Tampa City Council member Luis Viera hosted roughly 50 K-Bar Ranch residents on April 13. Many had traffic and road concerns that the City of Tampa officials on hand said were being addressed. (Photo: John C. Cotey)

Residents of K-Bar Ranch, the still-developing community in the northeastern corner of New Tampa, have had their fair share of traffic growing pains — from speed limits they want reduced to traffic logjams and safety issues in front of Pride Elementary to a perceived need for additional stop signs along K-Bar Ranch Pkwy.

After months of studies and back-and-forth emails between the City of Tampa and some residents, it appears that some of their wishes may be granted.

At a community meeting hosted by District 7 Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera and attended by other city officials and about 50 K-Bar residents, a number of future changes were unveiled.

City of Tampa traffic safety coordinator William Porth and chief traffic management engineer Vik Bhide told residents that the city will begin reducing the speeds on parts of Wild Tamarind Dr. and Bassett Creek Dr. from 35 miles per hour to 30, with some reductions within the subdivisions as well.

“Bassett Creek was posted at 35 when nobody was out here,” Porth said. “Things have obviously changed.”

Porth also said the city will be putting in all-way stops at two of the busier intersections on K-Bar Ranch Pkwy., the primary east-west thoroughfare that runs through the community.

As for fixing the issues at Pride, Porth said that would require some studies but that hopefully within the next few months that could be addressed as well. Some of the residents asked that the issue be fixed prior to start of the 2022-23 school year in August.

City of Tampa Fire Chief Barbara Tripp also attended the meeting, and told residents that the City was working on improving response times to the difficult-to-reach, quickly-growing area. 

The response-time goal, she said, is 90 percent of the time to be on scene in 8.5 minutes or less and, to achieve that, the City is considering stationing a mobile unit in the area, or providing a new access road off Morris Bridge Rd.

Right now, Kinnan St. is the only way into the western end of K-Bar Ranch via Cross Creek Blvd.

Not surprisingly, that led to residents complaining about the community’s lack of egress, and a few of them suggested that an old controversy be revisited.

Susan Cali, the K-Bar Ranch II clubhouse manager, said with the connection to Meadow Pointe Blvd. getting closer to opening, maybe the long-fought-over Kinnan St. connection to Mansfield Blvd., which is only available to emergency vehicles, could be opened to traffic as well.

“We think timing-wise it might be a good time to revisit,” Cali said. “With Meadow Pointe Blvd. opening, it won’t be like all the pressure is on Kinnan-Mansfield.”

Some in the crowd suggested a boycott of Wesley Chapel businesses if Pasco County wasn’t willing to revisit the issue. Others suggested building a coalition of those in favor of opening the road from both sides of the county line.

Viera told the crowd he didn’t see Pasco County agreeing to reconsider Kinnan-Mansfield. Even though one of the connection’s biggest opponents, District 2 Pasco commissioner Mike Moore, is stepping down in November, Viera said he will likely be replaced with someone holding the same views.

“We’d like to make (Kinnan-Mansfield) happen,” Viera said, “but you can’t dance without a partner.”

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