DADE CITY — Getting in and out of the Pines subdivision off State Road 52 is hard enough, residents say — especially when there's heavy traffic at the Pasco County Fairgrounds or Dade City Motocross track across the way.
"We already feel landlocked by traffic during the county fair and races," said Patty Titsworth, president of the Pines Homeowners Association. "We have to play chicken to get across 52."
She and the other homeowners fear the problem will get worse with the city's construction of the Morningside Drive extension, a new bypass that will connect SR 52 to Fort King Road, and eventually, to U.S. 301.
The Morningside Drive extension will meet SR 52 across from Adair Road, the entrance to the Pines. Residents there want a traffic signal now — before a terrible crash happens.
"We all dread what it takes to get a traffic light installed. I don't want to be one of those fatalities," said Titsworth, who experienced her share of emergencies as a fire department dispatcher for 23 years in Hollywood, Fla. "We have over 100 mobile homes back here and it only takes six minutes for one to burn down," she added.
City attorney Karla Owens said the plans for the road grew out of a Pasco School Board decision in 2005. "They wanted to close Stadium Drive because it crosses the Pasco High School campus," Owens said. "Then (Pasco Regional Medical Center) insisted on a connection between SR 52 and their property. The solution was to create a loop from Morningside Drive behind the school through the fairgrounds. I was told that a new traffic light would go in when the development was started."
Still, any decision on a traffic signal on SR 52 would have to go through the state Department of Transportation. Mayor Scott Black urged Titsworth to take her concerns to state officials.
"With this traffic issue, I'm ready to go to the mat, go door to door, or contact the state and county to get relief," she said.