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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, June 02, 2006

A senior zone

Couldn't this apply to half the state of Florida?

TAMPA - Drivers are familiar with the concept of a school zone - when the yellow light flashes, the speed limit drops to 15 mph in most cases - but it's unlikely any have encountered a "senior zone."

If a Hillsborough County commissioner and more than 600 senior citizens have their way, a portion of Fletcher Avenue in front of John Knox Village could become a designated senior zone.

The posted speed limit in front of 4100 E. Fletcher Ave. is 45 mph, but complaints from residents and employees have prompted Blair and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to recommend lowering it to accommodate drivers entering and exiting John Knox Village.

"In this hustle-and-bustle world, we sometimes forget that our seniors move a little more cautiously," Blair said. "I have diligently tried to get a stoplight at the entrance of John Knox, as the residents have requested. The county traffic engineers say it's not warranted, but I don't think looking at accidents and traffic numbers tells the whole story. It doesn't take into account the near-misses our seniors face."

School zones typically are activated during certain hours of the day. How a senior zone would be implemented is up to the county's traffic engineers, Blair said.

Possibilities include constantly flashing lights indicating a slower speed or vehicles activating the zone prior to pulling out onto Fletcher Avenue.


Residents first made the request in 1989, and the latest plea was May 17.


On a motion from Commissioner Rhonda Storms, the commission instructed Bean to investigate a solution that would require cooperation from University of South Florida. In interviews this week, however, traffic engineers said the only viable solution may come with the widening of Fletcher Avenue, which is years away.

The volume of traffic and crashes does not support installation of a traffic signal, said Mike McCarthy, division director for the Traffic Services Division.

John Knox's entrance also is too close to the intersections of Fletcher with North Palm Drive and North 42nd Street, he said. The intersections are 50 feet apart and have traffic signals and crosswalks to accommodate USF students.

The county recently spent $1.8 million to add turn lanes at the intersections, according to Public Works Director Bob Gordon.


From May 2005 through last month, Hillsborough deputies issued 470 traffic tickets on Fletcher Avenue between 50th Street and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Three serious traffic crashes were reported during that period.

With the current situation making chances for a traffic signal slim, commissioners asked Bean to meet with USF President Judy Genshaft about moving an electrical substation at North Palm Drive. If moved, the county could realign that intersection with 42nd Street, get rid of the traffic signal and install one at John Knox Village.


Moving the substation is a major undertaking, said Ron Hanke, USF's director of facilities, planning and construction.

"This substation provides about 90 percent of the power to our campus," he said. "I couldn't even guess how many millions of dollars that would cost, but we are willing to meet with the county to discuss it."

You know the saying a million here and a million there. Would this senior zone even work?

Having lived in Florida long enough, I know how little effect flashing lights have. Drivers just keep on going as if it means nothing. Yours truly included.

As to the Traffic Services division, my own experience with these folks is they prefer inaction to action. Only after a tragedy of enough importance do they decide to make changes to their sacred traffic plans. So I don't put much credence in what these people say.

What is probably half at work here is certain seniors wanting special treatment and the politicians who pander to them. Just read the article, they've been asking for this for 17 years. The Tribune other than for 2005 reports none of the history of this road area. I'm not against seniors getting protected(I'll be one myself in another decade. Yikes!) but is what they are asking needed?

Open Post- Bright & Early, Stuck on Stupid

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