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City of Apopka and Town of Oakland Are the Newest Addition to the Best Foot Forward Coalition

The Town of Oakland and the City of Apopka became the newest municipalities to step up their pedestrian safety efforts by joining the Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety Coalition.

According to Emily Hanna, Executive Director of Bike/Walk Central Florida, “The Best Foot Forward Coalition strengthened with the addition of the Town of Oakland and the City of Apopka. They’ll be working alongside other Central Florida agencies all dedicated to reducing the conflict between drivers and people on foot.”

Oakland and Apopka both participated in a July 27 & 28 region-wide Operation Best Foot Forward high-visibility enforcement operation, where officers enforced Florida’s driver yield laws. However, planning for the operation started much earlier. The town/city councils first agreed to join the coalition in May as their planners selected crosswalks for initial focus.

Apopka chose 5th St. & S. Park Ave. where pedestrian crossing warning signs were just added.  Oakland selected Oakland Ave & Sansparilla Rd. where residents cross to reach the West Orange Trail and nearby Oakland Avenue Charter School.

Next, law enforcement officers trained on how to effectively conduct a high-visibility enforcement operation, as well as on driver yield laws. Considerable emphasis was placed on using the standard crossing protocol, because it helps ensure citations will be upheld in court and, most importantly, ensures the safety of plainclothes officers serving as pedestrian decoys.

Oakland Police Department

The officers put the training into practice during the July operation. Timing coincided with children preparing to return to school, intentionally reminding drivers to be extra observant. Overall, officers and deputies throughout the region issued 301 citations and warnings, and thousands more drivers got the message through traditional and social media. Oakland Police Lt. Angela Campbell’s interview with WFTV is one example of more than 115 news stories about the operation and pedestrian safety appearing that week.

The operations in Apopka and Oakland were successful, and both partners are eager to continue with the program’s triple-E approach of engineering, enforcement and education.

“Both communities are dedicated to making their communities safer for people on foot, and it was a natural fit to add the Best Foot Forward program to their toolbox,” said Hanna. “We are eager to select crosswalks for this fall, start collecting data and conduct community outreach in these communities, educating drivers and pedestrians on the Florida driver yield laws.”

 

 

Other participating partners in Best Foot Forward include:

  • Regionally: MetroPlan Orlando, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Health, Orlando Health and LYNX.
  • In Orange:Orange County Government, the City of Orlando, the City of Apopka, the City of Oakland, Orange County Public Schools, Orange County Walk-Ride-Thrive, Orlando Stops, as well as law enforcement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando, Oakland, and Apopka Police Departments.
  • In Osceola:the Osceola County Government, the City of Kissimmee, the City of St. Cloud, Osceola County School District, and law enforcement including the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and the Police Departments of Kissimmee and St. Cloud.
  • In Seminole:Seminole County Government, the City of Casselberry, Seminole County Public Schools, Seminole County School Crossing Guards, and local law enforcement including the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Casselberry Police Department.

 

 

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