Photo: Cherie Diez,Tampa Bay Times

“Walking. It’s an incredibly easy way for most people to get around. It typically involves fresh air. You don’t need a seat belt. The fuel you use comes not from the ground via some harmful drilling practice, but literally from you. Yet despite all this and more, walking is incredibly underrated…

A group of environmental and consumer advocates wants to help change that, though.

On Sunday, as part of the Open Streets St. Pete event, representatives from Florida Consumer Action Network will create a pop-up Complete Streets scene, including a ‘parklet,’ or small park-like area along the sidewalk ideal for reading, sitting and observing nature or playing games. They’ll also install a temporary ‘bulb-out,’ which is a patch of sidewalk that extends out into the street as a means of slowing auto traffic and making more room for pedestrians and outside restaurant seating…

FCAN members also hope to educate the public on pedestrian safety, given the Tampa Bay area’s reputation for being grossly unsafe for pedestrians.

The overarching event, Open Streets St. Pete, aims to bring families (and pets) out to Central Avenue between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 21st streets, a swath of Central Avenue they’ll be able to traverse freely without worrying about whether a car will blow a stop sign or fail to yield.

‘For one day, Central Avenue will be closed to cars and opened up for people to walk, bike, and have fun,’ said Lisa Frank, a campaign organizer with FCAN. ‘To make streets safe for people every day, we need to build Complete Streets improvements like bulb-outs, which extend the sidewalk and provide space for trees, restaurant seating and more while slowing down traffic.”

–Kate Bradshaw, Creative Loafing 

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Additional article from Tampa Bay Times