CROSSWALK SAFETY IS A PRIORITY
Take Back Our Streets for Our Kids
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children ages 16 and under are the most at-risk for getting hit while crossing the street. Unfortunately, the death of a fourteen year old Fleming Island resident the morning of January 29, 2015 proves this point. As a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), it is my job to enable clients to prevent injuries and accidents through changes in policy, procedure, and education. The residents of Fleming Island need to review policy, implement new procedures, and educate drivers and pedestrians in the aftermath of this horrific tragedy.
Currently, in Fleming Island there are marked crosswalks with static signs in school zones. Main crossing areas nearest a school entrance have a crossing guard. Police officers sit at distant intersections from the high school and have no interaction with drivers or pedestrians. There is no crossing guard or technology that enables students to the use outlying crosswalks safely as they traverse sidewalks to get to a bus stop, much less to school.
Safety comes by making a plan and taking steps to implement the plan.
The first step would be for drivers to slow down and be alert, especially during the morning and afternoon school commute hours.
The second step would be for parent and teachers to remind children of crosswalk safety rules. Student pedestrians should use a crosswalk, not wear headphones during the commute, and be mindful of cars in all lanes when crossing.
The next step would be for both state and county agencies to upgrade services for the residents of Fleming Island. The cost of the life of a young person trumps any budget.
Many parts of the current school and community crosswalks could benefit from new technology. Additions that may improve conditions on Fleming Island are as follows:
Change from static crosswalk signs to those using solar flashing LED beacons or rectangular rapid flash beacons.
Add lights in pavement across road.
Install bollards on each side of sidewalk approaching crosswalk that work when pedestrian walks between them – some children (and other residents) may not know to push the button, may forget, may not be able to reach it.
Mount sign in middle of road (preferable lighted).
Add radar signs as extra layer of protection to warn drivers.
These safety measures not only protect our children, but also other vulnerable Fleming Island residents. As an ADA Consultant I know that low vision residents would benefit from these additional safety measures. Several layers of lights, the bollards that do not require push activation, and improved driver alertness would significantly reduce the danger of stepping into a crosswalk on Fleming Island. Audible beaconing may also be added for the hearing impaired, if necessary.
It is time to take action and prevent another tragedy. Let’s get to work!