In wake of pedestrian death, Tampa City Council calls for improvements in city's infrastructure

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As they entered the roadway, the two women never saw the 1999 Lincoln Continental being driven by 25-year-old Daryl Oliver, who said he didn't see them at all (he has not been cited). Oliver struck the two women and their babies at the same time. Shanita Little and her 22-month-old, Marquisha U.Wilson, are in stable condition as of Thursday morning.

At Thursday's City Council meeting, Councilman Frank Reddick said he wanted a report from the city's Public Works Department to see what would be needed to install a sidewalk in the area. He remarked that there is a magnet school (Williams Middle Magnet School) and two apartment complexes in the immediate vicinity of the accident, meaning that there are a considerable amount of vulnerable pedestrians in that area. He also wanted to call Tampa Electric Company to the council to discuss providing more lightning in the area.

He received verbal support from virtually everyone else on the council, including Mike Suarez, who said that because his child attends Williams Magnet, he travels in the area every single weekday, and said it was unfortunate that it took such a tragedy to wake the community up for the need for such basic infrastructure.

"There’s a lot of dangerous situations that have not happened yet," he remarked about the combination of a lack of a sidewalk and adequate lighting around the school.

Councilwoman Lisa Montelione mentioned what is always painfully apparent - that Tampa (and the Tampa Bay area) remains one of the most dangerous areas in the country for pedestrians. She referred to the fact that East Hillsborough Avenue is a county road, so perhaps they help assist in the construction of a sidewalk. "This area is greatly in need of improvements," she said.

Councilwoman Mary Mulhern called the incident "very sad," and said the lack of sidewalks is something that she has been discussing for years while serving on the Livable Roads Committee on the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Organization. She said the emphasis has been on creating sidewalks in school areas, and called for a motion on having the city's legal department help codify that type of safety priority.

  • In some areas of Tampa, there is a serious lack of street lighting

The tragedy involving a group of pedestrians who were hit and killed in North Tampa Wednesday night has prompted the Tampa City Council to address two issues that directly contributed to those deaths - that is, the lack of sidewalks and lighting in parts of the city.

Tampa Police announced Thursday morning that the unborn baby of 27-year-old Monica Alvarez, who was killed Wednesday by a motorist, died after doctor's performed an emergency caesarean section.

The incident exposes what is a reality in parts of Tampa, especially the lower-income areas. That is, there is extremely poor (or no) lighting in certain sections of town, as well as a lack of sidewalks, which has been more of an issue discussed at the council over the years.

In addition to Monica Alvarez and her unborn baby not surviving the incident, three other people were injured, with Alvarez' 14-month old daughter, Imani Golden, listed in critical condition.

Alvarez and 24-year-old Shanita Little left the Silver Oaks apartment complex Wednesday night while pushing their two children in separate strollers southbound on North 43rd Street towards East Hillsborough Avenue. As Tampa Police reported, "They began walking in the roadway when the sidewalk ended."

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