Dangerous intersection puts Jacksonville synagogue on edge

FDOT looks into making intersection safer

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's been four weeks since a woman and her teenage daughter were hit while crossing San Jose Boulevard on their way to synagogue.

It's been a controversial intersection where it happened because many Jewish people live in the area and complained that the intersection at Haley Road is dangerous.

Members of the Etz Chaim Synagogue went out a lot more visibly Friday night as many wore reflective vests after what Esther Ohayon and her 16-year-old daughter were hit by a car last month. Ohayon was killed.

"It's definitely not the same," said Rabbi Yaakov Fisch. "Every time we go to the intersection it's a very anxious walk over, and we're definitely reminded of the tragedy because we walk through that intersection on a weekly basis."

Fisch said despite the publicity of what happened last month, there have still been close calls at San Jose and Haley.

"Traffic is pretty much the same. I will say in the last month, there's been a couple of near misses as well with aggressive drivers," said Fisch. "In fact, one of drivers yelled at one of the pedestrians recently. It's an anxious walk over."

Other churches are stepping up to help the synagogue because the issue is Jewish people observe the Sabbath starting Friday at sundown, and part of that includes not using electricity. As a result, they can't push the crosswalk button.

Members of All Souls Anglican Church have shown up to help.

"Well, it's an extremely dangerous intersection with so many cars turning," said Cindy Harvey. "Well, I'm hoping that the state's going to do something to help."

The Florida Department of Transportation is now looking into how to address the issue. Rabbi Fisch said a pedestrian walkway would be best over San Jose. If not that, something still needs to be done.

"Just extending the green signal, irrespective if someone can press the button or not," said Fisch.

Channel 4 talked to FDOT, who said they're still studying what options they have to make the intersection safer. Hopefully the results of that study will be available in the next few weeks.

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