Members of Citizens Against Discrimination and Social Injustice, the Pasco County chapter of Black Lives Matter, and the Pasco Young Revolutionaries organized a peaceful ‘funeral procession’ protest on a rainy July 18 afternoon on Beardsley Drive near Meadow Point Boulevard, in Wesley Chapel. A procession was held, instead of a march or rally, because of concerns about COVID-19.The simulated funeral procession included a hearse, provided by Wilson Funeral Home , located in Tampa. The protest was meant to draw attention to black lives lost to police actions taken across the United States. The procession headed north along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard to State Road 54 and concluded at Walmart, at 28500 State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel.
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.
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
Pasco County will host an open house to find out if area residents in Wesley Chapel want to open up roads between Pasco and Hillsborough County.
The public is invited to Pasco-Hernando State College on April 18 to make comments and get answers on three potential road projects from members of the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The Wesley Chapel Roadways Connections Study wants to hear from the public regarding possible connections between:
- Kinnan Street and Mansfield Boulevard
- Meadow Pointe Boulevard to K-Bar Ranch Boulevard
- Wyndfields Boulevard into K-Bar Ranch
“We are unbiased. We want to hear from residents, looking at the negatives and positives,” said Ali Atefi, transportation engineer for the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization. “We’re getting information from both sides, connecting or not connecting,” he said.
A second meeting would be scheduled in the future to review feedback from the public.
An online survey also is being considered to gather additional views on whether to take on these projects, Atefi said.
The study could take up to a year to complete, he added.
Any decisions on moving forward on road projects would be made by the Pasco County Commission.
Currently, Mansfield Boulevard in the Meadow Pointe subdivision dead-ends at the Pasco County line. A barricade separates the boulevard from Kinnan Street, which dead-ends inside Tampa’s K-Bar Ranch in Hillsborough.
In 2016, Mike Moore, then a Pasco County commissioner, and Lisa Montelione, former Tampa city council member, met to discuss connecting the two roadways.
Moore is now chairman of the Pasco County Commission; Montelione is no longer on the city council.
The matter has been batted around for years between Pasco, Tampa officials, and developers of K-Bar, with no resolution.
Some Meadow Pointe residents previously expressed concerns to county officials about the prospect of increased area traffic, if the connection were made.
The subdivision is off State Road 56 in Wesley Chapel, near The Shops at Wiregrass.
Mansfield winds past Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch. There also is an elementary school, a middle school and a high school on the boulevard.
Other issues center around costs, and who would pay for such items as traffic calming devices and traffic signals.
Negotiations on other improvements to street grids in the area also fell short — including engineering better circulation via Beardsley Drive and Meadow Pointe Boulevard.
Pasco recently began repaving and re-striping Beardsley from Mansfield east to Meadow Pointe. The project is expected to take 60 days.
For information, visit the county’s website at PascoCountyFl.net.
What: Wesley Chapel Roadways Connections Study meeting
Where: Pasco-Hernando State College, 2727 Mansfield Blvd., Wesley Chapel
When: April 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Published April 12, 2017
Discussions on opening up Mansfield Boulevard in Pasco County’s Meadow Pointe community and linking it to Kinnan Street in New Tampa’s K Bar Ranch hit dead-end after dead-end for years.
Pasco County and the City of Tampa sparred over how to divvy up road improvements and pay the costs.
So, the two roadways that cut through expensive subdivisions on either side of the county line still don’t connect. Instead, they end at a barricade that has become a magnet for illegal dumping.
In a recent medical emergency, one K Bar Ranch resident learned just how unsafe the divide could get. Confusion over which agency should respond and the lack of road access left him waiting 45 minutes for medical attention.
There is renewed hope, however, that opposing sides can find common ground.
“It’s like the stars are in alignment,” said Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione.
Just as she was nearly ready to hit send on an email to Pasco County commissioners, she got a call from Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore.
Both wanted to restart discussions on connecting the roads.
“He didn’t know I was even sending the letter,” Montelione said.
And, the developer of Meadow Pointe had scheduled a meeting with Pasco officials to discuss the same topic.
On March 9, Moore, Montelione, Pasco staff members and Tampa staff members will meet to consider options.
Moore reported to fellow commissioners last month of his conversation with Montelione.
Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey quickly offered her support.
“I’m all about connectivity,” she said.
Lack of connections kept K Bar Ranch resident, Otto Schloeter, in agony for 45 minutes after a neighbor made a 911 call for him.
Schloeter suffered third degree burns on his arm due to an accident while cooking lunch. Outmoded 911 technology contributed to confusion regarding which rescue unit from which county should respond, but Montelione’s letter cited another culprit as well – the barrier between Mansfield and Kinnan.
It took nearly two hours for Schloeter finally to reach Tampa General Hospital for a severe injury that required skin grafts, according to Montelione’s letter.
“What I’m hoping to get from this is a road map to move forward,” said Montelione. “It’s not about everybody getting everything they want. It’s about getting to some mutual benefit agreement.”
Nearly three years ago, efforts to address the issue fell apart when the City of Tampa rejected Pasco’s request for city taxpayers or the developer to fund traffic calming devices on Mansfield, which is in Hillsborough County.
At the time, Pasco officials were hearing from Meadow Pointe residents who were concerned about increased traffic on Mansfield, if the roads were opened.
Mansfield is located off State Road 56 in Wesley Chapel, just beyond The Shops at Wiregrass.
The boulevard winds past Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, several subdivisions within Meadow Pointe, the construction site for the county’s elementary school “W,” and Dr. John Long Middle School before dead-ending at Kinnan and K Bar Ranch.
Tampa and Pasco officials also tried unsuccessfully to negotiate other grid improvements to improve circulation via Beardsley Drive and Meadow Pointe Boulevard.
Some contentious issues could be smoothed over by a 2015 agreement between the City of Tampa and MI/Homes, the current homebuilder for K Bar Ranch.
The company is open to paying for turn lanes, traffic signals, sidewalks and striping of lanes on Mansfield and Kinnan.
Traffic calming devices on Mansfield, however, are still at issue.
But, Moore said he is hopeful about an agreement.
Opening access for residents to move back and forth between counties is going to be vital, as both counties proceed with new development and expanding populations, he said.
“We want to think responsibly. You’re going to need these connections,” Moore said.
Published February 24, 2016