TAMPA (WFLA) – Following the death of George Gage on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, some people are renewing calls for major changes to the scenic drive.
Alex Engleman is a founding member of a group called Take Back Bayshore.
“A number of like-minded residents, both on Bayshore and people who like to recreate on Bayshore got together and said enough is enough,” said Engleman.
He would like to see traffic rerouted on Bayshore and the street closed completely on the weekends.
“I think one way to change drivers impression of what this corridor is, the shore of the bay is to close it on the weekend to vehicular traffic. Make sure that it is that community resource, make sure that people are pushing their joggers and their wheelchairs and their strollers,” said Engleman.
Jean Duncan is the head of transportation for the city of Tampa. Duncan says the city does close Bayshore for specific weekend events for several hours at a time, but closing it completely on the weekends is not likely but the city is considering some changes to improve pedestrian safety.
“We’re looking at a couple of specific things, such as adding more pedestrian beacons south of Howard Avenue. We’re looking at improving the intersection of Rome Avenue and Bayshore where a lot of folks tend to cross,” said Duncan.
Some people have also suggested adding speed bumps or reducing the number of lanes on Bayshore.
Duncan says those changes are also not likely and that pushing traffic off of Bayshore would create problems throughout South Tampa.
“When the traffic between Euclid and Bay to Bay was cut off and sent to Macdill Avenue, the side residential streets had traffic, MacDill Avenue was backed up,” said Duncan who adds that the city is working with neighborhoods to improve traffic and pedestrian safety on Bayshore, but finding the right answer is a difficult balancing act.