Meadow Pointe Community Opposed to Mansfield/Kinnan Connector
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Dear Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Pasco County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC),
We, the undersigned residents of the Meadow Pointe community, request the Pasco County MPO and Pasco County BOCC keep the Mansfield Boulevard/Kinnan Street connector closed.
Seemingly most are of the opinion the completion of this connector is a long overdue no-brainer, a public good, which would serve the best interest of everyone. Some would even go as far as to say it is a necessity. The reasons to connect the two roads are aplenty. Convenience, boosting of local business, and public safety have all recently been cited as primary reasons. In addition, and interestingly enough, a City of Tampa condition of rezoning approval for K-Bar Ranch, which would allow for further residential development, requires connections at both Mansfield Blvd AND Meadow Pointe Blvd (more on this later).
The problem with all of this is that almost NONE of those who fall on the pro-connection side of this debate are Meadow Pointe 2 or Meadow Pointe 3 residents. Those of us who DO live in the immediate vicinity of this proposed connector (on the Pasco side), would be immensely and adversely impacted by this massive influx of new traffic being channeled directly through the heart of our residential community on a daily basis. For us, the opening of this connector would create an inequitable and undue burden, which would greatly diminish our overall quality of life.
Mansfield Boulevard is a two lane road with mostly 30 mph zones, including three school zones situated one directly after another (Dr. John Long Middle School, Wiregrass Elementary School and Wiregrass Ranch High School). The current volume of traffic along this stretch (including the intersections at Beardsley Drive, County Line Road, and up through Wrencrest Drive and Wiregrass Elementary) already feels as if it is at maximum capacity, especially during morning and evening rush hours, as well as during school start and dismissal times.
If the connector were completed, daily commute times would increase. Safety of our school children walking and riding to and from Dr. John Long Middle School, Wiregreass Elementary and even Wiregrass Ranch High School would certainly not improve. Residents in the immediate area are understandably concerned about how their property values may be jeopardized by making the area more congested and less desirable. Residents of villages along Mansfield, as well as Beardsley and County Line Road, already report having difficulty navigating in and out of their entrances, and the addition of ANY amount of traffic would not make their situations any better.
The one fact most everyone can seem to agree upon is that Mansfield Blvd, between the proposed connector and Wrencrest Drive, CANNOT be easily, if at all, expanded beyond the existing two lanes. THIS IS OUR PRIMARY CONCERN! Indeed, if it WERE possible to expand Mansfield to four lanes in this area, to safely and reasonably accommodate this major influx of traffic, this whole debate would be almost a non-issue for most Meadow Pointe residents.
However, since this is NOT the case, the fact of the matter remains. Even if Pasco agreed to add a traffic circle or stop light at Beardsley AND a stop light at Wrencrest, it would not change the fact that allowing a massive new volume of traffic to squeeze through this permanently narrow thoroughfare would NOT be in our best interest.
According to an April 2017 ABC Action News article (link referenced below), “about 1,500 people live in K-Bar Ranch and another new development being built could add as many as 5,000 more people to the same area.”
Yes, connecting Mansfield 10 years ago may have made sense. But not now! Not considering the explosion of new development that has and will continue to occur on the State Road 56 corridor. Then add to this equation at least 5,000 more people, who will undoubtedly want to head north, up Kinnan to Mansfield, and on to State Road 56, and it absolutely would NOT make sense now! Quite to the contrary, this would create a detrimental situation to OUR every day safety and overall quality of life!
It should also be noted that Kinnan Street CAN be expanded to four lanes all the way up to Mansfield Blvd. Just imagine all of those existing and future Hillsborough residents cramming their way directly through Meadow Pointe to access the ever growing development in the Wiregrass Ranch/State Road 56 area. For anyone looking for a convenient short cut to reach all that already exists, AND all that will soon exist along the 56 corridor, our neighborhood will become nothing more than a convenient thoroughfare.
The list of potential destinations which may much more conveniently be reached via Mansfield is an ever growing one: Tampa Premium Outlets, Earth Fare, access to I-275 South via SR-56 and I-75, Florida Hospital Center Ice, The Shops at Wiregrass, a newly planned district park, sports complex, movie theater, upscale grocer (think Sprout’s Farmers Market), Raymond James Financial (expected to add 750+ jobs at the intersection of SR-56 and Mansfield), and of course the new SR-56 extension opening soon towards Zephyrhills.
By comparison, MANY less would have reason to go south towards Cross Creek.
Further, this idea of using our neighborhood as a convenient thoroughfare for Hillsborough County residents wishing to access the Wiregrass/SR-56 area, cannot be highlighted any clearer than by the recent proposal of a 16 fuel pump 7-Eleven gas station at the corner of Mansfield and County Line Road. So much that the Cushman & Wakefield realty listing actually states in their online add, “the impending extension of Mansfield Blvd to Cross Creek Blvd will significantly increase traffic counts at the site (please reference attached link below).
In the ABC Action News article referenced previously, "It is an inconvenience,” said HOA President K Bar Ranch Craig Margelowsky.
“An inconvenience that tacks on about 40 minutes to every trip his family takes when they go out to eat.”
Also referenced in this same ABC Action News article, “it's also a business issue because you have a lot of businesses in the City of Tampa that would like to get folks from Meadow Pointe.”
I'm sorry, but by NO means should the opening of Mansfield to Kinnan be a solution to an "inconvenience" or “business issue” created by Hillsborough County/City of Tampa’s lack of planning, and Hillsborough resident's willingness to place themselves into a poorly planned traffic network, at the detriment AND expense of OUR Meadow Pointe community (especially Meadow Pointe 2 and 3)!
Hillsborough County/City of Tampa has recently gone as far as to say the lack of the connector is a public safety issue. The one example given by Hillsborough County City Council member, Lisa Montelione, was self admittedly just as much an issue about cell phone tower miscommunication than it was about proximity and access to available fire rescue (link to referenced article below).
Even so, in no way does their argument justify or off set the fact that the opening of the connector will create what will be a daily traffic hazard through our non-expandable, two-lane, 30mph, school zone lined Mansfield. Especially in light of the fact that a much more feasible (yet not nearly as convenient for Hillsborough) alternative connector exists just down Beardsley Drive at Meadow Pointe Blvd.
The bottom line is K-Bar Ranch/Live Oak/Cross Creek area developers, City of Tampa and Hillsborough County should have planned better and not relied on the eventual opening of Mansfield when they planned/approved all of the development in that area. They are the only ones to blame for creating a situation which may be making their residents less safe, and grid locking their potential for future development.
Now they are once again pressing the issue because additional new development is requiring rezoning, and as a condition to approving that rezoning, a connection at Mansfield must be made.
None of this is about Pasco being unreasonable, or not wanting to help a neighbor, or not doing what is best for everyone. HOWEVER, this simply CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be accomplished at the every day detriment of Meadow Pointe residents. The opening of Mansfield represents an easy, quick-fix solution for Hillsborough, while instead, this issue needs to be met with sound long term solutions, which indeed will be in the best interest of EVERYONE.
The public safety concerns of Hillsborough residents, while unfortunate, cannot easily be fixed at the detriment of the neighboring county. The zoning issues not allowing certain subdivisions to continue to expand without the connection, while unfortunate, can also not be solved on the backs' of Meadow Pointe residents. The inconvenience of having only Cross Creek Blvd to get anywhere and everywhere, while undoubtedly frustrating, is not a choice Meadow Pointe residents made, nor should it be something we are ask to solve.
This is NOT equitable or mutually beneficial for US, the residents of Meadow Pointe! We made wise decisions to purchase property and raise our families in a fairly safe and not overly congested neighborhood (in relative standards), with EXCELLENT schools. We are NOT about to bow down to the wishes nor desires of Hillsborough County/City of Tampa officials, developers, business leaders and residents, due to "inconvenience" issues!
Yes a few Meadow Pointe residents have expressed it would make it much more convenient for them to reach certain destinations in the Cross Creek area, BUT the vast majority of those living in the immediate area are NOT willing to sacrifice every day safety versus once in a while convenience. Myself included. I will more than happily continue to drive around to St. Mark’s until the time comes where we have a proper extension at Meadow Pointe Blvd.
Those who have signed this petition want to be clear and have you to understand that the small benefit of having more direct access to Cross Creek Blvd would NOT by any means be worth the daily negative impact the opening of this connector would have on our residents. Our neighborhood is NOT a thoroughfare for residents of Hillsborough County to have a more convenient access to all the Wiregrass area has to offer. Please do not give in to the stiff arming antics of Hillsborough and City of Tampa officials, developers, business leaders and residents, and DO NOT allow this seemingly no-brainer solution to transpire.
The appropriate connector, although not convenient for Hillsborough, since roads on their end are not currently built out, is at Meadow Pointe Blvd. Unlike Mansfield, Meadow Pointe Blvd WAS designed for expansion to four lanes, doesn’t directly go through any school zones (up through State Road 56), and links directly up with the new SR-56 connector east to Zephyrhills. As mentioned previously, IF Mansfield had been built to easily expand to four lanes, which no one could have ever predicted the massive development which now exists in the Wiregrass Ranch/SR-56 corridor, this would be a non-issue.
We are concerned residents with legitimate concerns, and we expect our county representatives will listen to us, and do what is in the best interest of EVERYONE!!!
!!!VERY IMPORTANT!!! If you are a concerned resident who has just signed this petition, and are willing to provide your name and address, or at the very least your Meadow Pointe village of residence, please also consider completing this ULTRA brief Survey Monkey response, as it is crucial for us to have this data to deliver to Pasco officials along with this Change.org petition. This is also an opportunity for you to add additional concerns which may not have been addressed in this petition. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
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