Kissimmee neighborhood residents say traffic creating dangerous situation

Police say they are aware of safety concerns

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - All across Central Florida there is construction. But what do you do when the "improvements" lead to congestion, speeding and crashes in your neighborhood?

Residents in Kissimmee say traffic in their neighborhood is an accident waiting to happen.

Every morning and every evening, Sasha Peace says, there is a line of traffic weaving a web of chaos right through her neighborhood.

"It's very frustrating as a parent," Peace said. "I'm scared that my son is going to get hit by a car. Like, that's our biggest fear."

Her neighbor Mary Wagner has concerns, too. "It's not safe," Wagner said. "It's turned into a ridiculous situation."

Peace and Wagner said the problems started months ago with the last phase of the Kissimmee Lakefront Park Redevelopment Project.

Lake Shore Boulevard is closed and traffic is rerouted down Tohopekaliga Avenue.

However when traffic on Tohopekaliga Avenue backs up, drivers get creative and cut down Wagner's street and Peace's street to get to Neptune Road, even though there is a large sign notifying drivers "Road closed. Local traffic only."

"They roll right through the stop sign, and they come right through the neighborhood, like it's nothing," Peace said.

News 6 set up a camera and saw a steady stream of traffic using the streets as a cut-through.

Peace said there's already been one crash.  A driver ran into Peace's basketball hoop.

"I heard like a bang out front," Peace said. "I walked out front to get in my car and noticed that our basketball hoop was actually laying down in the middle of the street and had been hit by another vehicle."

Kissimmee police say they are aware of the problem. Spokesperson Bailey Myers wants drivers to know using the cut through can have consequences.

If caught, drivers can get a ticket that comes with $166 fine, and three points on your license, Myers said.

"I just want to make it clear this is a dangerous situation," Myers said. "We are talking about a construction zone. We are talking about an area that is prohibited, other than for those who live in that area."

The department is asking residents to keep them notified.

"I know that puts the burden on the people in the community, but our hope is that the more calls we get the more actively we can make sure we are aware of the extent of the issue," she said.

"My concern is that somebody's going to get hurt," Peace said. "Whether it be my child, my animal or somebody else in the neighborhood is going to get injured."

News 6 learned Kissimme police know about the ongoing traffic issue, but city traffic engineers were not aware it was a problem until we brought it to their attention.

Anyone experiencing traffic issue in their neighborhood should not only notify law enforcement officials but also contact the city or the county. Many municipalities will conduct traffic studies to figure out the best way to solve the problem.

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