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Westchase parents still waiting for safety improvements near Farnell Middle School

WESTCHASE, Fla. (WFLA) - A Hillsborough County project to improve safety at a busy intersection many students use to get to school is still not done. 

The intersection of Race Track Road and Countryway Boulevard is one that many students walking and biking to and from Farnell Middle School use daily.

Last May, the traffic issues there were front and center when a 7th-grader’s bike was hit while he was heading home.

"It is frustrating as a parent to see out children's safety not pushed to the forefront,” said Lauren Hawkins, parent.

News Channel 8 went out to see what the problems were. Students would run across the busy intersection, and many would flood into a nearby shopping center’s parking lot to meet their parents.

This year, News Channel 8 has learned Hillsborough County Public Schools has made changes at Farnell. Dismissal procedures have changed and a fenced sidewalk was added, which district officials say will keep students from going into the parking lot. 

“It is a great step forward but a lot of work needs to be done,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins would like to see changes to the busy intersection nearby.

When 8 On Your Side did the reports back in May -- Hillsborough County Public Works agreed to make changes at the Race Track Road and Countryway Boulevard intersection. 

The county promised to ban right turns at some stops at certain times before and after school hours, making it safer for students crossing the road. When 8 On Your Side went out to the intersection Wednesday, the changes were still not in place, and school starts in just a few days.

A spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Public Works says the plan is to install the signs by the end of next week or sooner. Additionally,  Public Works plans to have one of their traffic investigators out at the intersection this Friday for the start of school.


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