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Money is the roadblock for improving a dangerous intersection that killed two teens

"...We can do something. We have the ability, if we want to," said Steve McKenna

TAMPA, Fla. — A lack of adequate funding is keeping the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County from implementing safety improvements at an intersection where a recent motorcycle crash killed two teens.

According to city leaders, it would cost $550,000 to install a traffic light at the intersection of Lois Avenue and Bay to Bay Boulevard, which has had 30 crashes since 2015.

“It clearly needs to have a traffic light here to save lives,” said neighbor Steve McKenna.

The problem is while Bay to Bay runs through the city of Tampa, it is a county-owned road. The two must coordinate efforts to install signals.

“Hillsborough County and city of Tampa staff members have been working together over the past several years to identify funding for a new traffic signal at the intersection of Bay to Bay and Lois,” Vik Bhide, city of Tampa mobility director said in a statement. 

“Since funding has not been identified for this improvement, the city and county have been working towards implementing interim measures.”

This includes pedestrian-activated crossing signals with what are called rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs). Bhide said RRFBs help improve safety for people who walk and bike.

The Lois and Bay to Bay intersection would need two of these signals at $15,000 each. The city would control the design, but installation would have to be approved by the county. There is currently no timeline or schedule for the improvements.

“Hopefully something happens quickly and it doesn't take some of the bureaucracy timelines that occur because obviously, it takes a second to take two lives,” said McKenna. “And we can do something. We have the ability if we want to.”

Bhide said this year alone, there have been 80 crashes on Tampa roads, making the city one of the most dangerous places to walk, bike or drive.

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