The statistics are alarming.
On average, a pedestrian is killed every week in Metro Orlando, and two are injured every day. This, for doing something as simple, and necessary, as crossing the street. In fact, Metro Orlando has ranked as the MOST dangerous community in the country for pedestrians for more than a decade. With gas prices rising, and SunRail expected to put even more pedestrians on our streets, this problem is likely to only get worse.
As a former Mayor of Orange County, and a concerned citizen, I think we should address this problem – today, before anyone else gets hurt. It’s time for us to come together as a community and put our best foot forward for pedestrian safety. After all, whether we drive, bike, or ride the bus as our primary transportation, we’re all pedestrians at some point every day.
The Winter Park Health Foundation and MetroPlan Orlando agree with me, and have generously combined resources to help get this project off the ground. With their financial backing, and the day-to-day operations support of Bike/Walk Central Florida and the Florida Bicycle Association, we set out to save lives and reduce injuries by personally pledging to use appropriate crosswalks, to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks when driving and to encourage others to do the same.
Our goal is simple: To reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries by ten percent annually over the next five years.
Our methods are sound: Other cities, including Gainesville and St. Petersburg, have found that a “Triple E” approach (combining low-cost Engineering with community Education and high-visibility Enforcement) can significantly reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries and that this positive effect can be sustained with continued vigilance.
This community-wide effort is being spearheaded by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, along with Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. Orange County, as well as the cities of Winter Park, Maitland, Ocoee, and Winter Garden and the towns of Eatonville and Windermere, have passed resolutions of support, and their engineering departments have been taking steps to improve the visibility of crosswalks within their jurisdictions. The members of the Police Chiefs Association of Orange County have also pledged to support Orlando and Orange County in efforts to educate both drivers and pedestrians.
Lynx and the Florida Department of Transportation are working on a parallel track to raise awareness, along with the Level One Trauma Center at Orlando Health. These are the doctors, nurses and first responders who know, too well, what happens when cars and people collide, and they too are making prevention part of their mission. Finally, I would like to thank Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, and the members of the Orange County School Board for being open to constructive dialogue on the subject of making pedestrian education part of the elementary school curriculum
It is going to take the support of the whole community to turn this condition around, and I would like to thank those businesses that have stepped up to show their support: Orange Cycle, David’s World Cycle, and Track Shack. It is community-minded entrepreneurs like you who make me proud to call Central Florida my home.
Thank you for putting your best foot forward.
Best Foot Forward For Pedestrian Safety
A Community-wide Coalition