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Port Tampa residents worry about roads, intersection

Jill Buford, president of the Civic Association of Port Tampa, sits on the deck of her home near the problem intersection at Interbay Boulevard and S West Shore Boulevard in Tampa.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Jill Buford, president of the Civic Association of Port Tampa, sits on the deck of her home near the problem intersection at Interbay Boulevard and S West Shore Boulevard in Tampa.

Generally, we are a quiet neighborhood with very little crime. We have many service organizations in the community, and we take care of our own.

Here is our biggest concern: Long-neglected roads and the intersection of Interbay Boulevard, West Shore Boulevard and Commerce Street.

The Port Tampa neighborhood asked for a flashing yellow light to alert motorists to this bowed T intersection 10 years ago.

Glass bus stops have been demolished at this intersection; bus benches have been hit at this intersection. One neighbor has huge boulders in her yard just south of this intersection — just to make sure cars that miss the curve don't end up in her living room again.

This intersection sits between two school crossings, and still it does not even have a crosswalk.

Although the industrial trucks and gasoline tankers are dangerous, most of us accept them as part of Port Tampa's identity.

The city of Tampa promised a $1.2 million traffic circle 10 years ago — one big enough for our industrial trucks to maneuver. They spent money and made all kinds of plans.

Of course, there was no money to actually build it, and the plans eventually fell by the wayside.

I became president of the Civic Association of Port Tampa again recently, and I am working on the same problem from 10 years ago!

All we really want is a flashing warning light and a crosswalk for our kids to get to school, or our residents to walk to the store. All the sidewalks are there, but where is the crosswalk?

The city responds

The city plans no changes to the intersection at this time, said Jean Dorzback, transportation manager. The city surveyed the intersection last July and concluded that the amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic did not warrant a crosswalk with a blinking light across Interbay Boulevard. Studies also were conducted in 2006 and 2007, Dorzback said.

"We're very familiar with the location.''

James Burnside, transportation design chief, acknowledged that a roundabout was once proposed. However, officials abandoned that idea because trucks that occasionally haul long concrete beams along the route could not make it through without knocking down traffic signs along the side of the road.

Burnside, who met with the civic association in 2006, said officials also considered installing a stoplight at some point. However, the traffic volume was barely enough to warrant it. He did not recommend the stoplight because relatively few accidents happen there — usually late-night, single-vehicle crashes — and a traffic light could actually increase the number of accidents, caused by motorists running the red light or rear-ending stopped cars. Instead, he suggested better street lighting and more warning signs, such as the signs that alert motorists of the curve from West Shore to Commerce, and that was done.

Newly elected Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, in whose district the intersection is located, said he plans to meet with the civic association to discuss all improvements wanted in the neighborhood, including at the intersection, and set priorities.

Philip Morgan, Times staff writer

.Fast facts

About this series

With changing faces at City Hall — from the City Council to the mayor's office — City Times wanted to know which neighborhood concerns will face our new leaders and their ideas for resolution. So we asked community leaders to tell us. We'll publish those concerns, in residents' own voices, along with responses from officials. If you want to submit a letter for Your Voice, please send it to City Times editor Sharon Tubbs at tubbs@sptimes.com or by mail to 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602.

Port Tampa residents worry about roads, intersection 05/05/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2011 4:30am]
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