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Road improvement projects in design to improve safety in West Tampa

New traffic light for MacDill & Green St.
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Posted at 5:21 AM, Apr 09, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Two road improvement projects are in the design phase to upgrade traffic safety in West Tampa, including filling in dangerous drainage ditches on Glen Avenue and putting a traffic light near a neighborhood elementary school.

For years, Maria Castillo with the MacFarlane Park Neighborhood Association has been seeing drivers crash into the drainage ditches along Glen Avenue near her West Tampa home.

"People will cut through the neighborhood and if they don't realize how deep those ditches are, someone falls in the ditch," she said.

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Neighbors say drivers continually fall into the drainage ditches along Glen Avenue because the road is too narrow. Now, the City of Tampa is designing a project to fill them in.

She said Glen Avenue is simply too narrow and many drivers are just not aware.

"There's just no way around it if two vehicles don't fit," Castillo said.

ABC Action News has been tracking this problem for two years and found out last year that fixes were scheduled. But then, nothing happened. So we checked in again with the city to see if the project was delayed or canceled.

After being made aware of the problems of people driving into the drainage ditches, the City of Tampa undertook a drainage study to look at the feasibility of closing the ditches on Glen Ave. and found this to be feasible.

This project is currently in design. The City is proposing sidewalk on the east side of the road as well. Design should be completed by late 2021.

Preliminary construction costs are $600,000.

This project was approved in 2020 under the All for Transportation Surtax by the Independent Oversight Committee. However, with the recent Supreme Court decision, planned funding has been eliminated. The City is currently looking for other funding opportunities for this project, according to the city.

There have also been concerns about speeding and crashes from neighbors around MacFarlane Park Elementary School, located near the busy intersection of MacDill and Green St in West Tampa.

Neighbors pushed for a speed study, which was completed in September 2020. According to city transportation engineers, the study captured over 200 observations of free flowing vehicles during the study period.

While the posted speed limit for the zone is 35 mph, most drivers were traveling around 42 mph, with the highest speed recorded at any time at 55 mph.

Currently, the City is preparing design plans for a traffic signal at the intersection of MacDill Ave. and Green St.

There has been a series of crashes at this intersection. The total project cost is $75,000.

Installation is expected in Summer of 2021, according to the city.