February may be the shortest month of the year, but Best Foot Forward (BFF) packed a lot of events into it. Community education is one of the three tenants of BFF’s “Triple E” approach, along with low-cost engineering and high-visibility enforcement.
Here are some highlights of BFF community outreach events in February:
Safety Presentation at Westminster Towers Orlando
On February 4, BFF presented pedestrian safety and crosswalk information to residents of Westminster Towers Orlando, an adult community with seniors living in the independent section of Westminster.
While some of the seniors are still able to drive their own cars, others take the living facility van or public transportation to and from the supermarket, BFF’s Roni Wood addressed some of the residents’ concerns about pedestrian safety.
Another big topic was the construction on the streets near their building. BFF discussed strategies to maneuver safely around the construction zone, when walking.
One woman voiced her concerns about Orlando’s new electric scooters. She was worried they will add to the dangers of Orlando’s busy roads. BFF assured the woman and other residents that Orlando is working to become a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly environment.
Safety Presentation at Gulfstream Harbor
BFF also gave a pedestrian and safety presentation to residents at Gulfstream Harbor, a 55 + Manufactured Home Community, on February 5. All 17 residents who attended, agreed that pedestrian safety is a big concern for them.
BFF’s community outreach team member, Roni Wood, listened as they talked about the need for crosswalks and more speed bumps in their community due to speeding drivers. The Florida Department of Transportation has already reduced the speed limit from 40 to 25 mph at the community entrance, yet they say drivers still speed.
Another big concern for Gulfstream Harbor neighbors was the safety and lighting on Old Goldenrod Road. Residents say they’re worried about the safety of those trying to cross at Old Goldenrod Road & Goldenrod Road. Residents said they’ve already requested a traffic light installation. They’ve also requested better lighting and crosswalk paint to cross Old Goldenrod Road to the LYNX 3 bus stop.
BFF checked in with MetroPlan to ask for the status of their traffic light request and passed along the residents’ speed enforcement request to the Orange County Sherriff’s Office. Until we hear back, we suggested that residents wear light or reflective clothing and to always walk with a flashlight after dark or before daylight.
Safety Presentation at Winter Park Pines HOA
Our next community outreach event took place on February 12 at the Winter Park Pines Home Owners Association, a community of 901 homes in Winter Park. At its February meeting, the HOA discussed the closest BFF-monitored crosswalk at the University Blvd. & Driggs location, which was enforced in 2019. Neighbors brought up some great points about the location of the crosswalk, saying its proximity to Full Sail University brings a lot of student foot traffic.
They also talked about the improvements they’ve seen on the streets and how it will impact the safety of their community. Residents used an example of a message posted on a power box saying, “Take off your headphones.”
Safety Presentation at Blanchard Park YMCA
School was out, but safety was in session for some 17 Blanchard Park YMCA day campers, who had the day off for Presidents Day, February 15. BFF’s Roni Woods shared pedestrian and bicycling safety tips, including the dangers of distracted driving, and the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian or bicyclist.
The Blanchard Trail is just a stone’s throw away from the YMCA and many of the kids said they’ve ridden the trail recently. The children shared their biking stories and loved every minute of the bicycle helmet egg drop presentation (picture an egg being a head without a helmet).
At the end, the students were given a quick preview of the next Operation Best Foot Forward in Seminole County, coming up February 18. As the takeaway, they were asked to share what they had learned with friends and families. One boy asked if he could even share the info with his pastor. These new BFFers are already showing they are great ambassadors for pedestrian safety!