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Some neighbors say speeders turning street near Temple Terrace into 'racetrack'

Riverhills Drive runs along the Hillsborough River near Temple Terrace
Riverhills Drive DTBF WFTS.png
Posted at 7:58 AM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 07:58:57-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Riverhills Drive is largely a residential street, but sometimes, it’s hard for Jason Klaaren to tell. Sometimes, the road — which runs parallel to the north shore of the Hillsborough River between Tampa and Temple Terrace — can feel more like a racetrack.

“It can get pretty hectic as far as standing here trying to just pick up trash and stuff,” he said.

He grew up at a home not far from Riverhills Drive’s intersection with North 40th Street. His father, Terry, moved to that home in 1977.

Since that day, he and his son say more and more people have learned to use this road — near Temple Terrace — as a shortcut.

“They’re coming up 40th Street, which is a major artery headed all the way up to the university and Busch Gardens, and it crosses Busch Boulevard — about five blocks north of here — and if you cut through Riverhills Drive — and I shouldn’t advertise this, because it’ll just invite people — but it cuts a big chunk out of that and puts you back over at 56th Street and the river,” said Terry.

Along the winding, hilly stretch between North 40th and North 56th Streets, the speed limit is posted at 30 miles per hour and even as low as 20 miles per hour in some places. Neighbors, however, believe some drivers are traveling much faster.

Brett Abren, one of the neighbors, contacted the ABC Action News Driving Tampa Bay Forward tipline about the speeding problem. Making matters worse, she said Riverhills Drive has no bike lanes and sidewalks are absent along many stretches.

“It’s dangerous just walking to the mailbox, putting trash out or just leaving the driveway,” she wrote. “We desperately need help.”

At least one neighbor has posted yard signs facing the road which makes a personal appeal requesting drivers slow down.

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“As I am worried about the speeding here, other neighbors here that have been here for 20 plus years and not even they are also noticing it, and you know, it makes us a little nervous,” added Jason Klaaren.

His father, Terry, said the speeding problem could be worse.

“I don’t consider it to be an emergency,” he said. “I think it’s bad manners on behalf of a lot of bad drivers.”

But, in the same interview, Terry admitted that he’s lost two cats to cars on Riverhills Drive, would not let his son play in the front yard growing up, and almost got hit by a speeder himself on his first day at his Riverhills Drive home 45 years ago.

“It was a very close call,” he said. “My wife stood there and watched me almost die.”

Ultimately, he and his son would like to see more police patrols to ticket speeders on the corridor.

“They could easily set up a car and get them in the act,” Jason said. “There would be no time to slow down.”

According to online maps, the road is covered by multiple jurisdictions, since part is in Temple Terrace and another section is within Tampa city limits.

Do you know of a speeding or traffic issue in your neighborhood or on your commute? If so, you can contact our Driving Tampa Bay Forward tip line at this link.