NEW TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents in New Tampa’s K-Bar Ranch neighborhood want the local government to do what it planned to do a decade ago: Connect Kinnan Street to Mansfield Boulevard in Pasco County.
Instead, the two roads dead end just 60 feet apart.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Tamara Sims said, who lives in K-Bar Ranch. “Why build the road if you’re not going to connect it?”
Sims and others in her neighborhood have pushed for the connection for years and say there are safety concerns by not connecting the roads. Some residents have had trouble getting emergency services because they can’t get to residents quickly.
“Because we essentially have one way in and out of our neighborhood. If this did connect, we would be able to get to the hospital way faster, instead of going out and all the way around,” Sims said.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan says he has tried for years to get the roads connected, but Pasco County officials say no.
“I think it’s absurd,” Hagan said. “It’s unfortunate that Pasco County really doesn’t care about connectivity. They have a developer agreement, a signed developer agreement. This connection is in both counties’ long-range transportation plans.”
Pasco County officials, however, say it’s not that simple. Some residents in Meadow Pointe in Wesley Chapel fear that a road connection will bring too much traffic from Hillsborough County. A county spokeswoman tells Better Call Behnken that the county is exploring several connection proposals.
Pasco County sent this statement:
“The Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is conducting a study of three potential roadway connections along the Pasco/Hillsborough County line in the Wesley Chapel area. The study is evaluating the pros and cons of potential roadway connections at Mansfield Boulevard and Kinnan Street; Meadow Pointe Boulevard and the Meadow Pointe Boulevard Extension; and Wyndfields Boulevard and the Wyndfields Boulevard Extension.
The priority of the study is traffic impacts on public safety, especially with several schools and a community center in the area. Public input and engagement are a vital part of this process, and no construction will take place until this study is completed and approved by the Board of County Commissioners.
The draft study results will be presented to the MPO board at its next meeting in Dade City (closest to the impacted area), which is December 13, 2018. Additional public outreach and a citizen survey are planned in early 2019. The MPO Board will meet in May, 2019, to finalize its recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. Both boards will include public comment as they discuss these roadway connections.”
Meanwhile, residents on both sides of the divided roadway complain that people are using the area as a dumping ground.
Hagan says he has asked Hillsborough County attorneys to explore legal options to force Pasco County to agree to connect Kinnan Street and Mansfield Boulevard.