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Buckhorn’s Bay to Bay decision prompts Sunday protest

Last month, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn shut down a plan to put the busy Bay to Bay Boulevard on a "road diet." On Sunday, those who mourn the death of the plan are going to walk on the sidewalks of the busy artery to bring attention to its problems.
Whit Remer and his family are upset by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's decision to kill a "road diet" for Bay to Bay Boulevard. (Photo credit: Whit Remer)
Whit Remer and his family are upset by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's decision to kill a "road diet" for Bay to Bay Boulevard. (Photo credit: Whit Remer)
Published Apr. 25, 2018
Updated Apr. 25, 2018

When Whit Remer moved to South Tampa with his family a year ago from Washington, D.C., he thought he was moving into a walkable urban neighborhood.

Then he and his wife took their children, now aged 1 and 3, in a double stroller on Bay to Bay Boulevard to get a pizza.

"We almost got killed," said Remer, 34, an attorney.

The experience galvanized him to become active in the effort to transform Bay to Bay from its traditional four-lane configuration to a "road diet" of narrower lanes,  a turning lane and bike lanes.

But the plan ran into neighborhood opposition and died when Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn killed it off late last month.

Buckhorn's decision frustrated Remer and others. So they decided to take action.

Remer and other group active in the effort, including the Palma Ceia Neighborhood Association, the Sidewalk Stompers and BikeWalk Tampa have organized a walk to protest the mayor's decision.

The walk beings at  4:30 p.m. Sunday, starting at the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and proceeding east to Bayshore Boulevard

The purpose of the sidewalk stroll is to bring attention to safety issues and lack of walkability of the street, Remer said.

So far, about 150 people have shown interest in taking part. Here is a Facebook page with more details.

Remer remains confident that Bay to Bay will eventually be revamped to make it safer for pedestrians, bikers and children walking to school.

"Old Tampa is not the only Tampa anymore," he said.

In twenty years, many of the older residents that Remer believes catalyzed opposition to the plan won't be living in single-family homes in Palma Ceia, Virginia Park and other nearby neighborhoods.

"They'll be in Canterbury Towers," said Remer, referring to a  nearby retirement community on Bayshore.

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