Improving pedestrian safety on Penman Road in Jacksonville Beach

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter, Jennifer Ready - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - A group of neighbors in Jacksonville Beach are pushing for safety improvements along Penman Road.

They’ve started an online petition asking the city of Jacksonville to add pedestrian crossings at several spots along the road to make it safer for kids and families. According to the petition, they’d like to see a blinking pedestrian crossing signal at Penman Road and 9th Avenue North as well as one possibly at 4th Avenue North.

Several residents told News4Jax the road is highly traveled and sometimes cars drive too fast. They said it’s dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross if they are trying to get to the beach or parks in the area.

“You hear people take off like it’s a racetrack or a drag strip,” explained Bill Lee, a resident who lives on Penman Road. Lee rides his bike on Penman Road almost every other day. He said safety improvements would be beneficial.

“As you can see, there’s a lot of traffic and you can’t always take it for granted that somebody else is going to stop,” Lee said. “There are so many people on their phones and that have their mind on other things besides their driving.”

Earlier this week, the Jacksonville Beach city commission unanimously approved a resolution asking the city of Jacksonville to make safety improvements along the road because it’s a Jacksonville road.  Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach leaders are considering similar resolutions.

Jacksonville Beach city Councilwoman Sandy Golding of District 3 sent the following statement to News4Jax:

As the City Council representative for District 3, Penman Road is an important roadway for our district. Penman road runs completely through the middle of District 3 and is heavily used by the residents of District 3 as well as Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach residents. I have walked the neighborhoods of District 3 and Penman Road safety for pedestrians and bicycles is the top issue for the residents of District 3.

With the elementary school, middle school and high school campuses on the east side of Penman Road, students need to safely cross Penman Road to go to and from school. Residents on either side of Penman Road need to safely cross Penman Road. However, there are no safe places for pedestrians or bicycles to cross Penman Road for over a mile of the roadway from Beach Blvd to Seagate Ave. Likewise, it is not safe for bicycles to travel north or south along Penman Road. 

Because Penman Road is a Jacksonville roadway, we are urging the City of Jacksonville to make much-needed improvements to allow pedestrians and bicycles to safely cross Penman Road as well as travel north and south along Penman Road. 

Finally, since this roadway is used by Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach residents, the other beach communities are also considering the same resolution the Jacksonville Beach City Council passed last night to show their support for Penman Road safety improvements.

As of Wednesday morning, the petition has almost 300 signatures.

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