South Tampa neighbors question city about not installing new speed humps

TAMPA — It's a residential road sandwiched between busy Himes Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway - neighbors say drivers zip through South Sterling Avenue and ignore speed limit signs to avoid traffic.

"They don’t care, they just don’t care. As long as it’s not their neighborhood,” said BJ Jabbari, who lives on Kensington avenue. 

Many neighbors would like to see speed humps installed. 

"Real speed bumps are kind of bad for your car and people dislike them more, speed humps tend to be a little easier on the car and I do think they slow people down,” said Nick Robertson, who lives one street over on Himes Avenue.  

But the city doesn’t install them anymore. 

"It’s very costly to put them in and they are hard to take out once they are there and then we see the problem being relocated on an adjacent street where there aren’t any speed tables,” said Jean Duncan, the Director of Transportation. 

She says it’s simply moving the problem to another street. Plus, she says police and fire officials don’t like them either because it takes away time getting to a crucial call.

But neighbors and folks with Complete Streets Tampa, a local advocacy group, say earlier this year the city went to South Sterling Avenue, north of Plant High School and repaved the road. They say the speed humps there were removed, and then re-installed.

They can't understand why the city won't add new ones if they will spend time and money on the old ones.

"The speed humps were completely taken out and ground down completely and then it was left like that for, I would say a month or so,” said Kim DeGance, a neighbor who is active in Complete Streets Tampa. 

The City of Tampa did a study on the road, but determined it didn’t meet its technical requirements for a speeding location. To increase awareness of the speed limit, city crews came out and painted markings on the pavement. 

"A couple of stripes, if somebody is speeding is not gonna do anything,” said Jabbari.

Robertson and Sidewalk Stompers, another advocacy group, say a stop sign in front of Corona park, with a crosswalk would be ideal with all of the kids in the area. DeGance wants that too, especially after a car hit a child in 2016. But the city says right now there are no plans to do anything else to South Sterling avenue.

“Anything we do in transportation is never going to make everyone happy. We are always making compromises and trying to strike a balance,” said Duncan. “Stop signs are often viewed as a traffic calming measure and they are not. We have to follow state and federal guidelines. We can’t just put them in because we think it would help people to slow down and not speed.”

"I don’t agree with there always needing to be a study. We're right by a park, that should be evidence in itself that you need a crosswalk right there,” DeGance said.

Robertson says another concern is a lack of continuous sidewalks. He likes to bike, and says he wouldn’t do it here.

"I just don’t feel safe and kind of compared to a lot of people I’d be comfortable on a lot of streets but not in Tampa,” he said. "I know they’ve got a lot of priorities at the city but especially with that crash on Bayshore the other day and that poor family I kind of wish they’d step up their game a little."

Complete Streets would like to sit down and have a conversation with the Mayor, but they say they haven’t been able to get that meeting. 

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