HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Leaders with the Florida Department of Transportation are moving forward with improvements to Fowler Avenue.
Crossing the busy road is a challenge for pedestrians. Ashley Gordon walks in the area daily.
“Half the time I’m trying to be like ‘when can I go?’,” she said, “The cars will just go, they don’t even pay attention to the fact that there’s a person there. Honestly, it makes me feel unsafe.”
According to data from FDOT, more than 3,300 crashes happened on a 4-mile stretch of Fowler Avenue from 2015 to 2019. They’re considering changes on the road from 56th Street to Florida Avenue.
“The corridor is definitely changing,” Professional Development Supervisor Craig Fox said. “There’s development throughout the area, especially from Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B Downs Boulevard. We definitely want to set that corridor up for the future of transit.”
Fox said the project includes adding 8 to 12-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road. Additionally, it transitions a lane in each direction into a ‘Business Access and Transit’ lane designated for only buses and cars turning right onto side streets and into businesses.
According to Fox, the changes allow for the possibility of a rapid transit bus line. “It definitely helps with students, folks going to and from work, also, low-income individuals or folks just trying to avoid the pain of being stuck in traffic,” he said.
Gordon said she looks forward to feeling safer. “If they’re actually trying to improve the safety for pedestrians then that means they’re trying to care about the people around their area,” she said.
The project is entering the design phase. Construction is expected to start during the 2025-26 fiscal year.