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Return of outdoor events: Bayshore closes down this Saturday for open street party

onbikes is hosting the event with co-sponsor, the City of Tampa.

TAMPA, Fla — If you are planning to get around South Tampa this Saturday by car, avoid Bayshore Boulevard. 

From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Bayshore will be closed between Swann and Bay to Bay for onbikes' "Bikestock." The event is set to raise money and awareness for the nonprofit, which provides new bikes for at-risk and foster kids in Tampa Bay.

Normally the group hosts "Winter Wonder Ride" in December, an open street event as well. This year, the event was cancelled because of COVID. Rather than wait until next year, the group is putting on this new spring event.

"So this is how we're staying alive. This is basically saving our organization. So to be able to raise money to be able to do this," said co-founder Julius Tobin. "We're making Bayshore our playground." 

The event is being co-sponsored by the City of Tampa. "It's something that Mayor Castor has been looking into doing since she started as mayor. But with COVID we kind of had to backtrack a little bit," said Alana Braiser, the city's Vision Zero Coordinator.

Advocates for Bayshore have been asking for something like this since the 2018 fatal accident that killed mother and daughter, Jessica and Lillia Raubenolt.  

"Almost 10,000 people signed a petition within a few weeks to have Bayshore become safer. And part of that being to use it for pedestrian purposes to get it closed as a recurring basis," said Alex Engleman, an advocate with Make Bayshore Safe.

If the event goes well, the city hopes to do more open street days.

"We want to expand this idea to all our neighborhoods to make sure that everyone in the city is able to easily access a place to just freely walk, bike, run rollerblade whatever they want to do and the wide open road knowing it's completely safe," said Braiser.

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