State Sen. Jack Latvala pushes for stoplight
State Sen. Jack Latvala wants a stoplight in front of Eckerd College.
In a letter dated Tuesday, Latvala urged the Florida Department of Transportation to install a light in the spot on 54th Avenue S where Robert Shepherd died last week.
“Eckerd College, Mr. Shepherd and others in the community have been trying to get a traffic light on 54th Avenue S for years,” Latvala wrote to Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad.
The Clearwater Republican pointed out that a state traffic study may not have calculated heavy traffic from the beaches or in the summer and holidays.
The entrance to Eckerd had a stoplight, but state officials removed it in 1992 after determining the area’s traffic volume was too low to justify it.
While urging state officials to install another light, Shepherd told them: “It’s a tragedy waiting to happen.”
Last week, Shepherd pulled off campus and into the path of a Chevrolet pickup. The impact crushed the driver’s side of his 2002 Buick LeSabre and pitched it over the median. He died at the age of 85.
A traffic study’ Latvala said, conducted by St. Petersburg recommended a light in the intersection.
He also pointed out that the college must hire police for traffic control during large events. And owners in a nearby condominium complex have also sold their units because of traffic problems during rush hour.
'I'm sure that Mr. Shepherd would never have imagined that he would have been a part of the 'tragedy waiting to happen,' " Latvala wrote.