University Boulevard crosswalk to be installed near Lakewood shops

University Boulevard crosswalk to be installed near Lakewood shops
The area along University Boulevard between Stanford Road and Auburn Road is slated to have a new crosswalk before the end of the year.

For pedestrians and bicyclists hoping to cross busy University Boulevard near the shops in Lakewood, soon it will be safer and easier.

The City of Jacksonville has signed a construction agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to build a new crosswalk approximately halfway between Stanford Road and Auburn Road. The City had to submit an application to install the crosswalk across University Boulevard because University is a state road, said Sara Pleasants, FDOT spokesperson.

The agreement was signed Aug. 8, and a preconstruction conference will be held Oct. 15, after which the work is expected to begin, said John Baxter, a project manager with the City of Jacksonville, in an email.

The project includes the installation of a center median – refuge island – and crosswalk with “Crosswalk Ahead” signs attached to shoulder-mounted rectangular rapid flashing beacons, which will be situated before the crosswalk in both directions on University Boulevard to warn motorists of pedestrians in the crosswalk. The lights will be activated by a button, which pedestrians can push as they prepare to cross, Pleasants said.

For the past seven years, Bernard Mazie, a Lakewood pedestrian, has been pushing to have a crosswalk installed in this area on University Boulevard through his frequent attendance at City of Jacksonville Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee gatherings and other public meetings.

“I arrived in Jacksonville in May 2010 and during my first week here I was almost killed crossing University Boulevard,” he said. “I had no idea the people who drive cars were so inconsiderate towards pedestrians, and at that time, I had no idea pedestrians were at such risk in Jacksonville. Jacksonville has one of the highest percentages compared to population of pedestrians who are killed and maimed. I’m so pleased my patience has led to this success. Until now I have seen no progress for pedestrians,” he said.

In addition to the crosswalk, Mazie said he would like to see a crosswalk installed near the St. Nicholas Town Center by Mudville Grille and slower traffic on University Boulevard. “They used to have electronic speed monitors on University to slow down the speed of on-coming cars, but they discontinued them,” he said. “It would be nice to see the traffic on University Boulevard slow down.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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