Orlando’s residents must also do their part in solving pedestrian safety problem

Once again, Orlando has been named the worst city for pedestrians in the nation (story HERE). Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the City Beautiful has been given that label (story HERE).

We’ve seen studies done and reviewed by various city councils and county commissions but the results remain poor. Why?

The reason is because no matter what kind of safety improvements and laws we put in place, it won’t matter unless we follow them.

We’ve added crosswalks, skywalks, extra lights, and other measures, but on any given afternoon you can still see someone wading across Semoran boulevard at rush hour. You can have a seat on a bench downtown and regularly see pedestrians zipping straight across Orange Avenue rather than walking the extra distance to the crosswalk and waiting for the lights to change.

There was a former County Commissioner that stated during a meeting “I’m not sure anything we do is going to make a difference if people keep looking at their phones and wandering in front of speeding cars.”

He was right, so far it hasn’t.

What’s the answer? Well, it’s not that easy.

An increased police presence, authorized to issue fines would help. But, many offenders would scoff at such a fine, and then there is the question of if an under strength police department is best served chasing after jaywalkers than drug dealers.

To their credit, law enforcement has conducted pedestrian safety operations at school bus stops, where drivers refuse to stop, and at lighted crosswalks where many drives are unaware that they’re supposed to stop.

It’s disturbing to open up the paper or turn on the television to news of another pedestrian death, and bicycle riders too. I have no doubt city leaders will keep searching for solutions but we must do our part or we’ll stay on the wrong side of those studies.

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