North Florida Avenue remains a dangerous place, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists. Thin sidewalks and speeding cars are common. As are drivers who go the wrong way.
Florida's Department of Transportation is responding to the call from the community for more safety, recently adding more Wrong Way signs to a one-way section of N. Florida Avenue, and adding more pedestrian safety signs.
They're also bringing big changes, like adding pedestrian walkways, outside of Metropolitan Ministries, a major local non-profit group that helps homeless people in the Tampa Bay Area.
"We’ve had vehicles come up on the curb, even hit our buildings, because of traffic going very fast or people not paying attention," explains Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks.
Marks says he has been asking the state for a while now to find a way to slow traffic on N. Florida Avenue. and it appears his requests are finally being heard.
FDOT tells ABC Action News that three crosswalks will be constructed as part of an active design build project, two on N. Florida Ave and one on N. Tampa Street. All three crosswalks will include overhead RRFBs (rectangular rapid flashing beacons) and pedestrian-activated lighting.
Design has been completed and plans have been released for construction, says FDOT. The locations are as follows:
- N Florida Ave south of E Frances Ave
- N Florida Ave north of E Park Ave
- N Tampa St south of E park Ave
Construction will be completed by the end of the calendar year 2017.
FDOT says another pedestrian crossing study was recently completed along N. Florida Ave in the vicinity of W. Wilder Ave in the Seminole Heights community, near popular restaurants like The Independent, The Refinery, as well as a frequented Dollar Tree store.
The study concluded that a mid-block crosswalk was warranted at this location, says FDOT, adding that a crosswalk at this location will be included in a future construction project, likely by Spring of 2018.