City of Tampa takes action on Bayshore speed limit

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City of Tampa workers installed new signs along Bayshore Boulevard Friday lowering the speed limit to 35 miles per hour, days after a mother and daughter were hit and killed as they crossed the road.

Prior to Friday, the speed limit on Bayshore was 40 miles per hour. Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he made the decision to make an immediate change following the deaths earlier this week.

"I said, 'Do it.' We had a plan in place that we've had in place for a while that we were implementing over time, as the construction on Bayshore was completed," Buckhorn told FOX 13.

On Wednesday, Jessica Raubenolt, 24, was pushing her 21-month-old daughter in a stroller across Bayshore when they were hit by a car driven by a teenager who, according to Tampa PD, was racing another teen.

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Buckhorn urged residents not to look too much into the speed limit change because it was planned for a long time.

"We had an entire plan in place that included crosswalks, it included lowering the speed limit, it included narrowing the lanes, it included adding bike lanes, it included fixing the curve. I mean, the plan was already in place," he said, with another word of caution. "These young men made a really bad decision and killed two people as a result of it. There is no flashing light, there is no speed limit sign that would have changed that outcome."

Some pedestrian safety advocates are disappointed in the changes because they don't feel they're drastic enough.

"I think it's a disappointingly small change. Five miles per hour for two people who died on this street is just a ridiculously sad answer," said Emily Hinsdale with Sidewalk Stompers. "It's one of the most dangerous cities in the world to be a pedestrian. I think that's very unfortunate because it's a beautiful place to be a pedestrian."

Buckhorn said crosswalks between Bay to Bay Boulevard and downtown Tampa will be installed over the summer. Another crosswalk is planned between Bay to Bay and Gandy Boulevard, but engineers still need to determine where it will be.

Parents who walk along Bayshore hope the changes make things safer.

"It just really terrifying to think that we're just not as safe as we think we are," said Jennifer Jain, who lives a couple blocks from the crash. "People talk about this all the time. I think unfortunately it takes a tragedy to get city figures to listen and hopefully this will make a difference. Whether or not it will be enough, I guess we'll see."