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Operation Traffic Signal: Can two people and one signal make a difference at a Tampa area Hospital?

Can citizens make a change in their community? - Brooks Law Group

Have you ever tried to work with a government entity?

  • The process can be so slow and time-consuming that it makes you wonder if it’s worth it.
  • Usually there are hoops to jump through
  • Mountains of paperwork to sign, and there never seems to be enough money.

Fortunately, there are people out there that won’t give up no matter the hurdles.

Finally, A Signal

After more than four years of hard work, a new traffic signal is to be built in front of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. This comes after years of campaigning from Robert Sawallesh, retired Army lieutenant colonel, and Mary Ellen Harlan, a top volunteer at the hospital. The two felt that the traffic signal was necessary for public safety and their work finally paid off.

Sawallesh and Harlan went to great lengths to gain traction by:

  • Creating an online website for the project
  • Personally petitioning county officials
  • Leaving cards seeking support at the hospital
  • Registering a Facebook Go online petition for community support

Bruce B. Downs Boulevard carries around 50,000 cars per day. Between 5,000+ visitors per day to the hospital and over 600 residents at a new apartment complex next door, traffic was increasing, and the safety risks were rising.

Sawallesh and Harlan would stand on the sidewalk outside the hospital and take notes on cars coming and going from the hospital. When their campaigning began, the city noted there weren’t enough accidents in front of the hospital to warrant a signal. However, in recent years, collisions have risen, and the city will finally act.

The Hillsborough County Commission approved the traffic signal last Thursday. This installation will come at a hefty price of $1.4 million. For Sawallesh and Harlan, a price can’t be put on public safety.

Two citizens can make a big change in their town - Brooks Law Group

Intersection Safety

Before the neighboring apartment complex was built, a 2014 county traffic studied revealed there were around two crashes per year at this intersection. In a single hour, Sawallesh counted 53 vehicles making a dangerous U-turn in front of the hospital. It was clear that something needed to be done before it got worse.

According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),

  • Around 40% of crashes occur at intersections
  • 96% of these crashes were due to human error

It’s apparent that an unmarked intersection would not fix its own problems. As more traffic came to the area, so did more crashes. Sawallesh and Harlan did a great job highlighting how effective hard work can be. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference in your community. It took four years for a traffic signal to be approved, but the wait seems to have been worth it. What changes can you make in your community?

Contact Brooks Law Group

Local government may keep you waiting, but the Brooks Law Group won’t. Call our offices today at (800) LAW-3030 today for a free consultation. Our attorneys and staff always put the client and the client’s experience first. If we don’t recover money for your case, then you don’t owe us anything. So why wait? Visit us online to fill out an online case review form or call us today!

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