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Coalition demanding Bay to Bay changes to speak out at Tampa City Council meeting

Posted at 11:06 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 23:16:48-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Neighbors and South Tampa business owners will confront City of Tampa officials Thursday morning about safety changes they say are needed on Bay to Bay Boulevard. 

"These people do not go the speed limit, they're over that," said Dan Gregory. 

Dan Gregory now avoids biking on Bay to Bay at all costs. The avid cyclist recently experienced a terrifying fall after his handlebars clipped a TECO power pole. 

"Which basically turned me into the road," said Gregory. "I ended up laying here in the middle of this road."

Gregory is now pushing for wider sidewalks or a bike path along the busy South Tampa street. He pointed out to ABC Action News how narrow the space is between speeding traffic and pedestrians. 

"A total shock," said Gregory. "I could have been all over the road, you know, on somebody's hood, or dead."

Gregory isn't alone. As ABC Action News reported last week, a coalition of business owners want City of Tampa officials to reconsider a plan that would cut Bay to Bay Boulevard from four lanes to three, designating a turn lane, making room for wider sidewalks and/or bike lanes. 

"We want this to be sort of the Bay to Bay district where people are walking to shops and dining," said Andrea Gebbia, owner of Joe and Son's Olive Oils. 

Gebbia and other local shop owners say improving Bay to Bay's walkability is vital for the area's economic growth. 

"Even here when you walk out the front door of the business and you're practically on the street."

Jean Duncan, with the City of Tampa, tells ABC Action News, they plan to keep the 4-lane divided roadway, but will make changes for a much safer roadway. 

A statement about future improvements to Bay to Bay reads in part: 

The description of that alternative has been shared to the public, and simply described will induce traffic calming and reduce vehicle speed by reducing the travel lane width by 1-2 feet, will separate the vehicle traffic from pedestrians by providing a 1-2 foot striped buffer, will reinforce the 35 mph speed limit by adding the speed limit pavement markings to the roadway, and will include Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI's) to the signalized intersections of Esperanza, Concordia, and Himes.  These LPI's will allow for safer crossing opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists.  The eastern end of the project will include a new stop-condition for northbound vehicular traffic to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian movement, will eliminate the exiting acceleration lane on Bayshore Blvd. at Bay-to-Bay Blvd. and the merge condition, and will include a sidewalk on the south side of Bay-to-Bay Blvd. from MacDill Ave. to Bayshore Blvd.

Citizens for a Better Bay to Bay will be attending Thursday's meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. at 315 E John F Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.