Advocates fighting for safer routes to school in Tampa

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – On Tuesday, various traffic stakeholders will descend on Tampa for the “Safe Routes to School National Conference,” a movement to put in place more safety measures for children who walk and bike to school.

“Tampa is a very dangerous city for pedestrians and nobody is more vulnerable than our children,” said Emily Hinsdale with Walk Bike Tampa, an agency that advocates for kids to have safer routes to school.

Hinsdale says too often, children are walking to school without sidewalks, and having to cross major roads, including one she pointed out in Tampa, the intersection at West Azeele Street and South MacDill Avenue.

Hinsdale says kids have to cross there without a crossing guard to get to a nearby elementary school.

“There are crosswalks in place here with a walk signal, however, because of left and right turning traffic there is not a time for pedestrians to cross. So we advocate for pedestrian interval at this light and would love to see crossing guards at this location,” said Hinsdale.

And that’s just a snapshot of what she calls a much bigger problem around Tampa Bay.

Walk Bike Tampa is sponsoring the “Safe Routes to School National Conference” that kicks off Tuesday at the Hilton in Downtown Tampa.

The group is advocating for connected sidewalks to school, so kids don’t walk in the street, protected bike lanes, high emphasis crosswalks, and also safety signage in school zones, among many other changes.

“Tampa has some wonderful people working on making sure that crosswalks and other safety issues around schools are moving forward in the right direction, but it’s been a long way to go,” said Hinsdale.

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