Saturday, November 25, 2017
Transportation

Bloomingdale HOA pushes for widening of Lithia Pinecrest Road

RECOMMENDED READING


BRANDON — It's a mostly rural, two-lane road in a once-obscure corner of southeastern Hillsborough County that has evolved into a major connector between dense residential and commercial districts along Lumsden and Bloomingdale roads.

In the wake of increasing vehicular travel, Lithia Pinecrest Road has become the scene of more than 300 traffic accidents annually, some of them fatal, according to Suzy Motts, secretary of the Bloomingdale Homeowners Association.

"It's not just accidents. People are dying on Lithia Pinecrest," Motts told the Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, board Tuesday. "We need to do something now to save lives."

The HOA represents more than 23,000 residents and 5,200 homes, the equivalent of a small- to medium-sized city and one of the largest residential communities in Hillsborough County.

The dozen HOA members attending the MPO meeting want the planning group to encourage Hillsborough County to budget an estimated $100 million to widen the roadway to four or possibly six lanes, particularly between Lumsden Road and Bloomingdale Avenue.

Four years ago, the HOA was outvoiced by other residents opposed to the road-widening project, and the MPO decided not to place the road widening on its "cost-feasible" project list.

Beth Alden, the MPO's executive director, told the board Tuesday that although a project to widen Lithia Pinecrest is part of the county's longer-range transportation plan, it does not have an identified source of funding.

"We can't change its standing in the plan without a funding source," she said.

She suggested, and the MPO board agreed, to refer the HOA's request to the MPO's policy committee for review. That process could take up to six months.

The MPO is not a funding source or a road construction agency, Alden stressed after the meeting. What it can do is work with the county to identify worthwhile projects and funding sources to make them viable.

Those sources range from local property and sales taxes to state and federal grants. Because Lithia Pinecrest is not a state road, it is not eligible for most state or federal transportation funds, Alden said.

A state matching grant program would require the county to come up with $50 million from local or other sources, money the county does not have.

When asked if any realistic funds now exist that could cover the cost of widening Lithia Pinecrest, Alden said, "No."

The conversation is not deterring the Bloomingdale homeowners. HOA president George May said he and his thousands of residents are determined to push the project forward.

Contact Sheila Mullane Estrada at [email protected]

Comments
Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

The Largo Mall entrance stoplight on Ulmerton Road just east of Seminole Boulevard has been causing traffic delays on eastbound Ulmerton at Seminole Boulevard. It appears that the light at the Largo Mall entrance is being triggered on-demand by folks...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17
FDOT considers transit, other options for improving Fowler Avenue in USF area

FDOT considers transit, other options for improving Fowler Avenue in USF area

TAMPA — A new study eventually could lead to better traffic flow on Fowler Avenue while offering a variety of transportation options.The $500,000 study, to take up to 18 months, focuses on the University Area and the University of South Florida. It ...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/24/17
Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

PLANT CITY — After Liz Gately was told to wait outside the Plant City’s Tax Collector office to renew her car registration with her 1-year-old last week, the internet fought back. Facebook posts from Gately, 27, as well as bystanders and other mother...
Published: 11/16/17
Holiday events begin, annual traffic snarls follow

Holiday events begin, annual traffic snarls follow

A few favorite holiday events are gearing up and that means impact to traffic, starting with the annual Times Turkey Trot, which will temporarily close streets Thanksgiving morning in Clearwater beginning at 6 a.m. until approximately noon. The follo...
Published: 11/15/17
Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

PLANT CITY — Liz Gatley needed to renew her car registration. As if that task wasn’t cumbersome enough, she says a Department of Motor Vehicles manager told her she had to wait outside until she could be served because her 1-year-old daughter was wit...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

Still waiting for the Cross Bay Ferry to return? It’s going to be a while — say, 2018 at the earliest.The ferry’s supporters, most notably St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, had hoped to bring the boat back for another season after the first six-mon...
Updated one month ago

Work on Sunshine Skyway’s rest areas to last two more years

We often go fishing near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and are wondering what’s happening with the rest area and parking lot? It looks like there’s work going on there. How long will the rest area be closed off?Mike WalkerThis is a state Department of T...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/13/17
Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

TAMPA — Katharine Eagan, the leader of Hillsborough County’s transit agency, is leaving the job just a month after implementing a widespread overhaul of the county’s bus network.She will take over as CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny, Pa., which...
Updated one month ago
Speakers give mixed reviews to new Hillsborough bus-route overhaul

Speakers give mixed reviews to new Hillsborough bus-route overhaul

TAMPA — Hillsborough’s transit agency heard its first public comment Monday since overhauling its bus network and cutting about 20 percent of its routes last month.A handful of people spoke at the agency’s board meeting, with one praising the new net...
Updated one month ago
New DOT work plan includes $32 million for U.S. 41/SR 54 interchange

New DOT work plan includes $32 million for U.S. 41/SR 54 interchange

LAND O’LAKES — Twenty-one months ago, the Florida Department of Transportation said it was hitting the brakes on planning improvements at a traffic-clogged intersection in central Pasco.Instead, the DOT said it would await recommendations from Pasco ...
Updated one month ago