Tampa, Florida – Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia announced a plan to keep Middleton High School students safe who live at the Meridian Pointe Apartments in Tampa.
Beginning on Monday, the district will provide a shuttle between both locations in an effort to keep students from having to cross busy Hillsborough Ave. in the area of 25th Street N.
It comes nearly one month after student Norma Velasquez-Cabrera and her sister were struck while crossing Hillsborough Avenue near the complex while headed to school. Velasquez-Cabrera later died at a local hospital from her injuries.
In 2011, Shenika Davis, also a Middleton High School student, was hit and killed while crossing the road in the same area.
"It's hard for me to see anyone else get hit," said friend Krystal Cuber. "My best friend was killed three years ago and it hurts me because I still go to sleep thinking of her."
Cuber lives at the Meridian Point and is urging fellow students to take the bus as a safer alternative.
"We will provide students with that transport from that particular apartment complex over to the school in the morning and then at the end of the day," said Elia.
The district said it is paying the $250 per day cost for the shuttle service, which will run through the end of the school year before being evaluated for its effectiveness.
The announcement of the shuttle service comes on the same day that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced new plans to make Hillsborough Ave. safer for pedestrians. He will earmark money collected from red light camera citations to re-time traffic signals, upgrade the signage and installing additional streetlights along the corridor.