Traffic Inbox: 'Video game' conditions on Wesley Chapel road

By Chuck Henson, Real Time Traffic Expert
Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2017, 1:48 PM EST

Wesley Chapel is one of the fastest growing parts of Tampa Bay, and that means more and more traffic.

A Bay News 9 viewer asked Real Time Traffic Expert Chuck Henson for help with an area she calls a real-life video game.

Gretchen Renlund is talking about the stretch of Bruce B Downs Boulevard just south of State Road 54.

"It's kind of like playing a game of Frogger," Renlund said, "because the shopping center and the restaurants on both sides of Bruce B Downs have no real access to getting on to Bruce B Downs to go in either direction."

As cars try to exit the Village Market Shopping Center, instead of making a right out of the lot, then a U-turn down the road where it's safer, many will brave the left turn.

"We've seen days where there's multiple accidents from cars making quick entry in and out of their lanes to avoid the backup," Renlund said.

"You'll see as many as six cars stacked in the center median trying to get into the left hand turn lane, and this is all during high traffic times of the day."

We watched it happen, time and again: Cars cross the first three lanes, then wait in the median for an opening. At the same time, traffic from the opposite direction is doing the same thing. Mix in the north and southbound traffic trying to turn, and it's a real mess.

"There is a lot of congestion up there," said Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Kris Carson. "There's even more development to come, so it's something we are analyzing right now."

"You'll see as many as six cars stacked in the center median trying to get into the left hand turn lane, and this is all during high traffic times of the day." - Gretchen Renlund

One suggestion is to add a third left turn lane to northbound Bruce B downs at State Road 54. That will help with the backups that end up in the Village Market intersection.

Another option is to close the median entirely. In that case, traffic would only be able to turn right out of the shopping plaza.

Carson said a lot of work needs to happen before then.

"And if that does happen, we have to, of course, poll all of the business owners," Carson said. "We do a virtual public hearing usually to get the community input."

After the study is finished, if a safety hazard is discovered, Carson said they could get the money together quickly to start work and correct the issue.