JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A veto from Gov. Rick Scott put a stop to a local project aimed at protecting pedestrians.
The bill, submitted by state Rep. Clay Yarborough, would have replaced many current crosswalk signals with new ones that have countdown signals.
Yarborough said he believes the bill, which was cut from the budget with Scott's veto, would save lives.
“We have a great need,” Yarborough said. “We've had a lot of pedestrians that have lost their lives and people riding their bicycles that have been hit by motorists, whether they are at fault or not, and this would help that safety. It's a shame that it got vetoed.”
In the bill he filed, Yarborough noted the federal highway administration says countdown clocks on crosswalk signals reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes by 25 percent.
The bill also pointed out that among the 50 most-populated cities in the country, Jacksonville is No. 1 in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. Some intersections already have the countdown clocks, but many others do not.
“This is going to continue to put pedestrians and people on bicycles at risk at intersections by not having these countdown heads,” Yarborough said.
Yarborough said many of the crashes happen near intersections where local roads intersect state roads.
That's why he felt it was the state's responsibility and asked for around $630,000 in next year's budget to replace more than 1,900 signs.
Yarborough said that if the city isn't able to find room in the budget to do the project itself, he will put the bill out again next year to try to make sure it happens.
He said it's all an effort to make Jacksonville safer for walkers and bikers.