BAYSHORE RUN - Mitch Perry

04/06/04

The February death of 39 year old runner Melissa McKenzie as she crossed Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa - the third death of a pedestrian along the popular roadway in the past year - has led to a serious effort to try to make the Bayshore safer.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio convened a Task Force that has met 3 times to try to address problems along the road....The fourth meeting, which will allow the Public to weigh in for the first time, takes place next Tuesday night at the Kate Jackson Community Center in Hyde Park at 6:30 PM.....

Now 2 women who were profoundly saddened by Mellisa McKenzie's death are holding a memorial run along the Bayshore this Saturday, which will also allow people to donate to McKenzie's teenage son.

Joanna Llosis and Suzanne O'Neil are co-workers and runners who discussed McKenzie's death at work back in February....They vowed at that time they would try to do something to honor McKenzie's Memory......Suzanne O'Neil says the race is very informal, and anyone can participate (roll tape#1 o.q."got donated")

The Bayshore Task Force is not scheduled to announce any of their proposals to make the road safer for several months......

Although McKenzie's death - the 3rd Pedestrian killed along the Bayshore in the past year - was only 2 months ago, Race organizer Joanna Llosis says some people's memories are short (roll tape#2 o.q."that will work as well")

But as some members of the Task Force have already expressed, race coordinator Suzanne O'Neill says the way to make Bayshore safer is simply if individuals driving along the road adhere to the speed limits, which is 40 miles per hour, 30 mph along the curves of the road (roll tape#3 o.q." it's the people that need to change")

Some 40,000 motorists use Bayshore everyday.....At a task Force Meeting last month, Tampa Police reported that the vast majority of citations they have issued have been from people living in the immediate South Tampa area.....One specific proposal offered up by Councilmember John Dingfelder - a member of the Task Force - would install a Red Light system at the corners of Howard and Bay to Bay Boulevards, which are already set up with a Red Light for Left turns....Joanne Llosis isn't sure that's the answer (roll tape#4 o.q."the most important thing")

If you are interested in participating in the run this Saturday morning at 8AM, send an e-mail to mckenzierun&yahoo.com....

There is a College Fund set up for Mellissa McKenzie's son and donations will be accepted for that fund on Saturday, , by writing a check for the Joshua Mckenzie College Fund .

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