Wendy Young says the main roadways in Osceola County are so dangerous for pedestrians, she wouldn't even consider walking on areas designated for them.
- 148 pedestrians killed or injured in Osceola County last year
- One of those was former Kissimmee Mayor Frank Attkisson
- County partners with Best Foot Forward, a grassroots safety initiative
"People drive like crazy,” the Kissimmee resident said, of roadways such as U.S. 192 and Osceola Parkway. “They don't know how to stop. They don't how to signal. It's too much."
The county and the city of Kissimmee tend to agree with Young, and that's why on Monday, they announced their partnership with Best Foot Forward, a grassroots pedestrian safety initiative.
Last year, Osceola County saw 148 pedestrians injured or killed. It’s not something they wish to be known for.
"One of those folks was one of our own County Commissioners Frank Attkisson, who was on his bicycle and unfortunately was hit from behind, and he did not survive that hit," District 4 Commissioner Cherly Grieb said.
The most recent Dangerous By Design study ranked the Orlando metro area as the No. 3 most dangerous area in the nation for pedestrians. That study area includes Osceola County and Sanford.
"A lot of people, they don't know what it means to stop when people are entering into the crosswalk,” Osceola County Sheriff Russell Gibson said. “And so it's important for us to educate these folks, to let them know that this isn't a new law. It's a law that's been on the books for quite some time."
If Best Foot Forward sounds familiar, it's because it’s been up and running in the Orlando and Orange County areas since 2012. Now, with injuries and fatalities continuing to rise in Seminole County, Best Foot Forward officials said that will be the next Central Florida county to receive the coalition's help.
As for Young, she's convinced it will take several years to see positive change and cites the new crosswalk signal in front of the courthouse as an example.
"They just put these up, so it's easier and safer to cross,” Young said. “But a lot of times it's not. People are not paying attention."