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Village idiots, in their eyes: speeders

The problem with Pebble Creek Drive appears to be volume, actually. In any case, speed humps will be considered.

By JOHN BALZ, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 23, 2003


PEBBLE CREEK -- The portion of Pebble Creek Drive that goes by Ethel Fischer's house has gone from lazy country road to hot rod speedway.

Fischer has lived at Pebble Creek Drive and Hogan's Bend in Pebble Creek Village for 25 years and says the speeding has never been this bad. She refuses to cross the street for fear of being hit.

"They go down there like crazy," she said. "I'm afraid they're going to end up in my house."

For help, residents have turned to Hillsborough County, which is considering ways to curtail the speeding. Traffic engineers will hold a meeting this month to discuss the possibility of speed humps with Hogan's Bend residents.

Hogan's Bend is a semicircular loop that hits Pebble Creek Drive twice just south of the community's golf course. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Residents say speeding is most prevalent at a curve near the second intersection, farthest from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Wayne Kirby, general manager for the county's new Neighborhood Traffic Calming program, said the problem with Pebble Creek Drive appears to be volume, not speed.

Last fall county engineers counted roughly three times more cars than the road was equipped to handle, Kirby said. They clocked the 85th percentile of drivers -- the percentile traffic experts refer to first to determine whether speeding is a significant problem -- at about 24 miles per hour.

This is not the first time concerned residents have asked the county to alter traffic flow through this neighborhood because of safety. In 2000, the county put in a crosswalk after traffic totals mounted on Pebble Creek Drive.

The previous year the county installed a traffic light at Bruce B. Downs and Pebble Creek Drive. Traffic climbed as drivers used the light to make a left turn out of the development.

The installation of the light "created a monster," said village resident Lea Butler, referring to the increase in traffic along Pebble Creek Drive.

Hogan's Bend resident Robert Romera said a car skidded off the road and into his yard last summer. He won't let his grandchildren play outside anymore.

"We're lucky we haven't had a major collision yet," he said.

She and Fischer haven't fallen in love with speed humps.

"I hate them, but what are you going to do?" Fischer said.

Romera said increased police patrols could serve as an effective deterrent.

-- John Balz can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or at balz@sptimes.com .

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