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Tampa thoroughfare eyed for safety redevelopment

Tampa residents are likely familiar with the busy thoroughfare that is Fowler Avenue. The roadway is populated with a number of large employers but does not provide a significant amount of safety for pedestrians or bicyclists. The crosswalks are not abundant and are significant distances apart. Additionally, the sidewalks do not boast any shade for pedestrians, and sidewalks are separated from the road by ditches that have been overgrown. Bicyclists travel in a bicycle lane only separated from other traffic by a white line.

Based on reports, the road is one of the most dangerous in Hillsborough County and is especially unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists. During 2016, one pedestrian was injured and three other bicyclists were also injured in auto-pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents spanning a 2-mile stretch of the 8-mile road. The accidents occurred in front of a local university, and the street is hardly one that the growing number of residents and citizens who would rather walk or bike than drive want to use or feel safe using.

A plan to innovate the roadway, slow it down, spruce it up and make it safer and more accessible is in the works. Currently, Tampa Bay's infrastructure is not known to be safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. The plan is to transform the street into a roadway that is conducive to multimodal transportation by reducing speed limits, widening sidewalks, constructing partitioned bike lanes and planting trees. Streets of this nature are referred to as complete streets. The Florida Consumer Action network recently reported that complete streets reduce roadway accidents by 18 percent and encourage walking and bicycling.

In addition, one bicyclist in the area reports that angry drivers are a problem even for bicyclists following the rules of the road. When victims of a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident have been harmed by a negligent or careless driver, they have important legal protections to consider that may help them recover compensation for the damages they have suffered. Because of the oftentimes extensive nature of damages suffered in a pedestrian accident, it is important for victims to be familiar with the resources available to help them.

Source: CLTamp.com, "A pedestrian-friendly facelift for Tampa's congested Fowler Avenue?" May 30, 2017

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