CARROLLWOOD — Residents say they are tired of being jerked around — literally — by their roads.
Several years ago, the Hillsborough County Commission authorized several dozen raised intersections and speed humps in Original Carrollwood. The massive project, which included Carrollwood Village, came in response to residents' complaints about speeders who used their streets as shortcuts to nearby businesses.
But now Original Carrollwood homeowners complain that the county project was overkill. The raised intersections and speed humps, they say, have damaged vehicles, delayed emergency response times and even diminished their quality of life.
"It's like an obstacle course to have to leave your house to go someplace," said Vicki Butts, who has lived here 16 years. "You plan your trip based on which will be the least amount of speed humps that you have to go over to get to a major road."
The county released a report this week by an arbitrator that the County Commission hired to review the matter. The arbitrator recommends that six of 25 speed tables, three speed humps and two raised crosswalks be removed in Original Carrollwood. Altogether, the arbitrator has suggested $168,100 worth of modifications.
The County Commission plans to discuss the recommendations at its meeting Thursday. It has the final say on whether or not changes will be made.
The arbitrator's report also outlines how divided homeowners are on the topic. During a March public meeting held at Carrollwood Elementary School, proponents nearly equaled opponents.
Supporters said the calming measures have made the neighborhood safer for children and increased property values.
"Traffic calming clearly has helped," Kent Fast told the crowd.
Cars used to race up and down the streets, he said, especially along Lake Carroll Way, where he lives. Once, a drag racing teen ran into a tree near Fast's home and almost hit him, he said.
Mark Snellgrove, longtime leader of the Carrollwood Civic Association, has watched this issue play out over the years.
He remembers when neighbors began lobbying the county to install traffic-calming devices and the initial plan in 2006. When construction began in 2008, however, some said that too many were being installed.
Snellgrove wrote to the County Commission requesting modifications. He said the county responded and, in 2009, changed the work plan for Original Carrollwood. County officials have already made modifications in Carrollwood Village and finalized their efforts there.
Original Carrollwood, which is north of Busch Boulevard and east of Dale Mabry Highway, currently has 12 raised brick intersections, 25 speed tables and eight other forms of traffic calming. Critics want to see more speed humps removed.
"It's a very divisive issue; there's no perfect solution," Snellgrove said. "The people that like it love it, and the people that hate it really hate it."
Neighbors who live on main roads including Orange Grove, Lake Carroll Way and McFarland Road seem to be more in favor of the project because speeding and cut-through traffic affect them most, Snellgrove said.
On the other side, complaints about overkill resonate as people often cross a half-dozen or more humps each time they enter or leave the neighborhood.
"Based on the original plan, it's clearly excessive," he said. "There is no doubt about it."
Tia Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3405.