Study looks to improve safety in Seminole Heights, even before murders

Even before the killings, a group had eyes revamping the area with an eye toward improving security.

TAMPA, Fla. - A study started in late September called the Heights Mobility Study (HMS) is working to improve safety and mobility in the Greater Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights area.

The study is catering to the Florida Avenue and Tampa Street/Highland Avenue corridor between downtown Tampa and the Hillsborough River.

There have been a series of meeting seeking input from the public about changes to the area. It’s been in the works long before the murders started in the southeast Seminole Heights area.

Watch: New surveillance video shows suspect in Seminole Heights murders

 The organizations involved with the Florida Department of Transportation project include:

  • Tampa Bay Next
  • HART
  • The City of Tampa
  • Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning for Transportation
  • Invasion Tampa Street Car
  • Regional Transit Feasibility Plan
  • Completing Florida’s Streets
  • Tampa Bay Interstates
  • FDOT Tampa Bay
  • FDOT D7 Studies

Stephen Benson, liaison administrator for FDOT, explained the reason they choose the Greater Seminole Heights/Tampa Heights area is because it’s up and coming.

“There is a lot of growth and new businesses opening up, which is great, but we want to make sure that the road is redesigned and supports all the changes with the community,” says Benson.

The study was requested by the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

MPO then asked FDOT to work with the community and create a project to reinvent Florida Avenue.

The HMS is currently in Phase 1 of their study schedule.

It's costing $480,000 with FDOT fitting the bill. This is not including the cost to make the changes when the study is complete. 

Phase II of the study will begin in March.

Employees are conducting walking audits in the area with residents to see firsthand what issues need improvement.

The study has also created an interactive map where you can add comments and review comments posted by others. 

Here are some of the concerns along the Florida Avenue and Tampa Street:

  • Blinking lights for pedestrians to cross safely
  • Speeding between Hillsborough Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Some sidewalks being narrow
  • Uncomfortable bus stops
  • Dark trails at night
  • Need more crosswalks for pedestrians

People can also disagree or agree with concerns already posted.

10News reporter Shannon Valladolid is working on this story and will provide what changes will be coming to that area in the future.

Twitter: ShannonMarieTV

Facebook: Shannon Valladolid

Email: Shannonv@wtsp.com

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Photos: Seminole Heights shooting victims

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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