New red light approved for Eckerd College entrance - WFLA News Channel 8

New red light approved for Eckerd College entrance

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

Navigating the turn from the Pinellas Bayway, or 54th Avenue South into Eckerd College in St. Petersburg can be risky.

For years, retired diplomat Bob Shepherd fought unsuccessfully to get a stoplight installed. He was a member of Eckerd's Academy of Senior Professionals and regularly drove to the campus from his nearby home. "He was a man who saw a need for this traffic light. It was a tragedy waiting to happen," said long-time friend Jack Reed.  Sadly, the tragedy was Shepherd's own death at this very intersection in a car accident last November.

Today, state officials unveiled plans for a red light to be installed at the college entrance.  "We pressed the secretary to conduct the study, the study was conducted, it did prove that the intersection warranted a signal and we're very happy with the outcome," said Republican Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg.

The new signal is welcome news on campus.  "We think it'll make people a whole lot safer over the long haul," said Dr. Don Eastman, Eckerd College President. He said the intersection is often the site of fender benders and more serious accidents.

Shepherd's friends believe he would be pleased with his legacy. "Bob Shepherd would've been absolutely delighted. It's a pity that it took a life but it's very important for the succeeding generations."

Already Florida Department of Transportation workers are assessing the site, but it may take a year for the light to be installed.

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