Local transportation leaders urge FDOT to consider reducing lanes on E. Busch Blvd.

Hillsborough MPO says it could make road safer
Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 22:05:27-05

Local transportation leaders are asking FDOT to consider reducing lanes of East Busch Boulevard after more than a dozen of deaths.

Between 2010 and 2016, there were 105 incapacitating and deadly crashes on East Busch Boulevard between Nebraska Avenue and 56th Street, according to the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization. Fifteen of those crashes were deadly, six of which were the death of a person walking or cycling.

"Baby, I pray every day before I leave the house," one cyclist told ABC Action News.

He said the cars barely acknowledge pedestrians.

"They have no regard for human life or safety," he said.

In a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation, the Hillsborough MPO says that while having six lanes open during rush hour on East Busch Blvd., for the remaining 20+ hours of the day, the lanes aren't being used as much and contribute to speeding,  severe t-bone crashes and walking and biking crashes.

Pedestrians tell us people are going so fast that even when they cross at signal-protected crosswalks, cars often will not stop.

"Some of them don't even stop," said Annie Maxwell, who often walks along Busch Blvd. "Some of them do. It's very dangerous and you have to be very careful crossing."

This letter comes after FDOT studied this East Busch Blvd. corridor, where state transportation leaders looked at ways to reduce congestion, improve operations, and enhance safety on the corridor. FDOT also looked at the impact of reducing the lanes from six to four lanes.

The study found reducing the lanes would not be a recommended option because all six lanes are needed to handle the current and future congestion levels on the corridor, FDOT said.

However, The MPO has asked now asked FDOT to look for more ways to reduce the speed, and to further consider a lane reduction opportunity in spite of the impacts to congestion.

FDOT will be meeting with the MPO in the coming weeks to discuss next steps and additional follow-up studies.

In some cases, FDOT has reduced lanes to make conditions safer.

They recently approved a lane reduction on N 40th Street between I-4 and Hillsborough Avenue. The road was six lanes and FDOT plans to reduce it to four lanes and using the extra space to create a buffered bike lane.

N 40th Street carries only 26,500 vehicles per day and FDOT determined that the corridor could function acceptably as a four-lane road based on current and future traffic demand.

The 40th Street project is under construction and should be completed before the end of the year.

In comparison, East Busch Blvd is six lanes and carries 48,000 vehicles per day, which is nearly double the traffic on 40th Street, FDOT said.



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