TAMPA, Fla. — A South Tampa community is raising concerns about railroad crossings, streets and sidewalks. Now, a community leader is on a mission to get them fixed.
“It’s bad. You’ve got deep divets in here. It’s falling apart. Right here is where we actually have a spike that’s sticking up,” said Jeffrey Nietupski, the president of the Gandy Sun Bay South Civic Association.
He pointed out the issues at a railroad crossing near South Manhattan Avenue and Bay Avenue. It’s one of several on his radar.
He said residents have also expressed concerns about two crossings near Pearl Avenue and Clark Street, and another at Westshore Boulevard and Prescott Street.
Nietupski said residents have submitted more than two dozen requests to CSX about them, but have not gotten them fixed yet.
“If we don’t get this fixed soon we’re gonna have more damage, we’re gonna have more problems, and it’s gonna take the neighborhood rallying together like it is to get this fixed,” he said.
A CSX spokesperson released this statement to ABC Action News:
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. CSX takes concerns over crossing safety very seriously because maintaining railroad infrastructure is essential in preventing accidents and ensuring reliable freight service to our customers. CSX local maintenance managers are aware and will review the crossings to determine if any improvements can be made until full repaving can be scheduled.”
Tampa's Transportation and Stormwater Services Department director said work will being on the CSX railroad crossings on Aug. 5th.
"This work is contingent on CSX maintaining the planned schedule that we have coordinated. Barring any changes on their end or weather delays, we expect to have that RR crossing work done by the end of August," wrote Jean Duncan.
It’s not the only problem the community is tackling, though.
“It’s just a headache. There’s nowhere to walk, no where to ride a bike or anything,” said resident Chad LaCava after having to walk on the road when a sidewalk ended.
Nietupski said he wants to see continuous sidewalks throughout the neighborhood and a large bike path throughout South Tampa. He even created his own ideas for it and a packet listing out concerns and ideas to give to councilmen Thursday.
The civic association is also in touch with Councilman Bill Carlson’s office.
“In terms of transportation there are a lot of things that need to be done. There’s higher density in South Tampa from the last few years,” Councilman Carlson said. “The neighbors also don’t necessarily want to widen the roads so we’ve got to look at other options. Depending on what happens for All for Transportation money we can look at potentially rail lines or do sidewalks.”
Duncan said a three-phase resurfacing project in the Gandy Sun Bay South neighborhood will start when the railroad track work is complete, around the beginning of September. There are also sidewalk projects planned on Bay (Himes Ave. to Dale Mabry Hwy.), Lois Ave. (Interbay Ave. to Mango Ave.) and Westshore Blvd. (Tyson Ave. to W. Leila Ave.)
We will begin a three-phase resurfacing project in the Gandy Sun Bay South neighborhood, when the CSX RR track work is complete, in approximately the beginning of September, 2019. This work will require about three months to complete, with the goal of having it all done before the holiday season starts.
But from sidewalks to railroads, the goal’s the same.
“I want to see it get done,” Nietupski said.