Metroplan gives $100k for pedestrian safety initiative
Metroplan Orlando, the region's transportation planning agency will expand a program called Best Foot Forward to Osceola and Seminole counties at a cost of $100,000 to taxpayers. The program has already been in operation in both Orlando and Orange County, and Program Manager Amanda Day says they have been able to produce results, especially in the behavior of drivers.
"When we started about two years ago, about 1 percent of drivers were yielding on roads that are 40 mph and higher. Now we are up to about 20 percent. I mean that's big!"
The object is to teach children and adults how to cross streets safely, ride bicycles safely, and design better intersections. We asked Amanda Day if it was the job of parents, not the taxpayers to teach kids to look both ways before they cross a street?
"Yes it is, and it's actually the job of all of us. Part of this is starting with the kids and we work in the schools."
There are more than just school training sessions. Day says the law enforcement crackdown portion of Best Foot Forward gets people to notice.
"We call it high visibility enforcement because it really gets people's attention. If we do enforcement, people do get the message, and they are either given warnings or tickets."
Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari told us the bike component was of particular interest to him, since he often rides and wishes drivers were more aware.
"I'm very fearful when I am on a road or on a trail, crossing a road of drivers. they don't see you. They don't even see motorcycles, let alone people who are walking or riding a bicycle."
Dallari tells Fox 35 the $100,000 is a good way to spend taxpayer money.
"We have to have communities that are walkable. We have to have communities that we can get to and from without sitting in our cars."
Metroplan Orlando collects taxes from Seminole, Orange, and Osceola counties, plus all of the cities in those counties, plus uses grants from the state and federal government.