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TRAFFIC CALMING PLAN IS ADJUSTED

The county approves a compromise to correct problems in Carrollwood Village.

Despite protests that the plan was still too vague, Hillsborough County commissioners Wednesday approved a compromise proposal that leaves most of Carrollwood Village's speed humps in place.

Commissioners voted 6-1, with Mark Sharpe in dissent, to accept a 21-point plan offered by an arbitrator the county brought in to address problems that have bedeviled the project for years.

"The ball has been dropped every step of the way," said County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan.

Under the new plan, which will add another $105,000 to a $2.3 million project, dozens of warning signs that residents say now clutter Carrollwood Village will be removed.

Most speed tables and speed cushions will stay in place, but some along Casey Road and Carrollwood Village Run will be removed. The compromise also directs the county to:

-Remove bike lane signs where lengthy stretches of bike lanes cannot be provided.

-Install speed feedback signs as planned.

-Check the slopes of all raised pavement and correct, if necessary, to prevent damage to cars.

The speed humps, raised speed tables, marked pavement and warning signs were installed as part of a project to reduce speeding and cut-through traffic in Carrollwood Village and Original Carrollwood.

But arbitrator Wilson Lorenz concluded that commissioners and their staff misapplied the use of traffic-calming measures. Typically, he wrote, those measures are used in small neighborhoods with limited access.

By contrast, Carrollwood Village has 3,200 homes and about 10,000 residents. As the project grew, he said, it became unmanageable.

Along the way, residents have complained that the signs clutter their neighborhood, while speed humps delay ambulances and damage vehicles.

On Casey Road, the raised intersection tables south of Lowell Road show signs of distress and wear and have needed patching.

"It looks like somebody's quilt," Commissioner Jim Norman said.

Before the vote, several residents complained that parts of the plan, such as a recommendation to re-evaluate whether speed humps had been put too close to curves and intersections, were not sufficiently fleshed out.

In response, county traffic services director Michael McCarthy said officials would develop a detailed work plan and alert residents as the changes are made. Work on some minor tasks could begin within a couple of weeks. And officials said they would return in six months to determine whether the changes work.

So are residents happy now?

"We don't know whether to be happy or not," said Carrollwood Village resident Libbie Jae.

"Because we don't know the specifics," Fairway Village resident Linda Krasne said.

But Jennifer Fritch, perhaps the most outspoken critic of the project, said things might work out yet.

McCarthy "did say he was going to work with us," she said. "I'll make sure he does."

Richard Danielson can be reached at Danielson@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3403.

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