Completion of Tampa's mini roundabout signals change for pedestrian safety

The Tampa Bay area ranks among the most dangerous for pedestrians. It's a distinction the city of Tampa hopes to reverse with its Vision Zero program.

The program identifies problem areas and puts solutions in place to make roadways safer. The most recent project completed in the program is a mini roundabout at 46th Street and Linebaugh Avenue.

New signs, a lower speed limit and crosswalks are some of the ways officials hope to make walking easier in the area.

The city’s infrastructure and mobility coordinator. Brandie Miklus points out that streets were designed with vehicles in mind. She says it's time to rethink the landscape.

Miklus and her team recently demolished the intersection at 46th street and Linebaugh where pedestrian crashes have happened. They replaced it with a mini roundabout, with signs, crosswalks, and a 25 mile an hour speed limit. It’s part of Mayor Jane Castor’s Vision Zero program aimed at protecting pedestrians.

Tampa and the entire region ranks among the most dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists in the nation. 

The mini roundabout cost $3.6 million. A larger roundabout is planned at 34th Street and Lake Avenue. Those who have lost loved ones in pedestrian crashes say no price is too high.

"We’re calming traffic down so that drivers are able to see pedestrians and people on bike," says Miklus.

Cars have long been king in Tampa, but the popularity of the Riverwalk in the downtown area and the nearly $25 million federal grant to extend it to the West River area could signal change, at least in the urban core, where Miklus believes cars may become optional.

"Maybe they decide that they don’t have to own a car because they can safely get where they want to go," says Miklus.

Some projects may be slower to come because voters recently rejected the proposed transportation tax in Hillsborough County, but transportation planners are hoping to get federal infrastructure money for projects they would like to see built.