With more than 1,000 homes scheduled to be built in the coming years in the sprawling K-Bar Ranch development in New Tampa, District 7 Tampa City Council member Luis Viera has been keeping a close eye on the transportation issues already plaguing the community.
Whether it’s poorly marked roads, unsafe crosswalks or simply ways to get in and out of K-Bar Ranch, the infrastructure needs to keep pace.
By the end of this year, a number of improvements along K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. are expected to be completed.
The parkway itself is still under construction and less than half complete, but when completed, it will be the spine road of the growing community. At that point, it will run from the Kinnan St. entrance all the way east to Morris Bridge Rd., to an exit/entrance just a little north of the current entrance to the Easton Park subdivision.
Residents have complained about the lack of definitive striping on the completed portions of K-Bar Ranch Pkwy., resulting in some near-accidents. Two auto-related deaths, in 2012 and 2019, were both blamed on speeding.
Viera says he has experienced the concerns first-hand. After conducting one of his community meetings at K-Bar Ranch, Viera says a vehicle almost hit him on his way out.
“Me and my son were driving out on the same K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. residents had just been complaining about, and, lo and behold, I had to swerve out of the way of another car in what could have been a tragic accident,” Viera says.
Viera requested that the City of Tampa take immediate action. He also plans on holding a K-Bar Ranch workshop at a City Council meeting in September to address other issues related to public safety.
Improvements now planned for K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. include:
• Departing Kinnan St. eastbound, the existing 30-mph speed limit signs will be upgraded with enhanced and more visible panels above.
• Approaching Kinnan St. westbound, upgraded stop signs and bright sticks will be added.
• Departing Hawk Valley Dr (private road) eastbound, adding a two-way traffic warning sign.
• Departing Redwood Point Dr. east- and westbound, installing new 30-mph speed limit signs and with enhanced conspicuity panels above.
• The skipping yellow center line along the original section of K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. will be updated with a double yellow center line and raised pavement markers.
• Departing Laurel Vista Way (private road)/Wild Tamarind Dr. east- and westbound, new 30-mph speed limit signs and more visible panels above will be installed.
• Approaching Paddock View Dr. eastbound, end-of-road marking signage (red diamonds) and an advanced T-intersection warning sign will be added, as well as a refreshing of all markings as needed and adding raised pavement markers.
• Departing Paddock View Dr. westbound, new 30-mph speed limit signs will be installed with enhanced conspicuity panels above.
“It is pivotal that the City of Tampa and local governments invest in the requisite infrastructure, roads and public safety systems, as a community grows,” Viera says. “K-Bar Ranch is a growing community and needs this constant attention. Transportation is pivotal.”
CONNECTION COMING: Another primary improvement along K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. will be a connection to Meadow Pointe Blvd. into Wesley Chapel. However, the developer, MI Homes, has targeted Dec. 31 as a completion date, although there are still some permitting issues to resolve that could stretch that completion date into 2022.
The Meadow Pointe Blvd. connection will be the only northbound way out of K-Bar Ranch (other than Morris Bridge Rd.) when K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. is completed.
The Meadow Pointe Blvd. connection is the consolation prize for those who wanted to see Kinnan St. in K-Bar and Mansfield Blvd. in Meadow Pointe connected to give residents on both sides of the border easier access and to reduce congestion on BBD.
But, as we’ve reported previously, after years of negotiating with Hillsborough County, Pasco County commissioned a study that recommended connecting the roads only for emergency use, and instead agreed to connect K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. to Meadow Pointe Blvd. and Wyndfields Blvd. for vehicular traffic.
K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. is being constructed in segments, and once each road segment is completed, it will permit the developers to build more homes in that area.
Segment C, starting at the Kinnan St. entrance, is currently completed. Segment D, which is partially completed, will connect to the Meadow Pointe Blvd. extension, which also is under construction right now.
Segment F also is under construction, and will take the parkway almost to the westernmost part of Easton Park.
Completion is targeted for Dec. 31 for those segments.
The remaining segments to complete the parkway are pending permitting, meaning that completion will most likely not happen until 2022.