Tampa, Florida -- There were tears, frustration and anger in Tampa on Monday as the families of two teens recently stuck along Hillsborough Avenue make a public plea for action.
They joined several local politicians for a news conference in a parking lot across from the Meridian Pointe apartments at 25th Street and Hillsborough Avenue where 15-year-old Norma Valesquez-Cabrera was hit and killed last month.
"We are demanding that they do something right here," said Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick.
Reddick says transportation officials must step up and make changes now. He and other local leaders gathered to send the Florida Department of Transportation a unified message.
"We cannot allow another child or person to be hit or killed on this road. Enough is enough," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller.
In the last four years, Reddick said 18 pedestrians and cyclists have been injured or killed in the area, but FDOT has yet to place a footbridge or traffic signal there.
Should people be using the closest designated crosswalk? Yes, everyone agreed. But the reality is it's not happening, and so action beyond education must be taken, they said.
FDOT has cited cost as one possible obstacle, but Reddick suggested the city may be able to help offset expense.
"We just recently voted to use the red light camera money to improve intersections. This is one occasion we could use some of that profit," he said.
Among those on hand were the parents of the two teens most recently struck. They made emotional pleas for action.
Victoria Cabrera, Norma's mother, sobbed as she spoke through an interpreter. She spoke about all the traffic lights in downtown Tampa, but not one where her daughter was killed.
"We can do something about it. We can make a change if they don't want to," she said, "so there could be no more accidents."
Lori Hogan, whose son William was still in critical condition after being struck last week, joined the 18-year-old's father in a tear-filled request.
"We just ask somebody listen to the cries and pleas for help," said Lori, "and help other families that they don't feel this hurt."
The timing of the news conference was no accident. As 10 News first reported last week, FDOT is planning a major meeting on Tuesday to address this same issue.
And now, they face not only public, but mounting political pressure, to get something done.