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Clearwater Police debut new license plate reader

Clearwater Police debut new license plate reader

Clearwater, FL -- The Clearwater Police Department put some new traffic-related technology into service to help support its crime fighting efforts.

With 70 percent of all crime connected to a vehicle, the new automatic License Plate Reader (LPR) equips police with the ability to process up to 1,500 license plates per minute.

The Clearwater Police Department put two LPRs into service two weeks ago during a training phase. In the first two weeks, officers arrested one person for grand theft and another for stolen license plates.

The camera, which is mounted on a police cruiser, captures vehicle license plates numbers and runs them for law enforcement information such as stolen vehicles/tags and registration issues. It will also be able to identify suspended or revoked licenses and arrest warrants.

Pinehurst Road construction next two weeks

Pinehurst Road construction next two weeks

Dunedin, FL -- The City of Dunedin will be closing lanes on Pinehurst Road this week and part of next week during its reconstruction project.

Pinehurst Road between Ohio Avenue and Michigan Boulevard will be closing northbound and southbound lanes from Dec. 27 - Dec. 31 and again on Jan. 3 - Jan. 5 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. while existing asphalt is replaced. The road will still be accessible to drivers with only one lane, either the northbound or southbound lane, being closed at a time.

Pinellas roadway one of the most dangerous in the region

Pinellas roadway one of the most dangerous in the region

Pinellas County, FL - One of Pinellas County's main thoroughfares is also one of the most dangerous roads in the greater Bay area. The stretch of road runs through the entire length of the county, and has caused more traffic-related deaths per year than anywhere else in the region.

In 2004, 30 people died on U.S. 19, the peak in the past several years. The average has leveled out to around 20 deaths per year - a high number attributed mainly to intermittent high speeds and notorious congestion.

The number of fatal crashes is also due to the fact that there are residential stretches of the road interspersed with industrial, multi-lane sections. When some residents are turning into their driveways while other motorists are speeding past at highway speeds, the likelihood of an accident increases.

Pedestrian death rates are also high on the road, with 10 involved in fatal crashes in 2010.

County commissioners to discuss pedestrian safety

County commissioners to discuss pedestrian safety

Pinellas county, FL - County commissioners will meet tomorrow with the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization to discuss a variety of transportation-related agenda items.

In one of the final public meetings of the year, which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 20, at the Pinellas County Planning Department in Clearwater, the Board will address the election of a Vice Chairman, the Florida Transportation Plan 2060, and "Stop for Pedestrian" law and signage.

The most notable agenda item, particularly on the heels of the 9 deaths of bicyclists in nearby Hillsborough county since mid-2010, is the discussion and sharpening of the FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program.

Pinellas inches toward rail referendum

Pinellas inches toward rail referendum

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida - After a proposed one-cent sales tax for transportation improvements was rejected by voters in Hillsborough County, leaders across the bay want to ask the same question of their residents.

The Pinellas County Transportation Task Force (TTF), a coalition of business and elected leaders, voted Monday afternoon to recommend a one-cent sales tax for light rail, additional bus lines, and road improvements. 

High winds delay cruise ship, 2 cargo vessels

High winds delay cruise ship, 2 cargo vessels

Tampa, Florida (AP) -- High winds are keeping a cruise ship and two cargo ships from getting into Tampa Bay.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday the pilots of the Carnival Inspiration and the two cargo vessels are worried about negotiating the pylons of the Sunshine Skyway bridge in high winds. And conditions were getting worse.

A Carnival spokesman said the 2,000-passenger, 855-foot Inspiration was due in to the port in downtown Tampa at around 8 a.m. Monday.

Petty Officer 1st Class Mariana O'Leary, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said it's up to the pilots of the ships to determine when it's  safe to pass under the bridge, which spans the mouth of Tampa Bay.

Clearwater Council OK's red light cameras

Clearwater Council OK's red light cameras

Clearwater, Florida -The city council tonight approved the installation of red light cameras at several busy intersections next year.

The vote was 3-2.

The local ordinance cited the safety hazard red light running poses to citizens, and the need to reduced the practice. The program would be overseen by the city police department.

The ordinance does not specify where the detectors would be installed, but many of them are expected along Gulf-To-Bay Boulevard.