There’s a big push to keep you safe when you head to the beach. Communities along Gulf Boulevard are begging for more crosswalks to be added before someone gets hit.
People who live in Indian Rocks Beach have seen the danger day after day firsthand.
Jeff Walkoviak drives down Gulf Boulevard daily to get to work. “You don’t see the people until the last minute. They dash across the street and you brake. So you either hit the person or you get into a car accident. I see it all the time up and down Gulf Boulevard,” he explained.
Bert Valery says it’s enough to make him sick and he’s demanding the city add more crosswalks at every beach access point and busy intersection.
Yet, the existing crosswalks are hardly getting use. Part of the problem is the crosswalks are far apart. They’re also in the middle of blocks, where people have to walk out of their way to cross.
On Monday, we watched as one person after another darted across the street, despite the crosswalk being just a few blocks away.
Dominic Tomasello was one of the people who dashed across the four lanes of traffic, “I feel like I’m doing something illegal by crossing here. I’m not walking all that way though, you can see how far the crosswalks are apart.”
Valery says that’s why the city needs to add more crosswalks, even if they’re simply painted onto the pavement. “Let’s be practical about it. Let’s have the crosswalks where people cross,” he elaborated.
In a 4 year stretch, 10 people were killed, according to FDOT, and 72 were injured along gulf boulevard.
Valery worries every day that another family will feel his pain. He lost his son in a Pinellas County pedestrian crash more than 30 years ago, but chokes up every time he talks about it.
“30 years later and it’s still so hard to deal with. How frustrating it is not to get this stuff done knowing lives could be saved,” he added as tears streamed down his cheeks.
Indian Rocks Beach commissioners will take up the issue at their meeting on March 28 at 7PM. If they approve the new crosswalks, the other beach communities along Gulf Boulevard could discuss adding more as well.
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