Kissimmee residents say road without crosswalk is accident waiting to happen

One Person Has Already Been Killed

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – People living in Kissimmee say a portion of a road with multiple bus stops and no crosswalk is an accident waiting to happen.

There has already been one fatality in the area, and many said they fear there could be another.

There's no question Michigan Avenue in Kissimmee has its share of traffic and can be difficult for people trying to cross the road.

We saw pedestrians cross two lanes of traffic only to get caught in the center turning lane.  

Meurline Bassette has three kids and walks to the bus stop daily. 

"They don’t want to stop for the kids," she said.

Bassette said that more often than not, drivers don't stop.

"They should put a crosswalk or something, some kind of light or anything that can help them to stop," she said.

News 6 watched two Osceola High School students get off their school bus, wait several minutes for an opening and then dodge traffic to get across the road.

Claudia Zuco, who lives nearby, said she has watched the situation for years.

"Something needs to be done to improve safety on this road," Zuco said. "We do have pedestrians who need to cross here. We have the (No.) 10 (bus). We have the (No.) 18 (bus). We have different schools that are utilizing this corner area to pick up (students)."

On either side of Michigan Avenue, students from at least three different schools are picked up and dropped off near the same spot.

There are also Lynx bus stops on both sides of the road.

Kiana Broco, 21, attends Valencia College and catches the Lynx bus to get there. She said the road concerns her.

"Especially during the day when it's rush hour, because sometimes I have midday classes, and it's a lot of cars and it's hard to cross," Broco said.

News 6 saw a man in a wheelchair taking advantage of a stopped school bus to make his way across, but even that in that case, there is no guarantee of not getting hit by a car.

News 6 also saw plenty of school buses stopped, with their stop signs out and flashing, but drivers kept going even though, legally, they are supposed to stop.

In late 2015, a pedestrian who was in a wheelchair was struck by an SUV and killed, according to a crash report from the Kissimmee Police Department.

Zuco said she has complained to the city and the county but has gotten "the runaround."

News 6 found out why residents have had a hard time getting results.

That section of Michigan Avenue is in the city of Kissimmee, but it’s maintained by Osceola County.

"We shouldn't get the blame game: 'Oh, it’s the city. 'Oh, it’s the county,' in this gray area that they like to use to refer to this area of Michigan," Zuco said.
"It's not gray. It's black and white when it comes to safety."

There are many roads in Central Florida owned by one entity and maintained by another.  The first step is figuring out who has the authority to do something about it.

In this case, it's Osceola County. 

Residents said they complained, but those complaints obviously didn't get to the right people.

Mark Pino, a spokesperson for the county, told News 6 the county was not aware of the situation until hearing about it from News 6.

The county's Transportation and Transit Department is investigating now, according to Pino. In the next couple of weeks, it will determine if a solution can be put in place, he said.

News 6 will follow up on this story.

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