PLANT CITY – Robert Hallback was born 79 years ago in a home a stone’s throw from the intersection of Waller and Ball streets.
The retiree said he’s seen a lot of change over the years, including increasing traffic that he believes warrants a four-way stop at the intersection.
He and other residents have banded together to request that the city install a four-way stop at the intersection to ensure safety. Currently, drivers on Waller are the only ones who have to stop.
“I think they need to do something there before someone gets hurt or killed,” said Hallback, who has lived his entire life on Ball Street.
The city is currently reviewing the request.
Residents who are lobbying for a four-way stop say a privacy fence on one corner of the intersection and vegetation on another corner obscure vision for drivers who stop at Waller.
“You have to get out into the intersection before you can see what’s coming,” said Edith Best, who lives in another part of town but serves as the group’s spokeswoman.
Reha Cooper, who lives nearby, said she’s long had concerns about the intersection. But traffic is getting heavier and it’s time for the city to act, she said.
“Plant City is growing. It’s making it worse,” said Cooper, who said she hears the squealing brakes of near misses.
Arlene Johnson, another longtime resident, said she’d like to see a four-way stop similar to one recently installed nearby at Maryland and Alabama streets.
Mike Richardson, who lives in the area, said he’s had two accidents in recent years and favors a four-way stop and speed bumps to slow down motorists.
City Engineer Brett Gocka said he looked at the intersection a few months back and determined that it didn’t warrant a four-way stop. The city follows guidelines for four-way stops that take into consideration such factors as the number of accidents, traffic volume and average speeds.
The last time Gocka studied the intersection was during summer months and now that school is back in session, the situation may have changed, he said.
“We’re going to take another look,” Gocka said.
He hopes to finish his study in about a week or so.
Best said she believes the city will agree with neighbors if they consider the factors such as the fence and vegetation that hinder visibility.
She said she plans to keep up the pressure.
“You have to fight for what you believe in,” she said.