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Hillsborough County leaders make road safety improvements at all schools, change speed limits

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Posted at 6:41 AM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 07:27:37-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — With school being back in session, that means more traffic congestion across the Tampa Bay area.

“The traffic conditions are going to change. We’ve had five months of the way it is,” said Hillsborough County Engineering Manager Bob Campbell.

At all schools in Hillsborough County, workers installed new pavement markings to make it safer for children who cross the street.

They also cleaned up traffic signs at all schools countywide to make sure drivers can see them so they’ll slow down.

“Safety is the bottom line for Hillsborough County. The safety of school children are one of the primary things we deal with countywide. So it has to be provided,” said Campbell.

Traffic leaders tell us they did all of this because the county wants to decrease crash rates.

Campbell says school zones are particularly sensitive to more crashes because they have young children with different behavioral characteristics.

Hillsborough County has established new school zones and installed student-safety infrastructure around two new schools in southern Hillsborough County.

“This particular location, it’s the change for the people in this area. The speed limit is changing so we want them to be aware of that and look out for the safety of all drivers and plan accordingly,” said Campbell.

The county says the new school zones are just part of a larger effort to improve safety for students and parents accessing Hillsborough’s school buildings.

New student safety infrastructure includes pedestrian-activated crossing lights, blackout boxes that prevent right-hand turns when pedestrians are present, new crossing markings, and new stop bars.

Leaders say this is supposed to support crossing guards and make schools safer. Some other changes in southern Hillsborough that could affect commutes:

  • New school zone and pedestrian infrastructure at the new Sumner High School on Balm Road just east of U.S. 301. This school also has a new traffic light in front of the school. Balm Road’s full-time speed limit also dropped to 25 miles per hour from U.S. 301 to Clement Pride Boulevard.
  • Big changes around Deer Park Elementary where the new Citrus Park Extension is under construction. The county says crews have worked to prepare the northern lanes of Citrus Park Drive for parents to safely drop off and pick up schoolchildren. There is a new sidewalk and new crossing infrastructure at Citrus Park Drive and Countryway Boulevard to help pedestrians and bicyclists access the school as well.
  • Belmont Elementary on Gate Dancer Road also is new and has the pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, new crossings, and a school zone just north of Paseo Al Mar Boulevard.