OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Some Kissimmee residents have called the intersection on Michigan Avenue a “dangerous road” for years and there have been multiple crashes living up to its name.
News 6 has investigated the area for two years and documented the aftermath of crashes and pedestrians doing their best to dodge traffic while running across the road.
The good news is Osceola County has pinned the area for a crosswalk. The bad news is they are still a ways from actually having it done.
The problem area is on Michigan Avenue at Ocean Street on one side of the road and Boulder Drive on the other.
Speed, numerous bus stops and multiple lanes of traffic make it a dicey area for pedestrians.
After a traffic study and a series of stories by News 6, Osceola County has determined a new mid-block crosswalk with a pedestrian hybrid beacon at Boulder Drive is one of the improvements that need to be made along the Michigan Avenue corridor.
It’s great news to parents like Katrina Small.
“They need a crosswalk out here. Not only for the kids but for anybody that’s crossing the road,” Small said.
But News 6 has learned construction has been held up by funding.
“The Florida Department of Transportation requested the county revise design and construction cost estimates,” according to an email from Chris Brumbaugh, Osceola County’s Director of Communications.
The county is requesting a total of $187,000 for multiple improvements along Michigan Avenue.
“FDOT was concerned the cost estimates may be considerably low particularly given construction price spikes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the email.
Jorge Cosme says the situation has gotten worse since more businesses have moved into the area.
“This is a very dangerous place and its only gotten worse now that they put the funeral home down the street,” Cosme said. “They have a few more open businesses here so now the traffic is really consistent. It’s heavy it’s here all day long and pedestrians just aren’t safe crossing the street here.”
News 6 started investigating this section of Michigan Avenue in August 2019 and brought the situation to the county’s attention.
Sarah Foresta lives on the opposite side of Michigan Avenue from where her daughter’s bus drops off. Every day she picks her daughter up in the car at the bus stop so she doesn’t have to walk across the road.
“I wouldn’t walk across the intersection because even then I’m having to run and pause and run, like, nobody stops for you here,” Foresta said.
“There’s accidents all the time. If they could just get a crosswalk or even a light or something to where the kids are able to walk home because that is what she wants to do is walk home, but I’m not going to allow her to do that,” she said.
Once again, News 6 watched the congestion, and pedestrians get caught in the center lane trying to cross the street. Numerous drivers did not stop for school buses even though legally they’re supposed to.
“They don’t stop. They keep going. Somebody’s kid is going to get hit right here,” Small said.
Mark Pino the county’s Public Relations Officer, Chris Brumbaugh the County’s Director of Communications, and County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb who represents the area all declined multiple interview requests.
“The county will continue to work with the Department of Transportation to advance these improvements and to identify potential funding sources,” Brumbaugh wrote in an email.