Pasco County has been attracting more residential, commercial and industrial development in recent years — leading to new opportunities and population growth.
But the growth creates traffic and there’s growing pushback against the county’s clogged traffic arteries.
Carla Card appeared, via a remote feed, during the public comment portion of the Pasco County Commission’s Dec. 7 meeting.
“I’m here today to discuss the tremendous growth, which is leading to the terrible traffic issues and accidents, near State Road 54, State Road 56, the Grove (at Wesley Chapel), Tampa Premium Outlets, and Old Pasco Road to Bruce B. Downs (Boulevard),” Card said.
“My home is off of Wesley Chapel Boulevard, and this concerns County (Commission) Districts 1, 2 and 3.
“Fender-benders and horrible accidents are happening in this area every day because of the overgrowth in population.
“Our community can’t handle any more.
“Not only is the gridlock and the buildup negatively affecting the quality of life with current residents, but it’s also negatively affecting the wildlife that has nowhere to go and live.
“Deer are constantly being maimed and killed on these hazardous roads, and it’s very disturbing to see.
“The new construction in the area needs to be reviewed and additional development in this area should be halted, if there is no funding to fix the road issues.
“We certainly should not allow more development to increase in this area, which actually increases the chaos.
“There are several new multi-tenant buildings being built right now. Once completed, the population will grow and cause more traffic issues.
“It’s so bad right now that emergency vehicles are not able to respond quickly.
“And, how awful this is, if you or a loved one needs emergency care.
“So, we must stop any new developments until we get this traffic under control.
“People are running red lights and blocking intersections, which is just causing mayhem.
“It takes me over 35 minutes to get to I-75 (Interstate 75) and it used to take 12 minutes.
“There are six traffic lights in a short distance, and not one works to move the flow of traffic correctly.
“There are too many businesses near the I-75 on- and off-ramps. This is extremely dangerous.
“We need to stop new development or require developers to pay for the build on the roads necessary, prior to the development of new structures. It’s just really becoming too much,” Card said.
During a different portion of the same meeting, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore also expressed concerns about growing gridlock.
He showed his colleagues photos he took of traffic backed up on Wesley Chapel Boulevard, which turns into County Road 54.
“My son practices and plays golf a lot at Lexington Oaks Golf Club,” Moore said.
“I live in Seven Oaks, which is literally 5.9 miles away.
“It’s taken me 45 minutes, to go 5.9 miles,” he said, noting he makes the trip between 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
By comparison, it only take 18 minutes to 21 minutes to get to Interstate 4, from Interstate 75, he said.
The traffic that’s backed up is not waiting to get on I-75, but rather waiting to make its way through Pasco County, Moore said.
“We have a lot of things coming up in this area. The area I just showed you is the exact area where an apartment complex was just approved. Another one (multifamily) in front of Lexington Oaks; another one is being built a block away.
“If you go around the corner, that’s that one that got approved on Bruce B. Downs (Boulevard), and there’s a couple more that are coming up for votes in the future,” Moore said.
“This road can’t handle any more. When I say no more — no more.”
Moore continued: “That’s not a good quality of life.”
“Nothing more can go around that area. We can’t handle any more. The citizens can’t handle any more,” said the commissioner, who successfully persuaded his colleagues to approve a temporary moratorium on new multifamily applications in a portion of his district.
The board is expected to revisit that issue in early 2022 because Moore would like to include some additional areas that are now part of his district.
The new areas became part of Moore’s District 2, when the county board approved new boundaries as part of the redistricting process that occurs every 10 years, after the U.S. Census count is completed.
Published December 29, 2021