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Saturday, Nov 18, 2017
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Blind corner spurs action, call for more changes

EAST TAMPA - More than two years ago, three East Tampa residents were killed in a two-car crash at 34th Street and Chelsea Avenue. Residents complained a building at the intersection made it difficult to see on-coming traffic. Some motorists on Chelsea routinely edge out onto 34th to see if vehicles are coming. Recently city transportation officials said they would upgrade safety measures by installing a warning sign at 34th with an amber flashing light. It will be solar-powered. Two signs posting the speed limit at 30 mph also will be installed on 34th even though city regulations don't require them. Local law proclaims 30 mph is the speed limit when no other speed limit is posted.
These changes will add to upgrades completed in 2010 including clearing out vegetation and restriping the roads. Jean Duncan, the city's transportation director, recently gave the Tampa City Council an update on the new safety measures at the intersection. There will be one more study, and potential recommendations, made by a state highway contractor who will complete a safety audit at the intersection, she said. Safety audits of other Tampa streets also will be done by the Florida Department of Transportation, which is paying for the audits. A list of streets will be given to state highway officials in coming weeks, Duncan said. The auditor will look at matters related to engineering, law enforcement and educational awareness. Councilman Frank Reddick said he would like a traffic light at the 34th Street/Chelsea Avenue intersection. City officials have said traffic flow there does not support installing one. Between 2008 and 2010, there have been seven crashes -- including the wreck that killed three people in 2010, Duncan said. In September 2010, Walter Givens, 67, pulled his car into the path of a car headed south on 34th. Givens was killed along with his wife, Dione Givens, 55; and a friend, Helen Cummings, 58. One accident at the intersection -- in July -- has been reported this year, Duncan said. Reddick said when motorists travelling on Chelsea approach the corner, a building and a pole obstruct their view. "That's why the accidents are taking place; because they have to pull out into the road at the intersection," he said. "I'm hoping they (state auditors) will give great consideration to putting a light there."

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