Talkin’ ped safety with the South Apopka Safe Neighborhood

Shout out to the South Apopka Safe Neighborhood for allowing us to join their January meeting to talk about all things BFF. During the presentation, BFFer Amanda Day provided information about the Florida driver yield law and stressed the importance of always stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. As with most of our BFF presentations, the “speech” part quickly gave way to a great discussion about pedestrian safety concerns in the South Apopka area.

Meeting participants shared their thoughts about problem intersections and changes that they’ve seen in their neighborhoods, which is shared with our BFF Steering Committee (made up of people in Central Florida transportation planning, engineering, education and enforcement).

Many thanks to this group for the warm welcome and great conversation. If you are part of a local HOA, rotary club, chamber of commerce, church group, running club or other community group who welcomes speakers, we’d love to come and chat with you. Please email Candace at Candace@bikewalkcf.org for more information.

Take your time – Always look for pedestrians

In a recent Orlando Sentinel column, a local resident shared that they were “ticked off” that drivers were taking too long to drive after a light turns green:

“I get super ticked off when people wait 3-5 seconds after the light turns green to move their car usually followed by lollygagging driving speed. I totally understand taking a last look to make sure no one is running the red light but that’s way too long. This is one reason traffic goes nowhere fast. Get on it people!”

Look, we get it – a green light means go, and we’ve all got places to be. But did you know that green turning arrows often change at the same time that pedestrians receive a walk signal? Drivers may get annoyed when cars wait a few seconds to go, but it doesn’t hurt to take an extra moment to check out your surroundings before hitting the gas.

A “green means go” mentality isn’t the only problem. Many cars in the United States are built with a blind spot between the front windshield and side windows, just big enough to block a person walking from view. So, it’s no surprise that nationwide, left turns are responsible for a quarter of all ped crashes.

Some say the problem ties back to how planners design communities, not roads. Trying to navigate a pedestrian or cyclist through a six-lane roadway or across a 55-MPH street is difficult regardless of blind spots and streetlight timing. Creating neighborhoods with walkers, bikers and public transit in mind, instead of cars, is the best way to eliminate these unnecessary traffic deaths. So, while our local planners and engineers work to change our road design, let’s work to change our driving culture. We can all afford an extra 3-5 seconds to be alert to other road users.

Make 2019 the year you improve your city

With 2018 in the books, many are beginning their list of New Year’s resolutions. Instead of sticking to the norm, why not think about making goals based on the city you live in and love?

A recent article from Fast Company highlights resolutions to not only improve yourself, but also your community.

Here are some that embodied Best Foot Forward principles:

  • “Lobby your leaders for improvements to support more choices, like better infrastructure and slower speed limits.”
  • “Take every opportunity you can to participate in civic life. Linger in and enjoy good parks, places, and streets every day, not just during special events. Your very presence and engagement adds life, vitality, and safety to a place, and helps them be more enjoyable for everyone.”
  • “Open your eyes to whether your city is truly accessible for everyone–every curb cut or lack thereof–for the disabled, people of all ages, and for every parent with a stroller. Find ways to travel a mile in their shoes or chairs, and listen to them. Then amplify their voices in calling for improvements.”
  • “Get involved with (or create) community and advocacy organizations, especially ones that are for things, not just against things.”

Head to Fast Company for the full list.