LARGO, Fla. - Waiting at one light-cycle after another, drivers near Largo Mall are upset by the gridlock they encounter every single day, and the holiday shopping rush is only making the problem worse.
The Largo Mall entrance stoplight on Ulmerton Road just east of Seminole Boulevard is considered a “smart” intersection, which turns on-demand for people leaving Largo Mall on the south side and the Publix/Home Depot on the north side. However, drivers going East or West on Ulmerton Boulevard sometimes have to wait one, two, even three light cycles because traffic is backed up from the Largo Mall entrance down a few blocks to Seminole Boulevard. Pinellas County traffic engineers says they’re looking into the bottleneck.
The intersection has caused traffic tie-ups for years, but with seasonal residents back in town and holiday shopping in full swing, the gridlock around Largo Mall is getting worse.
Pinellas County’s traffic team tells us they’re looking at changes to expedite traffic going north and south. They’re also looking into the possibility of better synchronizing the lights on Ulmerton Road.
Pinellas County engineers who work in at the traffic control center in Clearwater keep tabs on hundreds of intersections. They know the “smart” technology isn’t perfect, but overall, it has reduced commute times by 15%.
If you’ve noticed a problem with your commute or ongoing gridlock, you can call the engineers directly at 727-464-8926. The line is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you call to report a problem, the traffic engineers can actually in some cases fix the problem while you’re at the light, telling it to turn from red to green.
Ken Jacobs, Pinellas County’s Transportation Director explains, “It might just be adding a second or two and that’ll take care of the problem. We can't have eyes on every intersection, so we really rely on the public's help to solve any issues.”