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Road safety upgrades coming to Himes Avenue

Adding divider to middle turn lane, bike lanes
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 23, 2016
Safety improvements are on the way to prevent crashes on one of Tampa's most dangerous roads.
 
The City of Tampa has completed a study of Himes Avenue from Kennedy Boulevard to Columbus Drive.
 
These are the last 1.5 miles of Himes Avenue still remaining as four lanes with an unrestricted dual-left turn lane, otherwise known as the "suicide lane."
 
"You don't know which way to turn," said Ross Sims, a Tampa driver. "People will cut you off."  
 
The study helped identify 11 crash clusters, or places where drivers are most likely to crash. On Himes Avenue, they found Himes and Columbus, Himes and I-275 and Himes and Kennedy were some of the worst crash spots.
 
Raymond Hall, a sidewalk sign holder, sees near misses and crashes every day from the corner of Himes and Columbus.
 
"Car accidents," he said. "I've seen people get hit off their bicycles while they were riding across the street."
 
Hall worries that a car could hit him while he's on the sidewalk.
 
"It's just a whole bunch of crazy," he said.
 
Now, The City of Tampa and FDOT are putting money toward safety improvements on Himes from Columbus to Kennedy.
 
They will create more pedestrian improvements, add bike lanes, lighting and reduce the speed limit.
 
They will also redo the middle turn lane, or "suicide lane," by adding a safety divider, only allowing cars to turn in one direction instead of heading right at each other.
 
Drivers and pedestrians feel these changes could make them safer. But until then, Hall says drivers and pedestrians need to be on their guard.
 
"Make sure you are very aware of your surroundings at all times, even if you are walking across a crosswalk," he said.
 
FDOT said construction on these improvements will start in 2018.