Flashing crosswalk beacons coming to Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard

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Crossing the road on Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard can feel like a real-life game of Frogger.

"I do it daily with the dog," said Richard Diaz. "It's always scary to cross the street here."

In a few weeks, though, Bayshore is expected to get a lot safer for walkers, runners, and bicyclists. 

"Currently, the pedestrians have to dodge the cars and yield to the cars. That is doing a 180-degree flip now," said Jean Duncan, the city of Tampa's director of transportation and stormwater services.

Monday, the city began work on a $90,000 project, installing three new crosswalks with new striping, signing, and rapid-flash beacons. They'll be placed at S. Delaware Avenue, S. Dakota Avenue and mid-block between S. Brevard and W. Swann Avenues.

"There's going to be a beacon that will flash only when a pedestrian wants to cross," Duncan said. "It won't flash 24/7. It'll be sort of a strobe light-type beacon and that's drivers' notification that they need to yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk."

Cars will be required to stop when the lights are flashing. 

"Absolutely, 100 percent something we definitely need here," Diaz said.

"There's more than just driving up and down," said Jim as he took a breather during an afternoon run. "You have to be aware of your surroundings. Personal responsibility, in the end, should always be the determining factor."

A memorial along Bayshore is a sobering reminder of the deadly dangers of speed. Back in May, Jessica Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter Lllia were crossing the road when they were hit and killed by a car that Tampa police say was street racing.

Since then, the speed limit was lowered to 35 miles per hour. Though that change and the crosswalk project were already in the works at the time of the crash, there's now extra incentive to speed up work on slowing things down.

"It's sending them messages that there's other users on the road and that definitely translates into some traffic calming because now, they have to be more aware of others, besides just other vehicles," Duncan said.

The city plans to place message boards on Bayshore, letting drivers know that a traffic pattern change is coming. The new crosswalk beacons at set to be turned on October 24.

Tampa police will also be out with additional enforcement to educate drivers on how the crosswalks work.