Hillsborough County recently held a public meeting proposing changes to Natures Way Blvd. in Bloomingdale with the goal of making the area safer for bikers, pedestrians and drivers.

Bloomingdale residents recently had the opportunity to learn about Hillsborough County’s plans to revamp traffic on Natures Way Blvd. At a public meeting last month, county experts shared proposed designs to enhance the section of Natures Way Blvd. between Elba Pl. and Bell Grande Dr. in Bloomingdale East to improve safety and accessibility for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Recommendations include converting the existing four-lane roadway into a two-lane roadway with a median and center left-turn lane, along with a bicycle lane in each direction.

“A history of crashes along this corridor, including three cyclists who were struck by motor vehicles, initiated a review of the road,” said Jim Hudock, director of Hillsborough County’s Capital Programs Department. “Motorists have been caught on that road traveling as fast as 75 miles an hour. That review pointed out road design improvements that could be made to help keep the road safer without creating congestion.”

Hudock also explained why he recommends moving from four to two lanes in this location.

“The redesigned road will be safer for drivers with fewer lanes to cross while turning and it will be safer for cyclists who will have their own bike lanes on a roadway that emphasizes them,” he said. “It will be safer for pedestrians, who will have safe ‘refuge islands’ as they cross.”

The $1.95 million Capital Improvement Project will also include upgraded signage and sharrow pavement markings on nearby sections of Natures Way Blvd., Culbreath Rd., Glenhaven Dr., Greenhollow Ln. and Springvale Dr.

“The lanes will be marked in a way that makes it clear where to look for bicyclists,” said Hudock, who explained that sharrow markings are the white pavement markings that have a bike and arrows to show which directions cyclists should take.

Construction on the project is expected to start in early 2020 and last approximately 12 months.

Additional information on the project is available online at www.HCFLGov.net/CountyProjects. For more information about the meeting, call 272-5275.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.