56ºF

Blanding Boulevard too dangerous for pedestrians?

Man killed Thursday night marks 3rd pedestrian death near intersection in 7 months

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There have been at least three pedestrian traffic deaths near the intersection of Argyle Forest and Blanding boulevards, just of Interstate 295, on the Westside in the last year, the latest of which came Thursday night.

That has many people asking, is Blanding Boulevard just too dangerous?

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating Thursday night's fatal crash.

According to an FHP report, 27-year-old Patrick Robson was driving south on Blanding at Argyle Forest Boulevard just before 10:30 p.m. when the man, 52-year-old Richard Edwards, stepped into the road and into the path of Robson's pickup truck. Edwards died at the scene.

Basel Elgin said he ministered Edwards, who he said was homeless. Edwards was presumably trying to cross the road when he was struck.

"He was still a good person. That's a heck of a way to die," said Elgin, of Fusion Ministries. "I know of probably five that have gotten killed in this area in the last year."

Elgin thinks the roads are too dangerous. Many others agree. People who frequent the area say they often see speeders, red light runners, careless drivers and jaywalkers, and they also attribute poor lighting to many of the crashes at night.

"It's a cluster. It is problematic," said Randy Sampona, who owns Wax Works Express Car Wash on the corner of the intersection.

He said he's seen way too many wrecks there.

"I'm surprised there haven't been more fatalities here, and I'm surprised they haven't done something about this area," Sampona said.

Besides Thursday night's crash, Channel 4's records show a person was killed near the intersection in September, and another died in November.

"All these lanes you got to cross makes it very difficult," said Channel 4 safety analyst Ken Jefferson.

Jefferson pointed out that the 11 lanes in between one side of Blanding and the other, and red lights quickly changing to green lights are some of the reasons why the intersection appears so dangerous.

Jefferson said something needs to be done. He said crosswalks should be installed or at least a light signaling when people can cross. Right now, there are none anywhere around.

"Unless that changes, you're going to continue to see similar fatalities," Jefferson said.

The Florida Department of Transportation was unavailable for comment on whether there are any plans for changes in the area.

A local pastor at High Point Church said he's planning a memorial service for Edwards.