County Improvements Promote Safety, Traffic Flow at Schools
Traffic outside Farnell Middle and Bryant Elementary schools was a problem - for students crossing busy Nine Eagles Drive, parents transporting students, and motorists driving past the adjacent campuses.
"We witnessed cars driving over the median, cars gunning the gas to get around traffic (while) not looking for pedestrians, cars pulling out of neighborhoods so fast they even jump the road and end up in the ditch," says parent Kimberly LaMura of last year's traffic woes. Kimberly is the mother of second- and fourth-graders at Bryant Elementary.
On many trips to or from the campuses, she says, parents would encounter impatient drivers yelling out of their windows or honking their horns. Afternoon dismissal at Farnell and Bryant was the worst, with many students leaving the campuses simultaneously.
In an effort to solve the problems, Hillsborough County Public Works partnered with sheriff's deputies and school officials to address the potentially dangerous situation, and to make changes.
Safety is much improved. The roadway is wider and signage is more effective. Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies help students from both schools cross Nine Eagles, before and after classes.
Representatives of the three entities - Public Works, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, and the Hillsborough County Schools - meet regularly to discuss safety and access issues on roadways near school campuses throughout the County.
In front of Farnell Middle and Bryant Elementary, Public Works spearheaded these projects:
• Extend a southbound turn lane in front of the schools by 270 feet.
• Resurface southbound lanes of Nine Eagles, from in front of the school campuses north to Chase Grove Drive.
• Repaint and updated pavement markings.
• Reprogram traffic signal to better accommodate students and motorists.
Traffic Engineering also restricted travel on an eastbound exit from the schools to protect students crossing Nine Eagles.
"School accessibility has greatly improved after the Nine Eagles Road extension," says Bryant Principal Ellen Oberschall. "We have received positive feedback from the community and continue to see the positive impact this project has made in the daily arrival and dismissal of our students."