FDOT to Address Traffic Issue at Chiles High School

FDOT to Address Traffic Issue at Chiles High School

Tallahassee Reports has learned that traffic issues at the entrance of Chiles High School will be addressed by the Florida Department of Transportation before school starts in August.

Laurie Osgood, a parent of a Chiles High School student, started a change.org petition to bring attention to traffic concerns. The petition is titled “SLOW DOWN!!! Morning traffic in front of Lawton Chiles High School needs better speed enforcement.”

The petition, which has been signed by 386 people, can be accessed here.

The petition conveys concern about students having to navigate early morning traffic traveling southbound on Thomasville Road. Traffic in the morning hours causes left-turn lanes to get backed-up and often times results in students driving north, past the school, and completing u-turns to get across Thomasville Rd.

Ms. Osgood writes in the petition “For years, parents, teachers, Chiles administration and the Leon County School Board staff have tried in vain to get DOT to install more effective school zone signage, such as the ones located on Kerry Forest Parkway near Desoto Trail Elementary. We need a solution not excuses from DOT!”

TR requested and received a traffic analysis completed by DOT which recommended changes.

The study was completed at the request of a local resident who was concerned that the turn lane lengths and operating conditions along Thomasville Road were unable to handle the demand.

The report found  a definite correlation between school peak traffic periods and roadway crash rates and also that queue stacking can be an occasional issue within the turn lanes.

Based on the report, the following improvements are recommended:

  • Extend the existing northbound left turn lane at Timberwolf Crossing to a total turn lane length of 700-ft.
  • Extend the existing northbound left turn lane at the northern school entrance to a total turn lane length
    of at least 700-ft
  • Construct a dedicated southbound right turn lane at the northern school entrance per FDOT Design
    Standard Index 301 with a design speed of 50 MPH.
  • Construct a dedicated southbound right turn lane at Timberwolf Crossing per FDOT Design Standard
    Index 301 at a design speed of 50 MPH.

The report also recommended that Leon County Public Works consider restricting the eastbound left turn movement at the northern school entrance during morning arrival period (6:30 AM to 8:30 AM).

Mr. Robert Tricquet, Director of  District Safety for Leon Schools told TR that the changes to the entrance into Chiles High School from Thomasville Road will be altered before school starts in August.

Mr. Tricquet said the improvements include lengthening the left turn lanes and installing two – southbound right turn lanes.

Any further action, such as having a traffic officer placed at the intersection during morning hours, will have to be addressed by Leon County Schools and the the Sheriff’s Office. TR was told that such an action would have financial implications.

8 Responses to "FDOT to Address Traffic Issue at Chiles High School"

  1. What is needed here are flashing lights with a reduced speed zone on Thomasville Road from at least 7 until 7:30 a.m., making it safer for students to turn left into Chiles. There are so many cars driving south in the morning that students have to dart across whenever there is the slightest opening.

    It is very dangerous for anyone to get across during morning rush hour, especially young drivers. If they were able to cross the road here easier, traffic wouldn’t back up in the north bound turn lanes.

  2. The DOT should have created an bypass connecting 319 (Thomasville Road) to Interstate 10 twenty years ago. The vehicles destined to go east or west on Interstate 10 should be directed onto a bypass before it jams up traffic around Bradfordville Road and moves into the city.

  3. Charge more for parking. Enough to pay for all the expensive road widening and police……and people hurt. Maybe more would car pool. No need for driving at lunch.

  4. These left turn lanes are going to be a huge improvement.
    They are way past due.

    Unfortunately, they will not cure the problem of stupid seventeen-year-olds.
    The northernmost left turn into Chiles will require a traffic signal.
    It can act as a safety flasher 23 1/2 hours a day, but is required for half an hour a day.

    The failure to provide a traffic signal is a deliberate choice for death on the highway.
    Will it be a car carrying four laughing senior girls planning their prom?
    Possibly it will be Mr Cool Dude in Daddy’s oversized pickup….

    Whose commuting family coming down from Thomasville is going to lose their mother and siblings?

    The years and years of neglect this problem still rests squarely on the shoulders of the school board, the school superintendent, Chiles’ principal, and Leon County’s sheriff. Each has it within their power to provide mitigating actions to reduce the extremely high number of near collisions.

    Florida’s Highway Patrol is not without blame, but they have provided the best deterrent presence. I applaud them, while regretting they are not there more often, especially at the crucial morning half hour.
    And, of course, DOT has known what is needed for years.

    I refuse to excuse any party to this death trap on the basis of available funding. Options, alternatives and mitigating acts have always been available, but the key individuals in this situation sit on their hands and wait for death to fund their dreams of an ideal traffic loop. They failed and continue to fail to make adjustments to parking, schedules and provision of deputies for half an hour each morning.

    I have no doubt that heartfelt eulogies have alrady been written, waiting only for the names to be filled in.
    Then, we’ll hear these read by Jackie Pons and Joe Burgess in voices filled with emotion and empathy for the grieving families. And, all these past years, little or nothing has been done to make this road safer.

    We need to get the whole job done right, and get it done now. Are we really going to wait for death to motivate the funding? No one who comes down hwy 319 during the 7am rush would argue against doing it right. The nay sayers who don’t want to spend money have never driven past Chiles when the stupid goofies are racing each other to the parking lot in their two tons of steel.

  5. Try a turn signal during school start and end times. Flashing yellow on Thomasville Rd otherwise.

    Now address the driving of students in the parking lot!

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