The Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization plans to embark on three studies aimed at improving opportunities for the county to attract state and federal funding.
One will focus on Pasco County’s Freight Transportation Plan, a second will zero in on d the Zephyrhills Multiuse Path and the third will focus on the U.S. 19 corridor in West Pasco.
Carl Mikyska, executive director of Pasco MPO, described the importance of the freight study this way: “We are a county that has a number of great opportunities. I want to use that freight plan to not only improve freight access and mobility, while preserving the quality of life for our residents, I want to use it as an economic attractor tool — to grow, to develop in a manner that’s careful, but increases our tax base.”
Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano also seized on the potential: “That spur up in Lacoochee should be a part of that study.”
Pasco County Commission Chairman Ron Oakley also reiterated comments he’d made previously about the potential for the Lacoochee area.
Mikyska also talked about the need — when conducting corridor studies — to consider a variety of perspectives.
When looking at the U.S. 19 corridor, for instance, the examination must go beyond traffic and congestion, he said.
Corridor studies define the conditions of the route, what options may be available to address safety, congestion, or other mobility needs and what limitations may be present, according to the MPO board’s Aug. 12 backup materials. Examples of limitations might include environmental conditions that should be avoided and/or the need to purchase right-of-way.
Planning studies are used to determine which transportation alternatives may be advanced and which alternatives may be eliminated from further consideration. Planning-level studies of corridors also help to more carefully define anticipated improvement project costs, the backup materials say.
Besides approving the proposed corridor studies, the transportation planning board also agreed with Mikyska’s suggestion to join MetroPlan Orlando in its efforts to extend its Transportation System Management & Operations (TSM&O) system.
MetroPlan, which is the MPO organization for Orlando, has been working on its system for years and seeks to extend it from Daytona Beach, on the Atlantic Coast over to the Tampa metro region on the Gulf Coast.
The TSM&O approach involves using technology to improve the performance of the transportation system rather than through more expensive options, such as roadway widening, according to agenda backup materials.
Examples of TSM&O include dynamic message signs on the interstate warning of traffic congestion ahead, traveling in a corridor at the speed limit with consistent green signals, and cable infrastructure to assist with broadband connectivity, the agenda materials say.
The idea is to use those strategies, in a coordinated fashion, to keep traffic flowing.
The Pasco MPO board approved Mikyska’s request to participate, with the only expected cost to be the expenditure of staff time.
On another item, the MPO board approved a scope of work for a study at the intersection of State Road 52 and Adair Road.
The Pasco MPO, in cooperation with the City of Dade City and the Florida Department of Transportation has identified the need to evaluate implementation of traffic control measures at the intersection, where additional traffic is expected because of increased residential development nearby.
Federal Transportation Planning Grant Funds will be used to pay for the $29,345.01 study.
Published September 01, 2021
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