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Tampa Police Increasing Patrols On Deadly Roads For Pedestrians

Tampa Police Department patrol car
Tampa Police Department (Facebook)
The Tampa Police Department will put more officers on three of the city's most dangerous roads for pedestrains.

Tampa police are stepping up their patrols on three roads that have been deadly for pedestrians.

The Tampa Police Department announced on Friday that they will put more officers on Fowler Avenue, Busch Boulevard, and Hillsborough Avenue.

But Sgt. Jim Reiser says that doesn’t mean they’ll be issuing more tickets.

“This is an education initiative,” said Reiser. “The main goal is not to punish drivers. It’s trying to get them to understand that they share responsibility with all the other vehicles on the road and the pedestrians and bicyclists. Everybody has to contribute to safety out here.”

The Tampa Bay area was considered the second most dangerous place for pedestrians in 2014, according to a survey by Smart Growth For America. The survey area, which includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, improved over five years but is still considered the ninth most dangerous place for pedestrians.

“It’s the right direction, but we still got a long way to go,” said David Gwynn, Florida Department of Transportation District 7 secretary.

The focus on education is just one aspect of the police department’s partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The organizations work together to select roadways that could benefit from decreases in the speed limit or additional crosswalks.

In just three years, there were 30 traffic related deaths, on Fowler Avenue, Busch Boulevard, and Hillsborough Avenue -- most caused by high speed and limited crosswalks, Reiser said.

“A lot of our roads were designed in the 60s and 70s when the area was not like it is today,” said David Gwynn, FDOT District 7 secretary. “The purpose of the road [then] was a high speed road to move cars. Now we’ve got an environment where there are a lot more pedestrians so the roads shouldn’t necessarily be just looking at speed.”

The police department will increase the number of people who are pulled over in order to educate drivers, Reiser said.

“If someone is inconvenienced it’s for five minutes,” said Reiser.  “Maybe that’s enough for them to say ‘You know what? I need to pay attention to how I drive. I need to pay attention to my speed.’ and then hopefully things are a little safer for everybody.”

Delaney Brown is a radio news intern for the fall of 2019.