Florida Chamber Strives to Keep Pedestrians Safe
In a study by Smart Growth American and the National Complete Streets Coalition, the Tampa - St. Petersburg area was ranked the 2nd most dangerous city for pedestrians. The Florida Department of Transportation reports that from 2009 to 2013, there were 123 combined pedestrian and bicycle crashes along Gulf Boulevard, resulting in five fatalities. For an area that relies heavily on tourism to sustain the economy, this is not good news.
After attempts to improve safety along the stretch of beaches from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach through engineering measures, such as installing flashing lights at crosswalks and even providing pedestrians flags to wave to alert drivers as they cross the street, additional effort was still needed. The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, Florida DOT and Center for Urban Transportation Research have partnered with area hotels to hand out cards containing safety tips to remind visitors how to safely move about.
Roughly 30,000 rack cards and 20,000 smaller cards about the size of a hotel room key were printed and distributed in 2013. Both of these materials contain 'WalkWise tips' including suggestions to avoid use of cell phones, follow Walk/Don't Walk signals and wear bright colors. Hotels and area authorities hope that these small reminders will keep pedestrians alert and vigilant to dangers around them and reduce the number of incidents.
An additional 10,000 cards were printed for 2014 and early reports indicate that the situation is improving. The Department of Transportation hopes to decrease the number of pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent by 2018.
To read accounts of this initiative, explore the links below:
The St. Petersburg Tribune, 'Gulf Boulevard hotels give tourist tips on crossing dangerous street"
10 News Tampa Bay Sarasota, 'Hotel cards promote safety on Gulf Boulevard'
Bay News 9, 'Pinellas beach hotels offering safety tips to visitors'