TAMPA, Fla. — Continued calls for safety improvements along Bayshore Boulevard has led to an interesting solution, but does it have a future?
"Right now, it's a four-lane highway that you have to be a skilled person to cross," Dr. Chitra Reddy said.
Reddy has lived on Bayshore for years. She and other neighbors feel the iconic roadway continues to get more and more dangerous every day.
"People feel free to drive 70-80 mph in huge trucks, which is what happened the other day," Reddy said.
She's talking about the second deadly crash on Bayshore. Tampa police said a drunk driver ran his truck into a jogger. Now, Reddy wants the popular area to be closed off.
"I'd like a park, complete shut down of any vehicles a park for the public to enjoy," Reddy said.
The road spans about 4.5 miles. Neighbors want to take cars off the road. We went to the city to ask if the shutdown would work. The Director of Transportation says the short answer right now is no.
"Any constraints that we put on Bayshore, that traffic is going to have to get pushed somewhere else. If we constrain it too much, the push will occur into the residential side streets and to MacDill Avenue, which has its own amount of traffic that it has to handle every day as it is," Jean Duncan said.
Duncan said about 26,000 cars travel the iconic roadway every day. Plus, Bayshore is used for important events like Gasparilla and several road races. When major events shut down the road, traffic around the city is almost at a standstill too.
"We have to be very careful about striking a balance between traffic and also where that traffic would go," Duncan said.
The good news, Duncan said Bayshore can continue to grow with the city.
"There still capacity for some more traffic in Bayshore to where it's not going to become a parking lot for people that are trying to use it," Duncan said.
The main goal for the city is to keep Bayshore safe. They are considering another stoplight at an intersection as well as flashing crosswalks to help people get by.
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