Lee County is taking steps to make streets safer for its pedestrians. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has installed several new flashing pedestrian crossing signs throughout the county.
But how much are they expected to help?
Sometimes, it takes Sandy Smart a minute to safely cross McGregor Boulevard during his walk. “It’s uh… busy,” he said laughing.
His neighbor, Ross Web, believes McGregor is too dangerous to even try that. “It’s not safe to cross it. It’s not safe to even consider it,” said Webb.
Now, there are flashing crosswalk signs lining the boulevard. So, some say that makes crossing the street much easier. “The new crossing thing is one of the best things the city has ever put in,” said Webb.
FDOT had been installing more of the rectangular rapid-flashing beacons across Lee County. Andy Orrell works with the Florida Department of Transportation. “Anytime we go into a community and starting a project, we really look at every possible facet to figure out what we can do to not only keep traffic moving but to keep people safe as safe as we possibly can,” Orrell said.
These things include “where are there a lot of pedestrians? Where are there a lot of crashes involving pedestrians.”
So far this year there have been 266 pedestrian crashes in Lee County. FDOT tells me these flashing signs could help lower that number by 47%.
FDOT and local law enforcement are trying to remind drivers to slow down when they see those flashing lights. “It’s a warning and it does slow people down. Yeah, yeah it works,” Smart said.
This is so that smart and his neighbors can make it safely across the street.
So far this year, 18 pedestrians have been killed on Lee County’s roads. Last year, that total was 22.