Walking to school just got safer in Hillsborough County

When Hillsborough County middle school students return to class next Monday, they'll see new school zones and crossing guards, thanks to a $710,000 appropriation by county commissioners.

"What we're trying to do here is make it as safe as possible for children to walk from their homes to school," explained Bob Campbell, Hillsborough County transportation program manager. 

One of the schools with enhanced crosswalks and signal technology is Eisenhower Middle School in Gibsonton.

"In this particular location, you'll notice that black box. It's called a blank-out sign and the technology is, anytime anyone pushes the crosswalk, it will come up, protecting people in the crosswalk," continued Campbell.  

The signal is a lighted "no right turn" sign to tell drivers not to roll to the right through the crosswalk.

There are two signs triggered by buttons that pedestrians can push before crossing. There's also a new bike and pedestrian lane and drainage improvements.

Eisenhower will have two crossing guards.

All of the middle schools in unincorporated Hillsborough County will have at least one crossing guard. They were hired and trained by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office over the summer.

"Children are important. Lives are important. And this is all about the lives and safety of the children walking to and from school," added Campbell.