TAMPA — Sidewalks can save lives. That’s why a local non-profit is fighting to have miles of sidewalk installed around the University Area.
There is a big push in the area to make streets safer for pedestrians, not only with more sidewalks getting installed but with the return of bus route 44 that was gone for several years.
“We fought for over two years to get this bus stop back implemented right outside the University Area CDC center,” Sarah Combs said. Combs is the CEO of the University Area Community Development Corporation.
Combs says the current sidewalks going in total 6,237 linear feet or 1.181 miles, and an additional mile of sidewalks are planned for future projects.
“If you walk into our community you’ll see mother’s pushing strollers in the middle of the street and it’s just not acceptable and we want to make sure our kids walking to school have a safe place to do so and aren’t put in harm's way,” Combs said. “ What’s nice about this win we’ve accomplished, is now we’ve paved the pathway for how we can implement sidewalks in this community.”
Combs says 30% of residents that live in the University Area don’t have access to transportation: another reason Combs fought so hard to get route 44 on 22nd Street back.
“So, this is a walkable community that relies on public transportation so when you take a route that is heavily utilized by the community away it affects families in so many different ways and imposed a hardship that is hard to overcome.”