On the morning of October 6, 2015, 17-year-old Alexis Miranda was killed on Busch Boulevard while crossing the road to get to school. After her mother, Valerie Jones, received the terrible news, she turned her mourning into a mission to prevent more families from experiencing her tragedy. As an advocate for Vision Zero Hillsborough, Jones’s efforts include partnering with Vision Zero Hillsborough to host a Walk of Silence, a walk to help spread awareness about safety as well as honor Alexis and others who have lost their lives in traffic crashes.
The second annual Walk of Silence for Busch Boulevard was held on October 8, 2018. The event was in honor of Alexis and to remind all road users to be alert and aware of pedestrians while traveling because, as the Vision Zero slogan says, “one traffic death is too many.”
“She was my baby,” Jones said, “but I am here for the other lives that were lost, too… the ones that don’t have a voice.” Tampa City Councilperson, Luis Viera, attended the walk which began at 8 a.m. Monday morning when the traffic is bustling on Busch Boulevard. “I am here to stand with Valerie,” he said. “I have an 11-year-old son. Everyone fears those phone calls. I haven’t gotten any calls. I can’t imagine. Valerie has taken the tremendous pain of this loss and used it to do this work, to improve people’s lives. She’s a strong woman.”
Another Walk of Silence was held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Downtown Tampa. At this event, the names of the 122 people killed in traffic crashes so far during 2018 were read aloud, including Jessica Raubenolt and her daughter Lillia, who were struck while crossing nearby Bayshore Boulevard.
“People dying out here are loved ones,” said Gena Torres, Executive Planner for the Plan Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Project Manager for Vision Zero Hillsborough initiative. “They were someone special and that heartache never goes away.”