Study continues on Wesley Chapel congestion

The Metropolitan Planning Organization heard a report about the Wesley Chapel Roadway Connection project — along with pros and cons on various aspects of potential roadway connections during the board’s Dec. 13 meeting.

Some residents worry about safety issues near schools because of traffic congestion on Mansfield Boulevard. (File)

The presentation was for information only, with no action taken by the board.

Meghan McKinney, of the AECOM organization, has been collaborating with the MPO to conduct studies on the pros and cons of potential connections.

The project is focused on three potential connections:

  • Mansfield Boulevard and Kinnan Street
  • Meadow Pointe Boulevard and Meadow Pointe Boulevard Extension
  • Wyndfields Boulevard and Wyndfields Boulevard Extension

Public workshops have been held, as part of the study, in both April 2017 and May 2018.

“The reasons we wanted to do this study is we wanted to get public input, to hear if views have changed,” McKinney said.

In general, it’s a consensus in the community that the area’s roads can’t handle the current traffic demands, and there are especially concerns about safety near schools, she said.

Of all three potential connections, the most controversial involves a possible link between Mansfield Boulevard and Kinnan Street.

In a 2017 survey, 36 people said they favored the connection, while 37 people were opposed.

Several alternatives are being considered, McKinney said.

  • No Build Alternative: Would have no connections for public use but only provide a gate for emergency vehicles, and would make accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Alternative 1: Would focus on connecting Mansfield Boulevard and Kinnan Street
  • Alternative 2: Would focus on the Mansfield Boulevard/Kinnan Street and Meadow Pointe Boulevard Extension
  • Alternative 3: Meadow Pointe Boulevard Extension
  • Alternative 4: Mansfield Boulevard/Kinnan Street, Meadow Pointe Boulevard and Wyndfields Boulevard Extension

McKinney also told board members that regardless of which alternative is selected, the area’s traffic projections for 2040 reveals significant traffic increases.

“Basically you have an area where just by connecting the road, you’re not necessarily adding more people to the area,” she reasoned. “You’re just shifting the routes they may use.”

However, the projection also showed that the No Build Alternative would have its greatest increase near Beardsley Drive and Mansfield Boulevard.

The alternative’s biggest decrease in traffic would occur on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard between County Line Road and Cross Creek Boulevard, she said.

Aside from the road connection proposed, McKinney also addressed several planned improvements, including additional traffic lights and turning lanes.

One plan addresses concerns about traffic near schools on Mansfield Boulevard.

The bus drop-off and pick-up area near Dr. John Long Middle School contributes to the heavy congestion on the road, she said.

She suggested relocating the bus area from Wiregrass School Road onto Mansfield Boulevard, to enable a more steady flow of traffic.

A new crosswalk on the north side of Wiregrass School Road already is funded and underway, she said.

Another proposal calls for adding lanes at all four stops at the intersection of State Road 56 with Mansfield Boulevard, Meadow Pointe Boulevard and Wyndfields Boulevard.

Any road expansions on State Road 56 would be independent projects from the three proposed roadway connections, she said.

Published December 26, 2018

Comments

  1. Bonnie Rudge says

    The buses already use Wiregrass School road to enter the bus loop at Dr John Long Middle School. This article’s facts are somewhat behind; the backup on Mansfield Blvd is generated purely by parent traffic to an over crowded school. The only relief in sight for this area is when Cypress Creek Middle School opens in 2020 there will be fewer buses and fewer parents all trying to drop students off at the same time. Pasco County is in the middle of an unchecked growth spurt. Hopefully lessons will be learned!

    • Brian Fernandes says

      Hi Bonnie,

      My apologies for the error regarding the bus drop-off on Wiregrass School Road. Thank you for pointing that out. Although the physical paper has already been published, we did correct the online version.

      Best Regards,

      Brian Fernandes

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