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Neighborhood report

Lutz: McKitrick to ease drivers' annoyance

By BILL COATS
Published October 22, 2004

LUTZ - Traffic backups at McKitrick Elementary School, which turn eastbound Lutz-Lake Fern Road into a parking lot twice a day, will soon be removed from the road.

Officials of the Hillsborough County School District unveiled a plan this week to have parents' cars wind through the school's parking lot, which currently is reserved for bus traffic and faculty parking.

"It's going to be this school year," said MaryEllen Elia, the school system's chief facilities officer.

The backups have been a major annoyance on two-lane Lutz-Lake Fern. And they have created a hazard as frustrated westbound drivers have used the center lane as a passing lane.

The problem was created at McKitrick and many other schools when dropoff points were designed a short distance from the road. Such designs assume that the vast majority of students will ride buses.

Instead, cautious parents are driving those children to school. McKitrick's driveway accommodates about 20 cars. On a typical afternoon, as many as 50 line up.

Elia said the solution proposed for McKitrick has been implemented at Summerfield Elementary School, near Riverview, and "it worked well there."

Under the change, the school's front dropoff loop will be reserved for McKitrick's 15 buses, which will line up double-file.

Cars will be routed west of the new bus loop and into the 250-foot-deep parking lot. The strategy is not unlike theme park lines. Vehicles will snake north through the lot's western aisle, then south through the center aisle, then north again next to the building, where children would leave or enter cars. Then the cars will exit by circling the perimeter of the lot.

"This requires us to add more parking, more asphalt to the site," Elia said.

That may necessitate a batch of building permits, she said.

- Bill Coats can be reached at 813 269-5309 or coats@sptimes.com

[Last modified October 21, 2004, 13:21:19]

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