Florida is one of four states in the United States where 42 percent of pedestrian deaths take place, according to Governors' Highway Safety Association. Florida needs to do better in providing safe spaces for pedestrians. Altamonte Springs in Seminole County is taking an important step towards encouraging walking and increase pedestrian safety.
While construction of new pedestrian-friendly spaces is important to reduce the chances of pedestrian accidents, making a town more friendly to walkers will often cause more people to travel on foot. This means drivers need to be aware of more pedestrians on the road and ensure they are being smart and responsible so they don't cause pedestrian accidents.
Fox 35 Orlando provided information on efforts underway in Altamonte Springs to create an environment which is more welcoming to pedestrians. Round one of proposed changes has been completed already, with a renovation of Crane's Roost Park. During the initial renovations, a number of changes were made including adding new railings and making sidewalks wider. The city manager indicated many residents were very excited about both the wider sidewalks and about the many new walking paths which had been added.
Future changes are planned, which the city manager says will be "built around getting people out of their cars to walk more." Among the future plans include adding more crosswalks to accommodate pedestrians on both Central Avenue and Festival Drive. Currently, these roads serve as barriers which pedestrians find it difficult to get across.
A bicycle bridge section is also going to be added to a part of Crane's Roost, as bicycles are currently not allowed in this area. The new bicycle path will provide access across the park to the Seminole Wekiva Trail. The new bicycle bridge is part of an "enormous effort" which Seminole County has made in adding bike trails throughout the area.
These positive changes are great news for the increasing number of people who walk or bike for exercise or to commute. Cities need to create safe spaces so bicycle riders and walkers can get outside on foot or while riding without worrying about being hurt or killed by careless drivers.
Drivers need to be aware of changes being made to make Seminole County more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians. As more people opt to walk and ride, drivers must respect their rights on the road and avoid engaging in any type of high risk behaviors which could make conditions unsafe or cause pedestrian accidents to occur.