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Neighbors on East Hanna Avenue say speeding is getting out of hand

One of the neighbors contacted ABC Action News' Driving Tampa Bay Forward tipline desperate for a fix.
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Posted at 7:03 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 17:46:51-04

TAMPA, Fla. — John Riddick loves living in Old Seminole Heights.

“It’s a historical neighborhood, and we have a lot of trees and just scenic beauty. It’s a very nice neighborhood,” Riddick said.

But lately, there is a downside that he said is making him increasingly worried: speeding on East Hanna Avenue. Riddick’s home is just steps from the intersection of Hanna Ave. and N. 19th St.

“It’s basically a dragstrip,” he said. “I’ve had to replace two mailboxes. My neighbor has had to replace seven mailboxes over the years. So, it’s extremely dangerous.”

On the stretch of Hanna near his home, the speed limit is marked at 30 miles per hour. There’s also a portion that decreases to 15 miles an hour near Foster Elementary School.

Riddick, however, said some drivers exceed the posted speed limit and are likely using the road as a shortcut to avoid traffic and traffic lights on nearby Hillsborough Avenue. He said that’s making Hanna — which is more of a residential street in comparison — dangerous for people who live, bike, and walk there.

“As you can see here, there are no crosswalks,” said Riddick. “And it’s frightening because it’s just a matter of time before one of these cars can have an accident and run into someone’s home.”

In fact, Orlando Casas, who lives a short distance away, said that’s already happened to his home twice. He describes the speeding problem as “stupid ridiculous,” and to this day, the grandfather worries his home will be hit a third time and fears for the safety of both his grandson and himself.

The City of Tampa says it conducted a road safety audit in the area from I-275 to 40th Street and from Sligh Avenue to Hillsborough Avenue.

"Consultants on the road safety audit made a few great recommendations, including filling gaps in sidewalks along Hanna Avenue and surrounding side streets, a new signal at 30th and Sligh Avenue and a new left-hand turn lane on Northbound 30th and Sligh Ave. They also recommended a new southbound turn left lane at 22nd and Hanna Avenue," said Brandon Campbell, the city's Smart Mobility Manager. "Construction will begin on many of these improvements in the next 18 months."

The City of Tampa says it'll also continue working with neighborhood leaders on future improvements.

Riddick hopes that will be the case.

“People live here. We can’t even back out of our driveways without having somebody honk the horn. We can’t turn into our driveways without somebody blowing the horn or nearly getting hit,” Riddick added. “The public has to be made aware that you can’t go through a residential area at high rates of speed.”

Riddick said anything the city can do would probably help, like better speed limit signs, clearer crosswalk markings, and more traffic enforcement.