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GAC Update: Parking, Traffic and Power Outages

With the arrival of a new year, I offer an end-of-the-year report of GAC’s activities for 2017.

The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) of the Westchase Community Association (WCA) was involved in 16 projects during 2017. These included West Park restaurant noise, parking and traffic issues, a community clinic, low-income affordable housing, Glencliff and Westchase Swim Tennis Center crosswalk signals, and representation to the FDOT Transportation Working Group for Northwest Hillsborough County.

An interactive Transportation Forum was held in Westchase in November for our neighbors to voice their concerns and objections to proposed state and regional transportation systems.

I am pleased to report that construction on the Citrus Park Drive Extension will begin in January 2018 and Joe Odda continues to follow this project.

Two major issues consumed most of GAC’s activity: TECO and parking/traffic issues.

The GAC initiated dialogue with the county last year to develop a comprehensive Westchase traffic and parking study. I hope to view aerial photos within the next few weeks. Major concerns are delays to emergency vehicles because of vehicle obstruction. This is of paramount importance in West Park Village and the Woodbridge gated entrance, where overflow parking prevented vehicles from entering and leaving Woodbridge; and in Kingsford, whose residents are impacted by parking and speeding by Davidson Middle School parents. These are just the GACs’ beginning areas of concern.

As reported on the Westchase Neighborhood News Facebook page, WCA President Ruben Collazo and I met with TECO representatives to discuss Westchase power outages. The post-Irma power outage was due to debris knocking down wires and flooding of the substation. Special equipment was required and we had to wait for our turn (TECO triages power restoration sequences.). Ruben and I inquired about their priorities  and procedures and we found them to be reasonable. We further discussed ongoing power outages, including seconds-long power lapses. These normal minor outages are designed to prevent actual power outages due to overloads, peak times, etc. They result from a safety mechanism during which the system self-corrects. Longer power losses concern not only us but also TECO. TECO’s engineer explained that TECO is researching when, where, and how long these outages occur. I hope to have the study’s results soon.

We asked about connecting western parts of Keswick Forest, Glenfield and Woodbay to the Westchase grid. Due to the loss of power over longer distances and its negative impact on existing Westchase areas, a new substation would be needed for the connection and construction of a new substation is not economically feasible.

I remain in regular contact with TECO to work toward a satisfying and acceptable solution.

By Rick Goldstein, GAC Chair

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