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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Pedestrian safety a concern along Bruce B. Downs in New Tampa

NEW TAMPA — Tampa officials could consider additional safety devices on a recently widened portion of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard after a bicyclist was hit at an intersection this week.

Gwen Stewart of Richmond Place was riding an elliptical bicycle on the cross walk at Bruce B. Downs and Richmond Place Drive shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Courtney McCormick, also of Richmond Place, authorities said.

McCormick, who had a green light on southbound Richmond Place Drive, failed to see Stewart in the cross walk when the vehicle attempted to make a turn onto Bruce B. Downs, according to a report from the Tampa Police Department.

Stewart was taken by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital, where she was treated for injuries and released late Wednesday.

McCormick was cited for careless driving.

Tampa transportation director Jean Duncan said the city will consider taking addition safety measures if they are warranted.

“We are going to take a look at the accident report,” Duncan said. “We want to see if there is something we can do to augment what was recently done.”

The widening of Bruce B. Downs to eight lanes from Palm Springs Boulevard to Pebble Creek Drive was completed in April. The 3-mile segment of a four-phase project cost $37 million and took more than two years to complete.

Bruce B. Downs serves as the main north-south corridor through New Tampa, transporting more than 60,000 commuters daily.

Tuesday’s accident reinforces the need for pedestrians and bicyclists to take “an abundance of caution” when attempting to cross portions of Bruce B. Downs, Duncan said.

Hillsborough County, which coordinated the road project, included a number of measures to increase the safety of walkers, joggers and bicyclist on Bruce B. Downs, including new traffic signals, signs, cross walks, and pavement stripping, Duncan said.

“If there is something else that could be done, we certainly want to coordinate it along with the county,” Duncan said.

Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione said insuring the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along major thoroughfares such as Bruce B. Downs Boulevard is paramount.

Montelione serves as chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Liveable Roadways Committee.

“We are always looking at pedestrian and bicycle safety,” aiming to improve it, she said.

Hillsborough County Public Works Department Spokesman Steve Valdez said the county would follow Tampa’s lead in regards to safety measures since the city is in charge of controlling the traffic devices along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Stewart, who is recovering at home, could not be reached for comment.

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