City leaders aim to improve pedestrian safety

Jacksonville among most dangerous cities for pedestrians, study finds

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City leaders have taken note of the statistics in a recently released study pointing to Jacksonville as one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians.

The study, by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, found that Jacksonville had 379 pedestrian fatalities over a nine-year period, among the highest in the U.S.

City Council President Lori Boyer is leading the charge for state funding for a two-part project to help solve the pedestrian safety problem.

DOCUMENT: Dangerous by Design study

She wants to improve crosswalks and sidewalks in seven “problem areas” across Jacksonville where there have been a number of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes. The areas, which were pinpointed by city employees, are spread throughout the city:

  • 103rd Street and Tampico Road
  • 103rd Street and Green Forest Drive
  • 103rd Street and Jammes Road
  • In front of Lincoln Villas Senior Center
  • Beach Boulevard and Countryside Drive
  • Atlantic Boulevard and Acme Street
  • Timuquana Road and Seaboard Avenue

The second part of the plan is putting up 1,924 new crosswalk countdown boxes that will help people cross the road safely at 292 intersections across Jacksonville.

DOCUMENT: Jacksonville crosswalk improvement project

Sue Holley, the executive director of the Northeast Florida Safety Council, said she knows it’ll be a hefty project, but her organization is supporting the request and hoping the state of Florida will pitch in.

“If you can put a price tag on saving a life, I think it is well worth it,” Holley said. “It's not just one person or one entity’s problem. That's a problem for every one of us on any given day, crossing the street or riding your bike in your neighborhood even.”

Janice Hudson walks on Art Museum Drive every day and said she notices the problems putting her safety at risk.

“There's no crosswalk area,” Hudson said. “They speed up here quite a bit. They probably need more lights.”

Hudson said anything the city does to improve the sidewalks and crosswalks is a good idea.

Boyer said the total cost of the projects is about $1.25 million. There's no word on when the projects might begin because the funding request is still pending with the state.

The Florida Department of Transportation has several projects in Northeast Florida to make the roads safer for pedestrians, including building sidewalks and crosswalks. For more information, go to www.nflroads.com.

For more information on pedestrian safety, go to http://www.iyield4peds.org.

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