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Worries about speeders and “a boatload of more cut-through traffic” on its way sidetracked a traffic study discussion Monday in Winter Springs, as Deputy Mayor Kevin Cannon insisted that residents get a hand in deciding where to improve traffic safety.
Predicting a deluge of new traffic through eastern Winter Springs, particularly through the heart of the Tuscawilla neighborhood, Cannon said the city needs to become proactive with trying to stop it and to slow down drivers.
Just east of Winter Springs’ eastern border, Oviedo has been clearing ground for a four-lane widening of State Road 426, a project that’s been in the works for more than a decade. The widening stretches east and west of the road’s intersection with S.R. 434, crossing through the heart of Oviedo’s historic downtown, large portions of which have been razed to accommodate the expansion.
Cannon said his worry is that, due to existing traffic issues in Oviedo, as soon as a widened S.R. 426 presents a more viable option for commuters, it will open up Winter Springs Boulevard to more cut-through traffic. The road flows through Tuscawilla, east-to-west, linking S.R. 426 to Tuskawilla Road.
“My prediction is within the next year or 6 months, as soon as they finish four-laning over there in Oviedo, we’re going to have a boatload of more cut-through traffic because Mitchell Hammock [Road]is a complete failure point for traffic during peak rush hour and they’re looking for east-west avenues for travel. They’re going to come through Winter Springs Boulevard.”
Monday the Winter Springs City Commission was discussing where the city should first start studying car counts and speeds in an attempt to better understand the city’s traffic problems. But the city had already been having issues with traffic measuring devices going missing.
“Is there any existing traffic count information that’s timely?” Mayor Kevin McCann asked.
“No, frankly; people are stealing them,” City Manager Shawn Boyle said. “They’re about $3,500 a pop, and people are pulling them out of the ground and stealing them, so we don’t have any information available at this moment.”
Studying traffic flow and speed along portions of Winter Springs Boulevard would require probably 10 traffic measuring devices, Boyle said.
The city had already allocated $100,000 toward studying traffic, but Boyle said that wouldn’t cover much of the city.
At the upcoming July 11 City Commission meeting, Boyle said city staff will return with a list of five to seven streets, based on tips from the City Commission, that could be studied for traffic issues, at which point the Commission will decide how to move forward.