Safe crossing: JSO cites jaywalkers in San Marco Square

By Susanna P. Barton
Resident Community News

Why did the residents cross San Marco Square? To get to the other side, of course. But how they do it has become the recent focus of local Jacksonville Sheriffs Office leaders seeking to enforce safer pedestrian practices citywide.
Last month a reader wrote in notifying The Resident about the increase of local police writing tickets for jaywalking in San Marco Square.
“I went to get ice cream with my son tonight and ended up with the police waiving me down and giving me a ticket — they said that soon they will be issuing real tickets, which I think is ridiculous,” the reader shared. “There are not enough crosswalks — when you’re parked all the way at the end toward the paint store you have to cross in front of the San Marco Theatre.”
Diane Martin, president of the San Marco Preservation Society, said her husband recently received a ticket for jaywalking near Square One.
“He said the two officers were very nice and told him several people had been injured in the square jaywalking,” Martin said. “I would prefer the police ticket motorists who do not stop at a crosswalk when a pedestrian is attempting to cross the street. It is a state law and I would love to see better signage in our city’s shopping districts to remind drivers they must stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the street in a crosswalk.”
Officer Melissa Bujeda, public information officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, shared the Florida State Statute that governs the rules for pedestrians in Florida. It is located at  http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfmApp_mode=Display_Statute&
Search_String=& RL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.130.html
She said the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is taking a proactive approach citywide with education and enforcement due to the 100% increase year to date in traffic fatalities between 2012 and 2011 involving vehicle versus pedestrian accidents. She said in 2012 there were 11 pedestrians struck and killed by vehicles. In 2012, there have been 22 pedestrians struck and killed by vehicles with the majority determined to be the fault of the pedestrian, Bujeda said.
“This concerns us and we are doing everything we can to be proactive and educate the citizens about pedestrian safety and the laws,” she said.
JSO officers are targeting areas where pedestrian crossing is prohibited to raise public awareness about the dangers facing pedestrians and to reduce future fatalities, Bujeda added.
“One fatality is one too many,” Bujeda said. “The more we can reach and educate in the community about this issue helps raise awareness and hopefully we can prevent a future
fatality.”

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