Motorists given fair warning to reduce speed, stop for pedestrians

Motorists given fair warning to reduce speed, stop for pedestrians
New “flexible” in-street pedestrian warning sign installed near the pedestrian crosswalk at Van Wert on St. Johns Avenue.

In an effort to reduce vehicle crashes off St. Johns Avenue into adjacent properties, the Florida Department of Transportation began installation in early August of IIRPMs (internally illuminated retroreflective pavement markers) from Greenwood Avenue north to Van Wert Avenue.

The $100,000 safety project was estimated to be completed in four to six weeks by Petticoat Schmitt Civil Contractors, Inc., according to Ron Tittle, FDOT communications officer. There were some daytime lane closures to install the solar pavement markers during non-peak hours.

Speed data collected between 2009 and 2015 in that stretch of St. Johns Avenue indicated there were 120 lane departure crashes, according to Bianca Speights, FDOT public information officer. She indicated speed data would be collected post-installation to measure the effectiveness of the IIRPMs on St. Johns Avenue, the first such installation in Jacksonville.

Ramping up pedestrian safety

Also at Van Wert Avenue, Dancy Street and Talbot Avenue, FDOT has installed new in-street signs alerting motorists to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

“These were installed to help increase motorists’ compliance,” said Speights. “These particular signs go on the centerline of the roadway in advance of the crosswalk or raised median.”

This follows the installation earlier in the year of three Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at those same intersections on St. Johns Avenue. The beacons are intended to provide a measure of safety for pedestrians trying to cross the road.

When the beacons were installed in February, Avondale resident Pamela Telis asked workers if signage would be added to inform drivers to stop when flashing, and was told “There is no requirement for cars to stop,” however Tittle noted then that FDOT would install the in-street signage advising motorists it is a state law they must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

The purpose of the RRFB is to let the motorist know that a pedestrian is waiting to use the crosswalk. Ultimately, the failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk is a law enforcement issue, Tittle said.

“We all hope that having these in the middle of the road will protect pedestrians in the crosswalk and slow down speeders, at least in this area of the Shoppes and Boone Park,” said Telis.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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