TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa City Council will receive an update on several Florida Department of Transportation road safety projects at Thursday's regular board meeting, highlighting new efforts to reduce crashes and improve emergency response times.
The state will review an innovative push to prevent crashes on Busch Boulevard, known for dangerous and deadly crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists.
FDOT installed four new pedestrian hybrid beacons at the end of 2020 along the busy road, creating several new places for pedestrians to cross. The blinking red lights warn drivers to stop after pedestrians hit a crosswalk button.
Making sure drivers know that the crosswalks are there and that pedestrians know how to use them has been a critical focus for FDOT in the past few months.
If you are using a navigation app, geofencing will populate notifications and ads informing drivers to slow down or letting them know about the installation of the new crosswalks.
This is in addition to on-the-street education efforts, social media pushes, and new billboards promoting safety along the corridor.
However, some people like McDonald Phillip, who doesn't have a car, still travel all the way to a main traffic light and crosswalk to cross the street.
"I'm in a wheelchair, and so it wouldn't be safe for me to take that chance," Phillip said.
He is not using the new pedestrian hybrid crosswalks because he still is not confident drivers will stop for him.
"This is a main thoroughfare," Phillip said. "That's a different kind of traffic than when you get to the light and you're waiting to be told what to do."
All of this comes as the City of Tampa and FDOT are jointly working toward a new centralized traffic control system. A few big benefits will be better response times for emergency vehicles, as they will be given priority with traffic signals.
Construction on this is happening now and is expected to be complete in 2023.