Teen’s Tragic Death Puts Transportation, School Traffic Woes Center Stage

By Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, District 6, Countywide, paid a visit to Bloomingdale and Valrico area residents as he hosted his Community Office Hours event held last month at the Bloomingdale Regional Library. The two-hour, no-appointment-necessary event, provided interested individuals the opportunity to meet with Beckner, one-on-one, and share ideas as well as voice concerns over local issues.

As expected, Beckner said that area residents are concerned about the same issues affecting many throughout the entire county.

“Residents are concerned about transportation and traffic safety,” he said midway through his visit, while drawing attention to the ongoing Lithia Pinecrest Road widening effort as well as the County’s Go Hillsborough transportation improvement campaign.

Interestingly, Beckner’s visit came only days following the tragic death of a 17-year-old Chamberlain High School student, who died after she was struck by a car while crossing a busy roadway on her way to school.

Witnesses said Lexi Miranda died a hero because she pushed her friend out of the path of the car before she herself was hit.

The incident hit everyone hard, including Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White, who sits on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board. White took the opportunity to deliver an impassioned statement about the now infamous transportation issues around the county’s schools just as the MPO Board welcomed Hillsborough County School Board Member Cindy Stewart to its ranks for the first time.

“The tragedy this morning highlights the fact that we have to stop pointing fingers and work together,” White said reffering to the death of Miranda that same morning.

White mentioned issues such as school bus pick up times being too early, causing parents to flood school campuses in their cars rather than utilizing buses, traffic not being efficiently queued onto school campuses during drop off and pick up times, and the need for enhanced assessments and monitoring of school zones.

“I have requested this discussion months before this accident, “ he said. “I am confident that with a school board member on the MPO the process of finding solutions can move forward much faster.” For more information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.