TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The community gathered for a vigil Saturday morning in honor of the man killed while walking along Bayshore Boulevard.
“He told his wife, ‘It’s a beautiful day and I’m going for a walk,'” George Gage’s friend said.
That’s how George Gage, 70, started his Thursday morning. However, that walk along Bayshore Boulevard ended with a suspected drunk driver plowing into him.
“He didn’t deserve what happened to him while going for a walk on our Bayshore Boulevard,” the friend said.
Several Tampa Bay organizations, friends of Gage and neighbors in the Bayshore community attended a vigil in Gage’s honor Saturday. Supporters prayed and tied shoelaces together as a sign of unity as they join forces to advocate for change along the busy boulevard.
“It’s time for this street to change,” one organizer said. “Bayshore is a park not a highway.”
Neighbors say they want to see a slower speed limit, speed humps and fewer lanes.
“It really should not be like this with a little strip of gas, a sidewalk and cars going all the time more than 50 miles per hour,” Gage’s friend said.
Linda Saul-Sena is a former Tampa city councilwoman. She served on the council when they voted to add a green space in between Bayshore Boulevard and the sidewalk. She said that change was due to the constant push from the community. She believes it will take that same consistency to see change now.
“That serves as an example that if the public really speaks out about what they want to make Bayshore safer, the city will respond,” Saul-Sena said.
Until the city responds, Gage’s friend has one message for drivers: “Slow down.”
People at the vigil signed a petition to support advocacy groups calling for changes along Bayshore Boulevard. The community hopes that petition and Gage’s death will serve as a conversation starter.