By Brian Bokor
Construction plans for a traffic signal on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. have been submitted to the county on behalf of Publix Supermarkets at the Shoppes of Lithia and the owner of Lithia Crossing Shopping Center. The light would be located at the main entrance to the Publix-anchored Shoppes of Lithia shopping center with a new entrance to Lithia Crossing created between the two existing entrances near Panera Bread and Chili’s making one centralized, signalized entrance and exit for both shopping centers.
The study was funded by the owners of these properties and if construction plans are approved all costs for the project will also be the owners responsibility. Once completed, the signal will be transferred into Hillsborough County traffic management ownership.
According to the traffic signal warrant analysis, “this study was previously performed in 2011 and updated with 2016 traffic volumes and vehicle crashes. This study is now being updated to reflect current traffic volumes and vehicle crashes.”
On a random Thursday this past April, video cameras were set up for 24 hours at the three locations under review in order to gather traffic volume information including U-turns, left and right turns, straight-throughs and crosswalk crossings in all four directions of travel. These cameras were set at the northern entrance to Lithia Crossing near Chili’s, the southern entrance near Panera Bread and the central entrance into Publix on the opposite side of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. The video from the day was sent to Countcloud counting services which counted and compiled turning movement counts for each intersection.
In order to justify the need for a signal, certain traffic standards based on volume, crash statistics and other pertinent criteria must be satisfied before the project can move forward. In this case, the resulting data showed multiple instances where minimal criteria were reached at this location with the conclusion and recommendations of the analysis stating it clearly shows the need for a light at this intersection along with a recommendation “that the intersection be signalized as soon as possible.”