Phil Attinger/News-Sun Stanley Schmidt of Sebring points out the intersection where traffic comes off U.S. 27 onto Northwood Boulevard and Frontage Road for local businesses, including Love Bugg's gasoline station and car wash. He said he's often seen near misses from cars not stopping for incoming traffic at the three-way stop on Frontage Road.
click any photo to view this story's photo gallery
published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Northwood Blvd. subject of U.S. 27 traffic signal debate
By PHIL ATTINGER
SEBRING -- How much traffic control drivers need at U.S. 27 and Northwood Boulevard is up for debate.
Florida Department of Transportation officials say the intersection is safe, but Sebring resident Stanley Schmidt believes the intersection in front of Love Bugg's and the Blue Lagoon Saloon needs a traffic signal.
Schmidt said he's seen several close calls with cars pulling into Northwood from the highway and other cars heading out toward the highway or either crossing or turning left onto Frontage Road, which parallels U.S. 27.
Northwood leads to Colony Point mobile home park, behind the Frontage Road businesses.
Stop signs at that location state that it's a three-way stop, but traffic coming in from U.S. 27 doesn't stop.
County Engineer Ramon Gavarrete said Tuesday he would have Highlands County's Traffic Operations install additional signs to point that out by today at the latest.
A similar sign at a gasoline station on Frontage Road just south of Sun 'N Lake Boulevard warns traffic to yield to incoming traffic from the highway, Gavarrete said.
Since Feb. 25, 2012, the intersection has had 10 traffic crashes, on almost any day of the week at times as early as 7:01 a.m. to 10:14 p.m.
The crashes were split one-third each between the lunch hours of noon to 1 p.m., afternoon rush hours of 3:30-5:30 p.m. and evening hours of 7:45-10:15 p.m.
Ali Hamed, owner and operator of Love Bugg's gas station and car wash said those are the times -- especially in the morning -- when his station gets the busiest.
Wednesday's traffic bore that out, as several motorists ducked off U.S. 27 into his parking lot. A near miss between a sedan and truck that morning underscored Schmidt's concern.
Traffic Operations installed a stop sign for outbound traffic at Northwood Road and Frontage Road on June 20, Gavarrete said.
Schmidt said people were and are still running the sign.
Capt. Jeff Barfield with Highlands County Sheriff's Office doesn't have exact statistics on citations at that location. It's covered by officers from the county, the City of Sebring and Florida Highway Patrol.
However, he said drivers tend not to notice any new traffic control device for at least a couple of weeks after it's installed.
"Generally, once (drivers) become acquainted with it, they comply," Barfield said.
He also said daylight crashes tend to be more likely, despite the late-night hours of Blue Lagoon Saloon at the same intersection, because traffic volume is less.
Schmidt still wants to see a traffic signal, and has asked FDOT to look into it.
He also asked FDOT Traffic Studies Analysis Specialist Tanya King to meet with him, Barfield, Hamed and County Commissioner Don Elwell at the intersection on Monday morning.
King said she couldn't say much about the situation, other than FDOT would look at traffic counts during peak winter visitor season early next year.
"We try to do counts during peak traffic," said Robin Stublen, communication specialist with FDOT District 1 in Bartow.
Stublen said FDOT would cover all time variables -- how many crashes have occurred there, at what times of the day and under what circumstances, and note how long it takes motorists to enter U.S. 27.
Elwell said part of the county's long-term plans included having a light at Tanglewood Drive, but not at Northwood.
"I don't know if the long-term solution would be a stop light," Elwell said.
Desire for traffic signals on U.S. 27 is nothing new. When Lowe's Home Improvement was built at Thunderbird Road, Gavarrete submitted news coverage and statistics of wrecks at that location to convince FDOT officials to install a light there before the store opened.
He knows FDOT has done studies on Northwood before, and didn't find enough traffic volume to justify a signal.
"That's why we put a stop sign up," Gavarrete said.
Huh??? (by: D.J.Steward - 9/14/2013)
What the heck is DWHUA?? I wish people would not abbreviate things that are not standard abbreviations known to everyone, otherwise we haven't a clue what you are talking about.
no more lights (by: just sayin - 9/13/2013)
Another light will not eliminate the problem. Irresponsible drivers will cause accidents regardless of the intersection. As to the speeders between Walmart and Sun N Lake, I suppose that is built up frustration because of the slow drivers hogging up all three lanes of traffic. Maybe law enforcement should start enforcing the new move over law requiring drivers on highways with 3 or more lanes to keep off the left lane except for passing only.
(by: Blindman~ - 9/13/2013)
I'm so sick of obsessed people imposing on others because of their feelings. That means you Stanley!
Traffic on 27 (by: Al - 9/12/2013)
If the DOT was able to close the high number of crossovers on Avon Park, why they do not do the same in Sebring?
Response (by: Yowzaa! - 9/12/2013)
Haven't seen this community so fired up about such an irrelevant issue in quite some time. Makes for good reading and some good suggestions if the county or state will listen,
Revoked (by: Jeth8er - 9/12/2013)
When you retire in Florida you should have your license revoked. Problem solved! Old farts are not the answer to our problems, old farts are the problem! Just sayin'
Change traffic pattern (by: Marie - 9/12/2013)
Do not allow the southbound traffic to turn into the path of the northbound traffic on 27. Northbound 27 turn only allowed at intersection. There is a turning lane already in existent only a few more yards south 27 at Publix intersection. Direct all traffic coming onto highway at this intersection to turn south into the flow of traffic.
us 27 changes (by: 7quh5 - 9/11/2013)
what is needed is an 8 way light at both locations, a toll booth in the middle, and to build a new school near colony point, make the speed limit 15mph, and add four speed bumps across us27. and all residents of colony point and tanglewood have restricted driving beteeen 3am to 6am
Traffic (by: J Macy - 9/11/2013)
What they need to do instead of more traffic lights is no left turns onto US 27 meaning that if you are coming out from Love Bugs, for example, onto US 27, you have to go north (right turn) then make a uturn up ahead if youbwant to fo south. No more crossing the highway and then stop in the middle. Decades ago, this is what they did in New Jersey, dropping the car accidents 70% .
DWHUA (by: Guest - 9/11/2013)
If people wouldn't DWHUA, we wouldn't have all these problems. If the bad drivers and old people would quit pulling out in front of traffic we wouldn't have to have all these lights. The problem is the people driving, not the intersection.
Race trac (by: BJS - 9/11/2013)
Well, Obviously you have never seen an accident there. I drive that stretch usually 4 times a day. People in general think that is a Drag Race line from Walmart to Sun N Lakes. I see people driving 70 miles an hour or more. I don't want my kids or others killed because some thinks they can go a high rate of speed because there's no traffic light. The traffic lights in front of mall area keep speed down and they need that farther north also.
Rt 27 Crossovers (by: J.R. Tefft - 9/11/2013)
The State and the County need to remove or close all of the crossovers on Rt27 . There is no need for so many crossovers on a 4 lane highway. And in the interest of public safety there should not be any crossovers on RT 27, except for major intersections which have signal lights. All of the other crossovers are nothing but death traps. And they do not help business with the people crossing over to get to their stores. Remember a dead customer will never buy from you again.
Traffic lights (by: Driver on 27 - 9/11/2013)
Just what 27 needs....another traffic light! The ones we presently have seem to only create congestion not relieve it.
Traffic lights (by: Douglas - 9/11/2013)
I get my gas at Love Buggs and I never try to return via 27. Instead, I go out the back and down Commercial Dr. and turn left on Sherwood to Memorial and right to Sebring Parkway. It's safer and not all that inconvenient. Entering Love Buggs from 27 is easy enough to do if you pay attention and you can always go the quarter block to the other entrance.
Enough is enough (by: Working man, not a retiree with extra time. - 9/11/2013)
Common people, is call Hwy 27 for a reason, it is not a city street. We do not need more traffic lights, specially just when one person wants it.
Traffic light (by: BJS - 9/11/2013)
I believe a traffic light at the intersection of Northwood and 27 would be more beneficial than one at Tanglewood. There is way more traffic clogging the intersection there and there are several outlets at that area. There are people coming from the east and out of Love Buggs parking lot and in front of Blue Lagoon. Then traffic coming off 27 from the north. It's hard to watch all directions at one time. It is probably the most dangerous intersection in my opinion. Drivers are not courteous drivers in this area.
Phil (by: Jeanne Niemiec - 9/11/2013)
Hi Phil - Welcome back to Sebring.
Murphy express in AP (by: Kit Carson Hamm - 9/11/2013)
Murphy express in Avon Park need a traffic lights there too
uggh (by: whatever - 9/11/2013)
I'm just shaking my head... More lights.. Why not have one at every 100 yards.. would that be safe enough? Why not build an overpass at that location so the Golf Carts can travel safely?
Small Banner Ads