In Tallahassee and Satellite Beach, officials continue taking action after a 12-year-old girl was fatally struck by a vehicle over the Christmas holiday at a newly installed flashing-yellow crosswalk on State Road A1A.
On Monday, Florida Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, filed the “Turn the Flashing Yellow Crosswalks Red” bill, or House Bill 1371, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
If adopted, this legislation would require all flashing-yellow crosswalks that are not located at a road intersection to be equipped with pedestrian-activated red lights by 2024 — or else the crosswalks should be removed.
"The fundamental problem is this: Yellow doesn't mean stop. A driver knows what red means," Fine said.
“This uses what drivers know — red means stop — to solve a problem. I don’t know anyone who thinks this is a good idea, the way this is being done,” he said of Brevard County’s new S.R. A1A crosswalks.
In spring 2019, FDOT installed pedestrian-activated yellow flashing lights at Satellite Beach midblock crosswalks at Grant Avenue, Ellwood Avenue, Royal Palm Boulevard, Magellan Avenue, Sunrise Avenue and Volunteer Way.
Ten similar crosswalks are under construction between Indian Harbour Beach and Indialantic.
On Dec. 22, Surfside Elementary sixth-grader Sophia Nelson was struck by a vehicle in the Ellwood Avenue crosswalk. She never regained brain function. On Christmas afternoon, she donated organs to four recipients at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.
Fine's bill is identical to Senate Bill 1000, which was filed in November by Florida Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville.
Wednesday night, the Satellite Beach City Council will consider hiring two new police officers and a dispatcher to increase traffic enforcement in the wake of the tragedy.
"At the onset of the crosswalks’ installation, we approved overtime so SBPD officers could complete enforcement, primarily on the weekends. This is largely due to our current call volume," City Manager Courtney Barker said in an agenda memo.
“Our city formally concentrated very heavily on traffic enforcement prior to approximately 10 years ago. However, we now concentrate primarily on call volume and other added responsibilities that we did not have previously,” Barker said.
The three new positions would cost $137,103, and they would be covered under the current budget because two long-term police officers retired.