TAMPA, FLORIDA – The battle over Bayshore Boulevard is heating up.
This week, transit activists launched a petition to turn Bayshore into a scenic drive by lowering the speed limit on the north-south South Tampa artery to 25 mph.
Some are also advocating for shutting down the two easternmost lanes closest to the water transforming the boulevard into a two-lane road.
As of 2 p.m., 257 people had signed the petition on change.org.
After last week’s tragic pedestrian deaths of a mother and young daughter, the city lowered the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 mph. And city traffic engineers were speeding the pace on additional pedestrian crossings, bike lanes and other safety improvements.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn, though, resisted efforts to link the tragedy on Bayshore to other safer street initiatives, including Bay to Bay Boulevard.
The incident has sparked outrage and grief across the city. Plans to build a memorial lilly garden for the victims, Jessica Raubenolt, 24, and her 21-month-old daughter, Lillia, are taking shape.
Meanwhile, Bayshore Beautiful Homeowner’s Association voted Wednesday evening to hire off-duty Tampa police to crack down on speeders along the neighborhood’s eastern border — Bayshore between West El Prado Boulevard and Gandy Boulevard.
The association will spend $2,500 initially to hire one officer, said president Chelsea Johnson, adding residents felt compelled to help make the thoroughfare safer.
Check back for updates on this developing story.