US 19 in Clearwater to get new signs

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Clearwater businesses hope help is on the way in pointing drivers to them. Restaurant and store owners say construction has made it difficult to find their storefronts.

But the city is looking to take action, implementing new signs.

Drivers on the Clearwater section of US Highway 19 North have a love-hate relationship with the busy north-south road. While it can whisk you around much faster now that overpasses are in place, finding a particular business can be difficult.

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Part of the problem on this road is you often have to get off US 19 well before the place you want to go. Sometimes you have to get off a mile beforehand. In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation prohibits signs on 19 itself.

That’s why the new plan is in the works to help drivers find where they want to go.

Hot food is ready for hungry people at the A&N Italian Deli off US 19. For almost 35 years “Momma” Delia and her family have cooked their Italian specialties.

But right outside their window, the newest flyover is taking potential customers up and over her place. “On 19, they go straight. It’s hard to see down, only if you go on the surface road; then they see me,” Nancy “Momma” Delia explained.

Even the mention of new signs to point the way to her business brings a smile. “I would love it. You kidding me? That’s what we’ve been waiting for. You know, something to make people know that we’re still here,” Delia said.

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The owners of this deli hope new signs bring new life to this plaza and their store. “I think it’s an excellent idea. Definitely needs, the local businesses with all the construction, ya know. We lost a lot of our regular customers and stuff, so it’ll help out a lot,” Delia’s son, Marco Delia, said.

Clearwater city leaders are considering a signage makeover along the seven-mile stretch of US 19. The idea is to make them uniform and bring an identity to the area.

“We want to help them find their way to the businesses and parks and locations along the corridor,” said Gina Clayton with the City of Clearwater’s Department of Planning and Development.

There are three designs being kicked around. They would replace what’s out there now. The city will have to figure out where to put them since they can’t go directly on 19.

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