Osceola & Kissimmee BFFs wrap up first year, gear up for 2019

What do you call a room full of traffic planners, communications professionals, police officers, engineers, sheriff’s deputies and community outreach specialists? Here at Best Foot Forward, we call them BFFs – the diverse and well-rounded team that make up our Best Foot Forward (BFF) for Pedestrian Safety Steering Committee. This week, the group gathered at the Kissimmee Police Department to chat all about the program’s progress and plans for 2019.

The BFF Steering Committee is made up of some of the most passionate, dedicated people in Central Florida transportation planning, engineering, education and enforcement working together to reverse the deadly trend of drivers striking people walking and bicycling. Attendees of our recent workshop included the City of Kissimmee Transportation Planning and Police Department, Osceola County Transportation Planning and Sheriff’s Office, MetroPlan Orlando and Bike/Walk Central Florida.

To kick off the workshop, MetroPlan Orlando’s Mighk Wilson shared an overview of Osceola County pedestrian crash factors and trends. The good news is that fewer people are being killed or getting injured while walking on Osceola County roads – from 2017 to 2018, pedestrian deaths decreased 55% and pedestrian injuries decreased 14%, according to MetroPlan Orlando. Of course, there’s still a ton of work to do. You can view Mighk’s slides here.

The committee then took some time to review BFF’s 2018 progress, a big year, since it was the first year of the program in Osceola County. Highlights include:

Osceola County law enforcement officers are working hard to crack down and educate drivers on the Florida Driver Yield Law.

  • The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Kissimmee Police Department and the St. Cloud Police Department gave out a total of 429 citations and warnings during 16 enforcement details.
  • The City of Kissimmee’s Access Osceola and the Kissimmee Police Department put together a great PSA to educate drivers on the Florida Driver Yield Law.

When it comes to getting more drivers to stop for people in crosswalks, we’re making progress. On average, more drivers in Osceola County are yielding to people in BFF crosswalks, compared to the number of drivers who were yielding in 2017.

  • 39% of drivers yield to pedestrians at monitored crosswalks on roads 35 mph and lower in Osceola County – an increase from the 37% baseline gathered in 2017.
  • On roads 40 mph and higher, 49% of drivers are yielding, up from the 2017 baseline of 38%.

We’re seeing the same trend in the City of Kissimmee. On average, more drivers in Kissimmee are yielding to people in BFF crosswalks, compared to the first time that we collected data at those locations.

  • In the City of Kissimmee, 50% of drivers yield to pedestrians on roads 35 mph and lower – a jump from the 39% 2017 baseline.
  • On roads 40 mph and higher, yield rates increased 2% from June 2018 to November 2018. (Click here for a complete 7-year list of all BFF crosswalks monitored, including yield rates.)

The needle is moving in the right direction, but these rates still have a long way to go. That’s why the BFFs wrapped up the meeting by discussing crosswalk locations for reviewing in 2019. Crosswalks must meet certain criteria to be selected for monitoring:

  1. Crosswalk is enforceable.
  2. Recent or planned engineering changes to the crosswalk.
  3. Low level driver compliance.
  4. Close proximity to schools, LYNX bus stops or SunRail.
  5. Located near a high crash corridor.
  6. Cross section of road speeds for all crosswalks.
  7. Geographically dispersed throughout the City of Kissimmee, City of St. Cloud and Osceola County.

The BFF Steering Committee will finalize the 2019 list and choose dates for Operation BFF crosswalk enforcement in January. Stay tuned!

It’s all about the people – MetroPlan Orlando releases 2018 community report

When you read the 2018 MetroPlan Orlando Annual report, you’ll quickly learn that the organization is powered by its passionate people. Between the staff, collaborative board, committee members, transportation partners and community, there is no shortage of talent working together to build a strong and diverse regional transportation system.

Central Florida is a melting pot of differences – cultures, work schedules, lifestyles and so much more. The team at MetroPlan Orlando is constantly embracing transportation decisions that positively affect health, physical activity and improved quality of life. That means thinking outside of the car, and great strides have been made to increase those options this year. SunRail expanded into Osceola by adding four new stations, while LYNX made several technology upgrades for its riders.

With a growing number of people being able to embrace options like biking and walking, safety is more important than ever. For those skipping the car, MetroPlan Orlando began work on their Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Plan. They’re looking to provide a more comprehensive and targeted approach to improving safety by addressing behavior, road design and traffic control devices (think: road markings and signals like rectangular rapid flashing beacons).

They also partner in on-going regional work to improve safety, including the study, design and construction of Complete Streets. And, they’ve been championing Best Foot Forward (BFF) since our Orange County launch in 2012. The report notes that we’re finishing up our first year in Osceola County in 2018, with Seminole County next in line to adopt the BFF program. We are so grateful for all of their support!

Please join us in celebrating the tremendous people of MetroPlan Orlando – thank you for all of your hard work. You can check out their community report below or by clicking here.

Osceola & Kissimmee Expansion

Osceola County, City of Kissimmee, their respective law enforcement agencies, MetroPlan Orlando, LYNX, Osceola County Public Schools, Florida Health Department and local safety advocates have joined forces to launch Best Foot Forward, a grassroots pedestrian safety initiative, to reverse escalating pedestrian injuries and fatalities by changing driver behavior at pedestrian crosswalks. The official launch took place on Monday, October 30 at 11 a.m. in the Osceola County Commission Chambers at 1 Courthouse Square, Kissimmee, FL. 

Get all of the details regarding Best Foot Forward’s launch in Osceola by visiting our Osceola & Kissimmee Expansion page.

What Moves You? FDOT Mobility Week: Oct. 28 – Nov. 3

Mark your calendars! Central Florida’s second annual Mobility Week

Spearheaded by The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Mobility Week campaign provides the perfect opportunity for municipalities, transportation agencies, non-profits and local businesses to promote and explore ways to reduce car-use, test new technologies or showcase how smart and sustainable mobility can bring economic, environmental as well as health benefits, among others.

All nine counties throughout Central Florida are invited to participate, which includes: Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia Counties.

Mobility Week 2017 Events

This year’s Mobility Week campaign theme is “What Moves You?” It encourages people to explore the many ways to move across town, around cities and throughout the region – and offers prizes and rewards for those participating.  For example, Lake County is hosting a training on how to put a bike on a bus, LYNX is planning an outreach event and St. John’s River to Sea Alliance & River to Sea is organizing a Spooks and Spokes bike ride.

 


Do you work at a public agency or non-profit, and want to get involved? Here’s how:

1) Have your workplace organize an event during Mobility Week. The specifics of the event are up to you and your workplace, as long as it’s related to promoting safe and sustainable transportation.

2) Does your workplace want to be involved but doesn’t have time to organize an event? No problem! Show what moves you by offering assistance to co-workers looking for alternatives to driving alone, or by helping a colleague create a commuter plan utilizing SunRail or Lynx.


Are you an individual or business that wants to jump on board? Here’s what you can do:

1) Participate in the “Mix-it-up Challenge”. Logging trips can earn you points, badges and prizes. Click here to stay tuned for more information.

2) Attend one or more of the events. To see the full event schedule, click here.

3) Feeling ambitious? Organize your own event, activity or training! Get out there and promote walking, biking, or any other form of transit that gets you moving.

For more information on how you or your workplace can make moves during Mobility Week, visit www.mobilityweekcfl.com, or email contact@mobilityweekcfl.com.

TV Coverage: Getting to school in downtown

Big improvements are coming to Downtown Orlando.

First, Orange County Public Schools is opening one of its brand new schools in downtown, named OCPS Academic Center for Excellence (OCPS ACE). The new preschool through eight grade school is particularly remarkable. Not only does it serve students on one campus but it is also a Community Partnership School, which counts on its core community partners for resources to help create a support system that focuses on student achievement and community well-being. Partners include UCF, Valencia College, Children’s Home Society of Florida, Orange Blossom Family Health, Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida and the Rosen Foundation –  just to  name a few!

With the goal to foster student success and community well-being, the City of Orlando’s Public Works’ Department also has been working hard this summer on major road renovations along Westmoreland Drive – in the general area of the new school. Think wider sidewalks, upgrades to pedestrian signals, and even installing decorative crosswalks around the new school! Come August, students, parents and neighbors shall enjoy more comfortable walking and biking routes to and from school.

Keep reading below for recent articles from WFTV and Bungalower on this safe street project.

Wider sidewalks, bike paths coming to Parramore

By WFTV: Jason Kelly and Sarabeth Ackerman

Westmoreland Drive to become safer for school-bound children
by Brendan O’Connor
Bungalower