When, where and why the state builds sidewalks - FOX 13 News

When, where and why the state builds sidewalks

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's nice to stroll down the sidewalk and it is certainly safer for pedestrians, but pouring new cement sidewalks is expensive.

That's why some people are wondering why Florida's Department of Transportation is putting in new sidewalks in some areas that seem way off the beaten path.

"I have not seen one person use that sidewalk," says Alicia Tanner, pointing to a new stretch of sidewalk at the northern tip of Dale Mabry Highway near the Pasco County Line.

Doug Pierce works at a nursery along the road and sees it the same way.

"I just don't see that many people out there using it," Pierce said.

Another spot in eastern Hillsborough County that appears to be a waste according to some residents is State Road 60 east of Valrico.

But the Florida Department of Transportation says the sidewalks are necessary and a matter of public safety.

"Nearby, there are two elementary schools and an equestrian park," said Spokesperson Kris Carson. "We also noticed there's a lot of migrant farm workers being dropped off, because there are a lot of strawberry fields and they were being dropped off and walking. That to us was enough reason to go ahead and put in the sidewalks."

That explains State Road 60, but why put them along the northern section of Dale Mabry Highway at a cost of more than 1.3 million?

Carson says sidewalks are usually added when a road is resurfaced, and according to state statute, any urban area, or an area within one mile of an urban area, qualifies for a sidewalk.

Concrete proof, according to FDOT, the new sidewalks were built for a good reason. And Carson says new sidewalks are partly responsible for the drop in pedestrian deaths in the Bay Area in 2013.

But some residents just don't see it that way and think the timing is premature.

"It's a waste in my opinion," says Doug Pierce. "There are a lot of other roads and concerns throughout the city and the county that money could be better spent on."

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