7 pedestrians/bicyclists hit in Jacksonville in 5 days

Rash of crashes as city ranked 2nd-most dangerous in nation for bicyclists

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This week is providing more evidence of what pedestrians and bicyclists in Jacksonville know too well: this city can be very dangerous to those sharing the highway with motor vehicles.

The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate Jacksonville is the second-deadliest metropolitan area in the United States over the past decade. Florida is the deadliest state in America, according to the NHTSA data.

Ruth Gordon, who lives in Arlington, walks or relies on the bus to get around and sees the danger around her.

"It's hard to get across Atlantic Boulevard," Gordon said.

A year ago, the city of Jacksonville made pedestrian and bicycle safety an issue, hiring a pedestrian and bicycle coordinator to help make the city's streets safer. On Wednesday, News4Jax asked for an interview and information what the city was doing. On Thursday, the mayor's office replied to questions, saying many recommended safety improvements have been or are being made. In the budget year that just began, the city is scheduled to spend $600,000 on new crossing lights, $1.1 million on pedestrian improvements and $2 million on new sidewalks. (See full list of projects, spending at end of this article.)

"(We're) working on pedestrian safety -- crosswalks sidewalks and the things that we need," Mayor Lenny Curry said. "The infrastructure is been neglected for decades. My budget speaks to making those things right. (It's) something we take seriously and we're going to invest in safety."

The city has also launched an All in Duval public awareness campaign to educate citizens to do their part in making the roads safer.

One Arlington neighborhood is not waiting on the city to do something. Some people are taking their own measures, like putting up signs telling motorists to slow down.

Driving around Jacksonville Thursday, we saw some pedestrians ignoring crosswalks and signals, not paying attention and darting into traffic.

The sheriff said officers are enforcing jaywalking laws in all neighborhoods.

City-provided list of pedestrian-related safety capital improvement projects in 2018-19 budget:

$2 million for sidewalk repair
$500,000 for new sidewalks
$26.5 million Hart Bridge ramp removal includes major pedestrian/bike improvements/infrastructure
$12.5 million of bridge work for the McCoy’s Creek Greenway
$630,000 for pedestrian countdown signals at intersections
$2.2 million for the Park Street road diet
$6 million for the Soutel Drive road diet
$5.2 million for the Edgewood Avenue road diet
$1.1 million for pedestrian improvements at six high crash locations where a city road meets a state road

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.