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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Study: Bayshore speed limit appropriate

TAMPA - Bayshore Boulevard's speed limit should not be lowered, a new city of Tampa transportation analysis shows. The city conducted speed studies last month in the wake of Bayshore's recent resurfacing and median landscaping projects. Also within the past year the city narrowed lanes, added bicycle lanes and added left-turn lanes along Bayshore. A study shows the 40 mph speed limit between Gandy Boulevard and Platt Street is appropriate and that dropping it to 35 mph "would require additional changes to roadway characteristics," the Sept. 28 report states. Recent changes to Bayshore will make the roadway safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, said Jean Duncan, the city's transportation chief.
"That's more significant than the speed limit," she said. "Those physical changes are really going to improve the roadway." A citizen task force had recommended in 2004 that the speed limit along that stretch be lowered from 40 to 35 mph. The city at the time didn't recommend changing the speed limit, but it re-evaluated the decision in the wake of recent roadway changes and recent talk before Tampa City Council about a changing Bayshore, Duncan said. The 2004 task force also recommended Bayshore's speed limit be lowered to 30 mph south of Gandy and 25 mph south of Interbay Boulevard. Traffic studies south of Gandy have been scheduled by the city, and recommendations about speed limits there will be forthcoming in the next six months. Bayshore's highest measured speeds in last month's study were northbound between Gandy and Euclid Avenue and northbound between Bay to Bay Boulevard and Howard Avenue. There, 85 percent of vehicles traveled 48 mph or slower. A prior speed study along Bayshore occurred in May — before the roadway resurfacing and landscaping improvements were completed. The September study showed a 1 mph decrease in recorded speed between Swann Avenue and Platt and a 6 mph decrease between Gandy and Euclid. The Bayshore task force — long since disbanded — offered safety recommendations for the roadway after a motorcycle killed a jogger trying to cross Bayshore in 2004. Among the recommendations: adjusting speed limits and adding and improving signage and traffic signals along Bayshore. In the past eight years, the city has invested more than $4 million in Bayshore. Pedestrian safety projects have been completed, bicycle lanes and signage have been added and signals have been upgraded. Prior to the Republican National Convention this year, bushes and palm trees were added to the median between Rome and Platt, and a 2.9-mile stretch of asphalt between Gandy and Rome Avenue was resurfaced. The number of crashes along Bayshore in a given year is low compared with many other roadways within the city, Duncan said. But the changes to the roadway were made recently so no data is available yet on their effectiveness.

jpoltilove@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7691
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