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City of Longwood Prioritizes Student Safety Near Longwood Elementary

In an effort to improve road safety and prioritize our youngest pedestrians, the City of Longwood has demonstrated how a relatively inexpensive intervention can yield impressive results.

At two intersections around Longwood Elementary School, the city has installed vertical in-street pedestrian signs, dramatically improving student safety there. Based on data collected by the Best Foot Forward (BFF) program in 2023, only 33% of drivers were yielding to walkers in front of the elementary school at Orange Avenue and Highland Street. Since installation, BFF data collectors have recorded over 80% of drivers yielding to pedestrians at the same location, marking a significant improvement.

The origin of this project traces back to the City of Longwood’s collaborative efforts with the Best Foot Forward program, who has been monitoring the intersection for two years. Shad Smith, the Director of Public Works in Longwood, had considered the addition of in-street signs after seeing positive results at similar intersections monitored by BFF in Casselberry.

“At the beginning of this past school year, the traffic and crossing issues on Lakeview [near Longwood Elementary] were very bad, and the Longwood Police Department met with public works to see if we could come up with some solutions,” said Smith. After discussion with Longwood Elementary’s principal and school resource officer, they decided to install in-street signs on both Orange Avenue and Lakeview Drive where students commonly cross.

Smith took a moment to acknowledge the collaborative effort that contributed to the success of the project. “Longwood Elementary Principal Leigh Jones, Longwood Police Department Resource officer Marian Schwenn and Lt. Michael Aprile, and City of Longwood Staff Matthew Hockenberry all played integral roles in making this project a reality,” Smith acknowledged.

Following the success of the intervention, Longwood plans to implement similar safety measures across the city. Myrtle Street and Church Avenue is one such location receiving an in-street sign, which has been a common enforcement location during Operation Best Foot Forward. In the past year, Longwood officers have issued 67 warnings and citations to drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians at this intersection. The city has also purchased portable in-street signs to use at citywide events to help give pedestrians extra visibility during peak periods.

The installation of in-street signs in Longwood highlights their ongoing efforts to prioritize road safety. Through collaborative initiatives with Best Foot Forward and a commitment to proactive solutions, Longwood sets an example for communities striving to create safer environments for all residents.

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