The connection of Kinnan St. in K-Bar Ranch to Mansfield Blvd. in Meadow Pointe continues to be a problem, according to some area residents.
A number of emails sent to Pasco County District 2 Commissioner Mike Moore suggest that far too many cars have been making their way around the barrier, which is a mechanical arm designed to only let first responders and emergency vehicles through.
As a result, Pasco County is taking action. Moore says the county will be installing security cameras and additional barriers to prevent any more cars from sneaking through the small opening.
Chris Dillinger, a member of the Meadow Pointe II CDD, says he also has heard the complaints, including by some who feel the connection is the first step towards opening the connected roads to all traffic. But, he says as long as Pasco County controls the gate, which is part of the agreement with Hillsborough County, which constructed the connection, he is confident the roads will remain closed and adjustments will be made to stop cars from circumventing the barriers.
After years of debate over connecting the roads, it was finally decided last year to make a connection that would only be accessible by law enforcement, fire and other emergency vehicles, and to police it with a barrier gate arm. New, wider bike paths and sidewalks also were added to the connection for cyclists and pedestrians.
However, those wider paths are being used by cars, according to critics.
The Neighborhood News has received some emails making the same charge. As a result, we visited the connection, and witnessed a small black car slipping through the bike path on the east side of the gate, where a generous gap exists (photo), and crossing from New Tampa into Wesley Chapel.
You can see by looking at the picture above that there is still room for smaller cars to get through, although it is a fairly tight fit.
“While there are supposedly things in place to prevent traffic from entering the road…especially on the Mansfield side, it is not effective,” one emailer who did not want to be identified told us. “Those of us who use it for walking, running and cycling were so excited that we would not have to be exposed to a lot of fumes from vehicles. But, no matter what time I walk in that area, there are always vehicles that enter from Kinnan and Mansfield. There are vehicles that, from the Mansfield side, can successfully drive slowly and carefully through there…and there are enough violators for me to be concerned. This road is not closed to traffic; it’s being used more frequently than you know.”
Commissioner Moore contacted both Ken Hagan, the Hillsborough County Commissioner for District 2 which includes Kinnan St., and District 7 Tampa City Council member Luis Viera, who represents the New Tampa area that includes K-Bar Ranch.
“The gate is a good idea,” Viera says. “It helps emergency vehicles and first responders get through and it will save lives. Let’s hope we don’t let a few people ruin that.”