For want of a sidewalk and a streetlight, a young mother and her newborn son are dead while her 1-year-old daughter fights for her life after being struck by a car on Tampa's dangerous, darkened N 43rd Street. A city has no greater obligation to its citizens than to ensure public safety. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the City Council should act quickly to improve the lighting in the neighborhood and install sidewalks before another needless tragedy.
Six months pregnant, Monica Alvarez, 27, was killed after being struck by a motorist as she pushed her daughter, Imani, in a stroller down 43rd Street on Wednesday evening. Two other pedestrians, including another toddler in a stroller, also were struck and suffered nonlife-threatening injuries. Alvarez's son, Angel, died shortly after an emergency Caesarean section. Residents in the neighborhood have pressed city officials to install sidewalks, only to be told there is not enough room. But lives should not be lost because a city bureaucracy cannot find a solution to a public safety problem.
The 43rd Street hazard is typical for many streets in poor, often neglected, neighborhoods throughout Tampa. The city needs to treat 43rd Street with the same sense of importance as it does Bayshore Boulevard, if only to honor the memory of a young mother and her son.