Clearwater Police seek to improve pedestrian safety through awareness and enforcement

Clearwater Officer Andy Anderson said his department is doing its best to fix the problem of pedestrians darting in front of traffic.

Anderson is on the lookout for pedestrians not using crosswalks and putting themselves in harms way.

"These cars are going fast," Anderson said. "They're heavy. They're going to hit you if you're in their way, and you're going to lose."

Now a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation is allowing Clearwater to increase time spent focusing on enforcing and raising awareness about pedestrian safety.

"Why didn't you walk down to use the crosswalk?" Anderson asked one woman who had made it to the middle of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and was standing in the island waiting to cross the eastbound lanes.

He told another man, "You could have got hit by a car is what I'm trying to explain to you. You're not getting it apparently."

Clearwater Police Department spokesman Rob Shaw added, "We see people that are crossing the street whenever and wherever they want. They don't really care about crosswalks. They don't care about going to a traffic signal. They just think they can cross whenever and wherever they want and many times that can lead to accidents."

Just this week a man was killed when he was struck by a car trying to cross six lanes on Gulf to Bay. He was not in a crosswalk.

"I don't like crosswalks," said a woman named Nichole caught crossing Cleveland Street outside of the crosswalk.

She was given a warning, but told the officer that she would likely not use the crosswalk next time. She did, however, cross Cleveland Street within the crosswalk when leaving.

Through this high-visibility enforcement, Clearwater hopes to get the message out and keep their streets, and its citizens, safe.

"I know we're 100 percent trying to make a difference. And I do see people using crosswalks. That's something that's definitely in the positive," Anderson said.

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