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Neighborhood associations demanding safer streets

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 14:41:50-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Neighborhood associations across the Bay Area want the county to make the roads safer for everyone.

They say recent deaths on Bayshore Boulevard and 40th street have highlighted how critical it is to act now. 

"This is avoidable. These people did not have to die.  We have the means to change our streets are structured,” said Michelle Cookson, with Sunshine Citizens. 

Berenice Thomas has lived in her corner home for decades - it borders Ola Avenue in Old Seminole Heights. She’s seen families come and go, but lately, it’s been strangers cutting through to avoid traffic back-ups on Hillsborough Avenue. 

"I don’t appreciate it because they don’t live in this neighborhood and I don't think they should do that, they should be more considerate,” she said. 

Ola Avenue is one of three areas within a mile radius, the Old Seminole Heights neighborhood association thinks needs more lighting, street signs and police presence. 

Neighbors say street markings on Ola Avenue that point out the 25 mph speed limit have only been there for a few months, but already they’re crumbling and coming off the street.

A 4-way stop was installed at Ola and Henry, but neighbors and the association say it wasn’t until after someone was hit by a car that changes were made. 

Cookson says these types of problems plague streets all over the Bay Area, but not enough is being done to fix them.

"People are just tired, there really tired of excuses they don’t wanna hear any more delays because every day in this county people are dying,” she said. "They’re dying on foot they’re dying on bicycles and her dying in their cars.”

She believes public transportation needs to be a main priority.

"We can do better than this and we need to offer a better means for people to get around and we believe a lot of that must include transit," said Cookson. "We have to fund our bus system appropriately and it’s shameful for an area of our size that we don’t fund the buses."

The MPO meeting (Metropolitan Planning Organization) starts at 6 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the county building downtown - each person signed up for public comment gets three minutes to share their concerns.