ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County officials are working to get results after a 12-year-old Avalon Park boy was injured in a hit-and-run crash.
Officials have implemented new traffic safety measures to be put at the intersection where the crash happened, but the solutions go far beyond that to make sure another incident like this doesn’t happen again.
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Orange County Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero said she has been working on traffic safety in Avalon Park for the last four years she’s been in office.
“I want to say that the urgency is we have been having a lot of meetings, not only because of this accident but because they have happened before where we are going to implement different things,” Cordero said.
The most recent incident involved the 12-year-old boy, who was riding his bike through the Avalon Park Boulevard and Auburn Cove Lane intersection when he was injured in the hit-and-run crash. The boy was not using the crosswalk.
After News 6′s initial reporting, the county announced several new traffic safety measures including flashing lights at the crosswalk, replacing the pedestrian signs with larger ones and adding yellow reflective strips at all warning signs.
“That’s what we’re doing just short-term,” Orange County Traffic Engineering Division Manager Humberto Castillaro said. “We’ve issued the work order. We’re hoping that within two-to-three weeks or four weeks, it should be installed.”
News 6 Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steve said roadway education in addition to safety improvements are key to preventing injuries and in some cases death.
“We are number one in almost the entire country for vehicles versus pedestrians and bicyclists,” Trooper Steve said. “Not something that we should be happy about, so education is the preventative medicine. When it comes to this, we need to educate, or we end up losing kids.”
Commissioner Cordero said they have worked with Orange County Public Schools officials over the last month and a half to create a safety program specifically geared toward students attending Avalon Park area schools.
“We wanted to come up with some kind of project or program and education is the first one,” Cordero said. “We need the kids that when they, you know, they have their helmet, that’s very important. There’s a lot of good things coming up. We are getting together with the school members and the principals so that can be implemented.”
On top of the short-term changes and educational efforts, Castillaro said there will be more improvements to the Avalon Park area.
“It has to be a holistic approach,” Castillaro said. “So we are going to be looking at the whole corridor and network, having the access but also having the meetings with the community because once we implement it, we need people to obey the rules of the law.”
Cordero said she does not have an official start date for the safety program they have been working on with OCPS.
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