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New bumps, stripes in the road

Officials say it's too early to judge the effectiveness of several traffic-calming measures along S Village Drive.

But this much is clear: Everybody has noticed the bumps and stripes, and some people are seeing bicycle lanes that technically don't exist.

County workers, seeking to slow traffic on Carrollwood Village's main road, installed raised reflectors along the shoulder of the road, creating a 2-foot protected area between the reflectors and the curb.

"A bicycle lane is 4 feet in width and is clearly marked with a bicycle symbol," said Steve Valdez, community relations manager for the county. "These are less than half that amount and should not be used as bicycle lanes because they do not meet the standards for a safe bicycle lane."

Try telling that to John Pare, Phase I secretary of the Carrollwood Village Homeowners Association.

Pare, a retired attorney in the Cloisters, bikes along S Village to daily Mass at St. Paul's Catholic Church.

"Bicyclists like the idea of having a little protected area, even if it's only 2 feet," Pare said. "We'd prefer 4 feet, but 2 feet is better than nothing."

The county, seeking to cut down on speeding, took several steps along S Village.

Workers installed the reflectors and restriped the road. Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies have been on the road as well, writing citations.

"I think it's a good shot, but there are still those tailgaters," said Shirley Miller, a Village Green retiree.

Miller dreads the time she spends on S Village.

"It's dangerous out there," she said. "Even though I stay at 35 (miles per hour), which is the speed limit, they pull out with a vengeance into the other lane and go whizzing past me."

Valdez said the traffic-calming measures were approved by the state and federal governments.

"By narrowing the lane width, drivers feel like they have to be more attentive and slow down to stay within that confined space," he said.

Reflectors supplement the new stripes by providing a visual outline of the travel lane at night and by making a grumbling sound when motorists drive on them.

Like the residents, officials say it will take time to assess the measures' effectiveness.

"They wait about six months to go in and do a traffic speed study to see what impact it's had because traffic has to get accustomed to the new lane widths," Valdez said.

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