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East Bay H.S. mother posts video about students walking unsafe streets

County leaders moving sidewalk projects up
Posted at 4:22 AM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 04:22:40-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Hillsborough mother got county leaders attention about unsafe streets on her daughter's walk to school by making a video of her child's journey and posting it to social media.

Vanessa Harmon was concerned about her ninth-grade daughter's nearly two-mile walk to East Bay H.S. in Tampa because there are several sidewalk gaps and some missing crosswalk markings at intersections. The video shows students walking within feet of traffic on no sidewalks and through ditches.

“The children were walking on the side of the roads, the cars are swerving around them," Harmon said. "It seems very dangerous."

Her daughter told ABC Action News bad weather conditions make things even worse.

“It’s terrible when it’s raining but you just have to walk by and hope you don’t get hit," said Natalie Harmon.

The sidewalk gaps include places along Covington Gardens Drive and Big Bend Road. These all lead to Corr Elementary School, Eisenhower Middle School and East Bay High School. Kids that live within a two-mile radius of the school are not eligible for courtesy busing, so they must walk or find an alternative way to school.

Parents told ABC Action News they refuse to let their kids walk to school for fear they will be hit.

“It is extremely dangerous for the kids," said Bishop Davis. "There’s no sidewalks. The traffic is normally going way over the speed limit.”  

Harmon said she contacted Hillsborough County officials several times about the problem but didn't hear back. After posting her video to Facebook, Harmon said Hillsborough County Public Works called her back and said not only are sidewalk projects on Big Bend Road and Covington Gardens Drive being accelerated, but they will take an idea about a potential pedestrian overpass to county engineers to see if it's feasible.

ABC Action News reached out to Hillsborough County to independently confirm this but did not hear back. However, new sidewalks have become a top priority since voters passed the All For Transportation tax, benefiting Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa.