JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation wants people walking through crosswalks to pay more attention to signals that are designed to help them get safely across the street
Jacksonville is the first place where DOT officials are attempting a new method: wrapping large traffic control boxes with instructions to help make the crosswalk signals more visible at 10 intersections across town.
Pedestrians can push a button at a crosswalk to get safely across, but officials said people weren’t always noticing the buttons on the poles. Many are hard to see or are simply ignored, they said.
DOT's solution is to make the signals hard to miss at 10 intersections with high levels of pedestrian traffic.
Officials have wrapped large boxes near the poles with large-print instructions that include visual aids and the slogan, “No regrets when you cross with care.”
Three of the wrapped boxes are along University Boulevard at the intersections with Barnes Road, Booth Road and Beach Boulevard.
There’s also one not too far away at Atlantic Boulevard and Acme Street, and another on the Northside at Main Street and 8th Street West.
The Westside also has several of the boxes: three on 103rd Street at the Tampico Road, Harlow Boulevard and Ricker Road intersections, one at Blanding Boulevard and Collins Road and one at Timuquana Road and Seaboard Avenue.
Pedestrians who walk those roads every day said they think the new boxes will help because traffic control devices are either ignored or sometimes hard to spot.
“They gave me a ticket for crossing the street about 10 yards away from that,” Ufford Bonds said. “When I pushed the button, it didn’t come on. It comes on late because some people run the light.”
“Especially down here on University Boulevard by Memorial Hospital … because the light turns green and you have about 10 seconds to cross the street,” Mike Kunz said.
Jacksonville is essentially serving as the state's pilot program for the wrapped boxes.
If the change appears to be effective in improving safety for pedestrians, the boxes might be adopted statewide.