In an effort to enhance pedestrian safety and create more walkable communities, the Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety program is planning to expand its reach into Brevard, Marion, and Volusia Counties. This initiative, which has already demonstrated success throughout the Sanford-Orlando-Kissimmee metro area, aims to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities through a comprehensive approach that involves improvement through education, enforcement, and engineering.
Brevard, Volusia, and Marion Counties rank within the top 25 most dangerous counties in Florida for pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. Recognizing the need for a targeted approach to address this issue, the Florida Department of Transportation has partnered with Best Foot Forward to make streets safer for pedestrians. This partnership further supports FDOT’s Target Zero initiative, which aims to reduce transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities throughout Florida to zero.
Joining forces with over 35 regional partners in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola Counties, this expansion of the Best Foot Forward program cements its position in one of the largest grassroots coalitions nationwide dedicated to lowering pedestrian fatalities and injuries. Key Components of the Best Foot Forward program include:
- Education: The program focuses on educating both pedestrians and drivers about their respective responsibilities on the road. Community outreach initiatives include group presentations, outreach tables at community events, and public awareness campaigns to instill a culture of safety.
- Engineering: Best Foot Forward works with local public works departments to identify and implement engineering solutions that enhance pedestrian safety. Infrastructure improvements may include enhanced crosswalks, new signage, and improved lighting at key intersections.
- Enforcement: Law enforcement agencies collaborate with the program to remind drivers that it’s the law to yield to pedestrians within crosswalks. Best Foot Forward helps coordinate these quarterly enforcement operations and create visibility through local news and social media.
- Evaluation: The data collection team monitors the effect of these interventions on the driver yield rate to pedestrians throughout the year. This data helps guide additional countermeasure recommendations for improvements to the crosswalk.
The decision to expand the Best Foot Forward program into these Central Florida counties comes at a critical time, as the region grapples with the challenges of balancing increasing urban development with the need for pedestrian-friendly spaces. Through a collaborative effort between local authorities, law enforcement, and the community, this initiative has the potential to make a lasting impact on the region’s safety landscape. Expected benefits of the program include:
- Reduced Pedestrian Incidents: By combining education, enforcement, and engineering, the program aims to significantly decrease the number of pedestrian-related accidents within each partnering county.
- Community Engagement: Best Foot Forward fosters community involvement through partnerships with local schools, businesses, and residents, creating a shared responsibility for pedestrian safety.
- Improved Walkability: The engineering component of the program will contribute to the creation of safer and more accessible pedestrian infrastructure, enhancing the overall walkability within the County.
The Best Foot Forward – Target Zero expansion kicks off next Tuesday, November 21st at 4 PM at the Volusia County Council meeting. This event is open to the public and located on the second floor of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center in DeLand. The agenda will include a short presentation about the Best Foot Forward program, outlining its objectives, strategies, and anticipated impact on pedestrian safety in our community. Additionally, a resolution of support from the Board of County Commissioners will be presented, solidifying the county’s commitment to this crucial initiative.