News On Bay to Bay


Lizzy Breen

Plant students were shocked and saddened by Hillsborough Counties decision to deny a traffic light at the Bay to Bay and Lois intersection. Where these streets meet is the location of the fatal motorcycle accident that killed sophomore Taylor Koulouris and junior Ben Francis last December.

Tragedy struck Plant High School last year in December as two students, sophomore Taylor Lambe-Koulouris and junior Benjamin Francis, were involved in a fatal motorcycle accident. The intersection of Bay to Bay and Lois has been covered with floral arrangements, signs of mourning, and prayers written across the light post that sits near the point of collision ever since. Recently, Hillsborough County had consultants review the intersection for any changes or improvements to be made. Their analysis led to the decision not to put a stoplight up on the street, the reasoning being that the intersection is not considered one of the most dangerous in the county, and other road provisions could be made instead. Outcries from parents, neighborhood residents, and students have poured out since the decision came out from the county. An article from 10 Tampa Bay has reported on the decision.   

 “One portion of the report mentions the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office removing its crossing guard from the intersection due to safety concerns,” Emerald Marrow Says. 

Marrow noted the change in crossing guard attendance at the intersection due to safety concerns. This sparked the question of why Hillsborough County denied the light if a safety patrol can no longer work safely there. Sophomore Taylor Combs knew Lambe-Koulouris personally and was disappointed with the county’s decision.  

“I think there have been too many accidents at the intersection, and a stoplight would make it a lot safer for everyone. I don’t really understand how a traffic light is unreasonable in this situation. I know we’d all rather sit at a stoplight than lose another friend,” Combs emphasized. 

Combs wishes the county would think more ethically rather than financially and hopes they will soon change their mind. This intersection has had 28 motor accidents since 2016, which fulfills the US Department of Transportation (USDT) guidance suggestion. If an intersection has had more than six motor crashes over a three-year period, the USDT suggests that local authorities consider putting in a traffic light.  

“It’s really upsetting to hear, considering that what happened last December wasn’t the first incident there. There have been numerous other accidents, so I wonder how many more tragedies and possible deaths it will take for the county legislature to take action,” Junior Ben Avriett says regarding the decision. 

Many students are upset by Hillsborough’s decision, and students like Combs and Avriett feel a personal connection to this topic. Considering both Francis and Lambe-Koulouris had a vast network of friends at Plant, many other sources are expected to come forward and protest this decision. The intersection remains, with a crossing signal and a personal memorial for the two students.  

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