Shiny new crosswalks: Safer or a waste? - FOX 13 News

Shiny new crosswalks: Safer or a waste?

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It can be dangerous crossing the road, which is why pedestrians should use crosswalks. Now Tampa is making dozens of crosswalks along W. Kennedy Boulevard in the Westshore area of the city more visible by installing a new textured product that looks like painted brick.

Opinions are mixed on the product.

Joe Chillura, who spent almost 25 years in public service as a Tampa city councilman, Hillsborough County commissioner, and member of the City-County Planning Commission, doesn't like it much.

"On a scale from A to F, I give it a G," offered Chillura.

The textured product cost $13.66 a square foot, bringing the total price tag for the project along Kennedy Boulevard to more than $300,000.

Jean Duncan, Tampa's transportation manager, supports the use of the product.

"I think they've turned out very nicely," Duncan said.

The crosswalks were approved by the Metropolitan Planning Organization back in 2003 as part of the Kennedy Boulevard Corridor Study. They were paid for by federal tax dollars.

The project was buried in a massive transportation and infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2005 called the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, or SAFETA-LU.

Joe Chillura believes the money was misspent because the crosswalks, in his opinion, are cosmetic and not infrastructure. But what frustrates him even more is it appears the product is not holding up. He pointed out parts of town where the crosswalks are peeling up after just a few years of use.

He showed us several examples, including the intersection of North Himes Avenue and West Columbus Avenue where there were several holes in the textured material.

Duncan says she was not aware of any problems with the product and told FOX 13 it was approved by Florida's Department of Transportation. A spokesperson for FDOT told FOX 13 there have not been any complaints about the product.

The product has been evaluated in accordance with the department specifications, including installation on a test deck.

"The product has preformed well on a test deck," stated spokeswoman Kris Carson.

Tampa's transportation manager says the city is not having any second thoughts about how the money was spent.

"We want to have a safe, aesthetically pleasing corridor for our citizens of Tampa, so we support how the money was spent," added Duncan.
  

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