Leaders meet about dangerous intersection

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In a dramatic attempt to help prevent another tragedy, city leaders are meeting to make a dangerous intersection on San Jose Boulevard a lot safer.

Earlier this month, Esther Ohayon and her 16-year-old daughter Orly were hit by a car as they tried to cross the street along San Jose and Haley Road. Ohayon died at the scene and her daughter survived.

The intersection had been a concern for many in the area. On Monday, the Ohayons' rabbi met with local leaders and the Florida Department of Transportation in hopes of saving lives.

"When a tragedy does occur, it requires us to look inward and reflect about what we can do make sure something like this never happens again," said Rabbi Yaakov Fisch, of Etz Chaim Synagogue. "If we can achieve that, it would be a great tribute to Esther's memory."

"We need to make it safer. Will it be totally safe? I don't know. I can't answer that. But we do need to make it safer," Rep. Charles McBurney said.

Several ideas were discussed at the meeting, some short term, others more long term. They included better signage, patrol officers during service days, and even a possible pedestrian crosswalk.

One important thing to remember is Esther and Orly were hit as they walked to Yom Kippur services. It's a time of year where it's not unusual to not use certain types of electricity. In this case, that could have meant not pushing the crosswalk button.

With that in mind, the group looked at ways to change the timing system for when using the crosswalk.

"We talked about opportunities for microwave detection, for video detection, and we're going to be sharing some information with rabbi to find out the conditions," said Greg Evans, of FDOT. "Like, can they do that on their Sabbath days, their most holy days, and if so, we'll move forward with installing those as quickly as possible."

Ohayon's memorial will be held Sunday. In the meantime, Orly is defying the odds. She's been moved from the hospital to a rehab facility.

Another meeting will be held in about two weeks as sort of a progress report to see how things are going. From there, more long-term decisions will be made.

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