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Bellamy students get concrete solution

A sidewalk will line Wilsky Boulevard. Some hope it will soon extend to the Upper Tampa Bay trailhead.

By JACKIE RIPLEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 12, 2002


TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- Schoolchildren walking to and from Bellamy Elementary are getting a much-sought-after sidewalk along Wilsky Boulevard.

Though it's not quite what some had hoped for, it's a start.

"I've been fighting to get it to the trail as well," said Al Friedman, who lives in Town 'N Country. "It's as dangerous as can be."

County construction crews are laying 640 feet of sidewalk on the east side of Wilsky, from Hollowell Drive to the crosswalk in front of Bellamy; and 360 feet on the west side from the school to the entrance of the Town Park subdivision at Marbella Creek Avenue.

The $35,000 project is "part of the board's new master plan for sidewalks, especially in front of schools," said Steve Valdez, Hillsborough County spokesman.

County commissioners adopted a program prioritizing sidewalk construction within a 2-mile radius of schools.

Many neighbors say the sidewalk is long overdue. That section of Wilsky is especially dangerous because the road narrows from two lanes to one at what is virtually a blind curve at Hollowell, near the entrance to the Copperfield subdivision.

To make matters worse, Friedman said trucks park at the curve, forcing schoolchildren to walk even farther out into the street.

"That's a 35 mph curve, and if people do it under 50 they're doing pretty good," said Friedman, who is also lobbying the county for a sidewalk on the west side of Wilsky from Marbella Creek to the Upper Tampa Bay trailhead.

"There's nowhere for these kids, or adults who want to do the trail," Friedman said. "I've been fighting for both sides."

That section of sidewalk "will be picked up very soon," Valdez said.

"But our first priority was for schools, to make sure we have pedestrian access for the kids walking to school."

-- Jackie Ripley can be reached at (813) 269-5308 or ripley@sptimes.com.

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