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More people using crosswalks, feeling safer crossing Fletcher Avenue: Study

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Posted at 9:24 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 10:22:34-05

TAMPA, Fla. — New findings show more people are choosing to use crosswalks and are feeling safer on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa.

The Fletcher Avenue Complete Street Survey reveals fewer people jaywalking and nearly all drivers stopping to yield to pedestrians crossing on Fletcher Avenue.

This comes after Hillsborough County made several safety upgrades in 2014 and officially opened them to the public in February 2015 on Fletcher Avenue from Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

Those changes include:

• Five mid-block pedestrian crossings added with overhead and ground-mounted Rapid Flashing Beacons
• One mid-block pedestrian crossing with a traffic control signal
• LED lighting added at pedestrian crossings
• Raised pedestrian refuge islands and raised traffic separators installed
• Landscaping features incorporated into median
• Bicycle lanes added to both sides of road
• Speed limit reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph
• Media outreach & education of the public
• High visibility enforcement

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To complete these findings, researchers with the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida observed and spoke with pedestrians and bicyclists who regularly travel on Fletcher Avenue, specifically:

  • How individuals use crosswalks along Fletcher Avenue
  • The willingness of individuals to properly use the crosswalks
  • Opinions about crosswalks, including motivators and barriers to using crosswalks as designed
  • Barriers individuals experience related to not properly using the crosswalks (e.g., motorist yielding, safety, time)

More pedestrians and bicyclists were using the crosswalks and pushing the crosswalk button compared to previous years.

Fewer pedestrians and bicyclists were distracted crossing in crosswalks, showing a decline from 2014. Also, more than 75 people interviewed said they felt safe crossing Fletcher Avenue in the crosswalk. That's an increase of 16% from 2015.

However, some concerns still remain. Although crosswalk use is high, Hillsborough County found through observing people indicated that there are still those who will cross outside of the crosswalk on Fletcher Avenue.

Pedestrians and bicyclists told researchers that the top reasons for not using a Fletcher Avenue Crosswalk were that they were either impatient or in a hurry, or the crosswalk locations were not in convenient places for them.

Interviewees said that more crosswalks, police intervention and education would make themselves and others more likely to use the crosswalks.

Julie Bond, a senior research associate with CUTR, is presenting these findings to the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization on Wednesday, Dec. 11.