INTRO: After The death of a 39 year old Runner trying to cross Bayshore Boulevard last month, Mayor Pam Iorio announced the creation of a Task Force to improve safety on Tampa's Grand Boulevard.

The death of Melissa McKenzie to a speeding motorcyclist was the 3rd killing of a pedestrian along Bayshore in the past 7 months, and has led to almost universal recognition that things need to change on the 4 ½ mile thoroughfare, and fast.

Steve Dagnault , the Public Works and Utilities Administrator for the city of Tampa, was named by the Mayor to head the 18 member task force that met for the first time this morning. He said he hopes the group can collectively come up with solutions within the next 4 to 6 months.......When asked why there were not anybody representing bicyclists or runners, Dagnault said before the meeting began that people representing those groups could be brought along in the future (roll tape#1 o.q."that we can manage")

the audience listening to today's Meeting...After he was formally introduced, Sue Lyon, President of the Bayshore Beautiful Homeowners Association, asked him if the perception of the TPD is true on the Bayshore...That they refused to pull over speeders unless they are going OVER 55 miles per hour (roll tape# 1"ourselves")

The Tampa Police have still not YET decided whether or not to press charges against the motorcyclist who killed Melissa McKenzie, William Napier of Brandon.

In addition to McKenzie's death, there have been 2 other fatal crashes in the past year, with 160 other crashes and 725 citations written.

Laura McGowan is one of 2 citizens on the Task Force who are not from the City or neighborhood group. She said the death of Melissa McKenzie hit her hard, as she gathered close to 400 signatures on a petition of those who recreate along the Bayshore demanding that the City do something to create a safer haven for those

(roll tape#3 o.q."What they don't get?")

When annual statistics are released each year, the Tampa Bay Area is generally at the top of the list in being considered the one of the worst areas of the country for Pedestrians, a statistic refered to by John Weiss, President of the Virginia Park Neighborhood Association. Weiss also works at Tampa General Hospital, where he says he sees victims from Bayshore accidents frequently.(roll tape#4 o.q."brain injuries")

The Task Force agreed that a central website, that will be linked to the City of Tampa's main website, will be the source for information for everybody to learn and to be able to contact members of the group.....The Task Force hopes to soon be able to conduct a Public Hearing where everybody who wants to can get their opinion on what should be done to make the Bayshore safer....

Gene Welles, Ballast Point Neighborhood Association President, says there's something that people can do beginning TODAY to make Bayshore safer for everybody (roll tape#5 o.q. "start saving lives TODAY")

The Bayshore Task Force will next get together in 12 days...

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