67ºF

Drivers don't stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

Orlando on track to increase pedestrian deaths year over year

photo

ORLANDO, Fla. – Annie Alvaro brings her kids to Dartmouth Park in Orlando several times a week, but she refuses to use the crosswalk at Shady Lane to cross Edgewater Drive in College Park. She says drivers on the road are too unpredictable.

[WEB EXTRA: Best Foot Forward Fact Sheet ]

"Because you can't be sure they're going to stop, and they're going so fast," Alvaro told Local 6.

Even though there are signs in both directions and bold letters on the street saying yield for pedestrians, Local 6 found many drivers do not stop.

"We often avoid this area simply because we don't want to cross the street," Local 6 Anchor Lisa Bell said.

Bell frequents the area and sees it all the time, she said. Local 6 followed Bell as she went out with her babystroller to see if drivers would stop.

For safety, there was no baby in the stroller. But even with a bright yellow stroller, many drivers just keep going.

"It's treacherous, and imagine if I had my baby in here," Bell said.

Local 6 has cameras from many angles, and at one point a mail carrier even drives right through. Another time, we count 12 cars passing as Lisa tries to cross the road.

Brian Wilson, who lives in the area, said it can often be more than that.

"Sometimes its almost impossible," he said. "Either in the morning or the evening when its rush hour, you could wait there for 15, 20 minutes and nobody will stop for you."

Local 6 asked Orlando police what's being done to stop it. Sgt. Rich Ruth oversees traffic enforcement for the Orlando Police Department's west side. They know Edgewater Drive is a problem, according to Ruth.

"Then why aren't there more officers patrolling the area?" reporter Louis Bolden asked.

"Because of all the other complaints we have to handle as well," Ruth said.

Ruth said it comes down to manpower. OPD only has six traffic enforcement officers for its entire west side.

The problems for pedestrians didn't just start. Since 2006, Orlando has had over 200 pedestrian accidents every year.

The National Complete Streets Coalition named Orlando the most dangerous city in American for pedestrians for many years. In Central Florida, 40-70 pedestrians are killed a year.

"Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians all have to follow the rules of the road," Ruth said. "They all have to. If they do, and their behavior is consistent, these numbers will drop drastically."

Ruth said drivers just aren't paying attention, but tend to be more compliant at crosswalks that have lights. Crosswalks with lights are the only ones Alvaro will use.

"It's scary. I will not cross there, not with them [children]," she said referring to the Shady Lane crosswalk.

Orlando police and the Orange County Sheriffs Office will have a joint enforcement effort Thursday.

The two agencies will cover multiple intersections, and ticket drivers who don't stop at crosswalks. It's a $164 ticket.

The crackdown is happening as Orange County students start summer break.