Thursday, December 14, 2017
Transportation

Vision Zero strategy for safer Hillsborough roads: repaint, narrow lanes, educate

TAMPA — What would it take to eliminate all traffic deaths in the county that has the most of them?

Local planners think a combination of repainting roads, narrowing lanes, expanding data-driven policing and installing new lighting will help ensure that Hillsborough loses the dubious distinction it holds among the nation's large counties.

They presented an action plan Tuesday at the Tampa Theatre during the fourth local workshop of the Vision Zero Coalition — a national campaign to eliminate deaths and serious injuries caused by traffic.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Hillsborough planners take to streets to study pedestrian safety

The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization spearheaded the plan and established the coalition, which includes officials working in local city and county transportation, public safety, health and education, as well as business partnerships and hospitals.

"Hillsborough County is one of the worst counties in the state, which is one of the worst states in the United States," said Ken Sides, a transportation engineer at Sam Schwartz Engineering.

Actually, the worst, according to research for the local coalition: Hillsborough County records more traffic deaths per resident than any other large county in the country.

Vehicles killed 207 people in Hillsborough County in 2016 — the highest yearly number in the last decade, according to county data.

"We're drawing a line in the sand now," said Maj. Alan Hill of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "We are making traffic safety a priority."

The new action plan outlines four campaigns to make the county's streets safe:

• "Paint Saves Lives," an effort to repaint crosswalks, paint new bright bicycle lanes, and narrow vehicle lanes in high-crash areas.

• "Consistent and Fair," a policing strategy that deploys more officers to dangerous roads and intersections based on crash data.

• "One Message, Many Voices," a push to build public awareness of the coalition and traffic safety in general.

• "The Future Will Not Be Like the Past," a plan to rethink planning design standards and consider more roundabouts and better lighting in the future.

Most of the actions in the plan are slated to start by the end of the year and wind up in 2019. The group is also planning an event Oct. 6, second anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Alexis Miranda, a Chamberlain High School student who was hit by a car and killed near school.

One of the areas the coalition is highlighting is Brandon Boulevard between Falkenburg Road and Dover Road. This stretch of roadway recorded the highest number of severe crashes per mile from 2012-2016, the group found.

In that time, 180 severe crashes killed 11 people and caused 169 incapacitating injuries, according to a report by the group. Among the reasons: Gaps in the sidewalks, inadequate crosswalks and poor lighting.

Contact Langston Taylor at [email protected] Follow @langstonitaylor.

Comments
Dr. Delay: St. Petersburg road projects for bikes and wastewater

Dr. Delay: St. Petersburg road projects for bikes and wastewater

What is the city of St. Petersburg doing on First Avenue S between Pa sadena Avenue and Park Street? They have installed a concrete bumper in the middle of the road for some reason. Also on Ninth Avenue N, they are installing something from 71st Stre...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

TAMPA — Drivers on the Veterans Expressway will gain an extra lane from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue starting Saturday.But there’s a catch: Once drivers enter the lane, they won’t be able to leave it — not until a designated exit about six mil...
Published: 12/08/17
Pasco group picks untried intersection design to ease U.S. 41/SR 54 congestion

Pasco group picks untried intersection design to ease U.S. 41/SR 54 congestion

LAND O’LAKES – A citizens group says a better way to move vehicles along a congested central Pasco corridor could involve a never-been-tried intersection design that diverts turning traffic onto parallel frontage roads.The citizens group, known as th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Northbound Sunshine Skyway lanes to close for running event in March

Northbound Sunshine Skyway lanes to close for running event in March

ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine Skyway bridge will shut down on a Sunday morning in March for a running race that is expected to draw up to 7,000 participants.The Armed Forces Families Foundation announced the event, dubbed the "Skyway 10k Saluting Mil...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
Dr. Delay: Confusing striping at Ulmerton and Roosevelt is temporary

Dr. Delay: Confusing striping at Ulmerton and Roosevelt is temporary

Heading east where Roosevelt Boulevard joins Ulmerton Road, the inside lane of Roosevelt is confusing where the roads merge. If a driver uses the lane striping on their right as their guide, they are in one lane, and if they stay to the left, they ar...
Published: 12/05/17
Today: Pasco, Hernando residents can meet on transportation

Today: Pasco, Hernando residents can meet on transportation

Pasco and Hernando residents will get to find out what transportation projects are in the works for their communities on Tuesday evening.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Long-awaited Tampa Bay transit study identifies five corridors for future transportation syste...
Published: 12/05/17

Workers to drill under Gandy Boulevard, partially closing lane Monday through Friday

TAMPA — An eastbound lane on West Gandy Boulevard at Church Avenue will partially close from Monday through Friday for drilling related to the Selmon Extension.Workers will use a geotechnical drill to examine the soil under the road, according to pro...
Published: 12/02/17
St. Petersburg to replace 40th Avenue Bridge; cones stay in the meantime

St. Petersburg to replace 40th Avenue Bridge; cones stay in the meantime

ST. PETERSBURG — Those traversing the 40th Avenue Bridge, the main span connecting Shore Acres and Venetian Isles with the Old Northeast and Northeast Park neighborhoods, can expect to see orange cones barricading the center of the bridge for t...
Updated one month ago
Dr. Delay: Signal timing meant to move traffic, not frustrate drivers, county says

Dr. Delay: Signal timing meant to move traffic, not frustrate drivers, county says

What is going on with the traffic lights on 66th Street? The way they are timed could be causing road rage.Going either north or south on 66th from 102nd Avenue N to 54th Avenue N, it used to work like this: The light would stop both lanes, those tra...
Updated one month ago
Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

The Largo Mall entrance stoplight on Ulmerton Road just east of Seminole Boulevard has been causing traffic delays on eastbound Ulmerton at Seminole Boulevard. It appears that the light at the Largo Mall entrance is being triggered on-demand by folks...
Updated one month ago