Speed Busters clocks speeders on dangerous South Tampa curve

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Speed Busters is back and this time WFLA Traffic Reporter Leslee Lacey is busting speeders at a dangerous curve in South Tampa.

If you live in the Bay area, you know this neighborhood has been booming with development over the last two decades, causing traffic and many roads to change.

Leslee got a call from a resident who is tired of witnessing vehicles crashing through barricades, so she headed out to one of the areas in question–the part of Azeele Street that quickly curves toward Armenia Avenue.

David Hicks has lived on the street for 20 years. “The neighborhood has become increasingly residential, whereas ten, 15 years ago it just wasn’t the case. Now we have people walking to the Soho district, going back and forth to the Greenwise (grocery store). Oh we’ve seen more than a few accidents both coming and going from that corner,” David said.

If drivers are heading eastbound on Azeele, there is a sudden extreme curve that shoots drivers toward Armenia Avenue.

When Leslee began speed busting drivers on Azeele Street, she found them going between eight and 12 mph over the posted 40 mph limit. This was also at 11:30 a.m., when traffic is generally slower. Aside from general speeding on the street, David is most concerned about a sharp curve just down from his house, where there is a 20 mph suggested speed limit. Leslee began clocking drivers as they took the curve at 30 and 40-plus mph. One driver headed into the curve traveling at 46 mph.

Some South Tampa drivers were not happy when Leslee caught them speeding. Aside from a few honks, one driver made a rude gesture with his hand, which involved one particular finger being raised.

David said he has witnessed several cars barrel through the barricades at the curve because they were going too fast. Leslee inspected the area and saw that many of the posts had been knocked down or were broken. Even the street sign was bent.

David explained to Leslee, “It’s an area that is highly congested. They force you into a hairpin turn. As you can see by the traffic barricades that are set up. On more than a few occasions the cars have gone right through them. Totally leveled the plastic barricades that were constructed at the end.”

Leslee let David know that police told her the 20mph yellow and black assign at the curve is, unfortunately, not an enforceable speed limit. Although it is the recommended speed to travel through the curve safely.

She asked David what he wanted to see done.

“The speed should be lowered to at least 35 here, a bike lane would be great for people. And maybe even some type of pedestrian crossing. Maybe where the grocery store is and where Armenia Avenue is,” he replied.

Leslee brought David’s concerns to the City of Tampa’s Transportation Director Jean Duncan. After hearing Leslee’s feedback, Duncan says her department will evaluate improvements when they resurface that section of Azeele Street between Dale Mabry and Armenia Avenue. They will also conduct a traffic study on the intersection. Duncan adds they may potentially make short-term improvements such as speed feedback signs, crosswalk upgrades and other signage refinements. The study will likely take a couple months to complete due to the holidays and scheduling, so Leslee will be checking back with Duncan in February.

If you have an issue with speeding direct message Leslee at her @WFLALeslee Facebook page and she may be able to bring Speed Busters to you.

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