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Dangerous intersection made a 'high priority' for City of Lakeland

Posted: 2:47 PM, Feb 07, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-07 17:48:37-05
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LAKELAND, Fla. — As a part of our Driving Tampa Bay Forward promise, ABC Action News is getting answers for Lakeland residents who came to us for help.

Those living along Kathleen Road and West 10th Street in Lakeland say they’re worried for their own safety.

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Tiffany Courchaine has lived on the corner of the intersection for three years and says she walks to work everyday. On her way to and from work, she’s experienced almost being hit in the crosswalk.

“Somebody is going to die in this intersection because drivers are not paying attention,” Courchaine says.

Courchaine, who often sits on her porch watching traffic, says it’s a multitude of issues.

Between speed, the amount of traffic, lack of lanes and pedestrians, other walkers also say it’s an everyday hazard.

“It’s very dangerous even if you are walking across here,” said Franklin Riley.

Riely has lived along Kathleen Road for about 20 years. He says the road has never been so dangerous as it is now.

“The traffic that is coming they speeding so much a lot of them be doing above the speed limit all the time,” Riley said.

In the area of the Kathleen Road and West 10th Street, the speed limit is 45 mph, but according to neighbors, traffic is going much faster.

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“Easily 55-60 all day long,” Courchaine said.

ABC Action News went to the City of Lakeland for answers. We found out there have been 14 crashes within 100 feet of the intersection in the last year.

Just this week, a bicyclist was hit and suffered minor injuries while riding in the crosswalk.

The City of Lakeland also told ABC Action News the Florida Department of Transportation recently finished an extensive multi-year study on Kathleen Road, including the Kathleen Road and W. 10th Street intersection.

The Florida DOT recently completed an extensive multi-year study of transportation needs throughout much of north central Lakeland called the Lakeland Area Alternatives Analysis (LAAA).  One of the main corridors studied through the LAAA analysis was State Road 539/Kathleen Road.  The study included a field review of the entire corridor by State and local planners and engineers, public input and analysis of traffic data throughout the corridor as part of an overall Corridor Action Plan.  During the field review and based on input from neighborhood comments about the need for separate left-turn (green arrow) phases in the east-west direction, the FDOT-City team looked more closely at the Kathleen Road/10th Street intersection and our options are limited due to right-of-way constraints, the intersection configuration and what options will actually make the intersection operate more safely and efficiently.  Ultimately, a more extensive operational study was recommended and was included as a high-priority item by the Lakeland City Commission through Resolution #5495 along with other important projects identified in the LAAA.  A substantial number of bicyclists and pedestrians actually cross Kathleen Road south of 10th Street, closer to the 9th Street/Providence Road intersection, to access a nearby convenience store and other retail in the area. The study recommended other short-term pedestrian safety improvements south of 10th Street to address this need as is shown below--the City has asked that these improvements be prioritized for funding in the FDOT Five-Year budget. 

 
"FDOT has been a very proactive partner in improving bicycle/pedestrian safety in the entire Kathleen Road corridor — I have copied David Wheeler and Deborah Chesna to provide any updates or feedback that I may have missed here,” the city said in an email.

While the City of Lakeland has made this a priority intersection to improve in the next five years, neighbors aren’t sure that’s soon enough.

“They pay no regard to people trying to cross Kathleen,” Courchaine said.