction of the most cars, the green lights last longer! Taking smaller roads like Bellaire Rd. or Belcher Rd. means shorter green lights.
Pinellas County driver Pauline Tickerhoof is accustomed to that frustration.“Sometimes it’s like, 'oh my gosh only 3 cars went through,'” she said.
3. Stick to the speed limit. The "InSync" smart traffic signals are timed to work with the speed, so going too fast or too slow means you’ll hit more red lights.
Driver Dale Danes says he has experience with that.
“If you’re sitting in traffic on asphalt 85-90 degrees, it’s hot!,” Danes exclaimed.
Danes often rides on his motorcycle with his furry dog sidekick George. The two plan to stick to their afternoon errands when Pinellas County roads are a little less hectic.
“I don’t want to fight with anybody, and I don’t want to get knocked off this motorcycle because that would hurt," he said with a dry chuckle.