A recent study found Interstate 4 to be the deadliest road in America, with a March report named the Orlando metro area the most dangerous place for pedestrians.
What You Need To Know
- Orlando ranks as one of the most dangerous for pedestrians & drivers
- Expert finds speed to be the main cause of crashes
- Measures such as narrowing lanes, adding median landscape & installing more noticeable pedestrian crossings help slow down vehicles
Spectrum News 13 has heard similar studies in the past, but wanted to know what is being done to keep the Sunshine State out of the number one spot.
“It is a slow fight, a systemic problem,” said Mighk Wilson, senior transportation planner at MetroPlan Orlando.
Wilson was an avid cyclist even before he joined MetroPlan Orlando nearly three decades ago. Now he spends his time trying to make Central Florida roads safer.
He and his team are studying 38 miles of state roads that represent more than 23% of all crashes in Central Florida.
The commonality for most of those crashes is speed.
“We’ve been building a system around speed for decades, and we’re not going to suddenly flip a switch and turn that around,” said Wilson. “Even the legal speed from a pedestrian safety standpoint is a problem because when you combine that with darkness, it’s really difficult for pedestrians to judge the speed of approaching vehicles and it’s that much more difficult for the drivers to see the pedestrian.”
Wilson compared three roads in Central Florida to similar streets across the country and found out the speed limit was 10 miles per hour faster.
But it is not just reducing the speed limit, Wilson says to slow things down and avoid crashes, there needs to be a narrowing of lanes, adding landscape to the median, tightening up intersections and installing more noticeable pedestrian crossings.
“You have to do a whole host of things collectively that sort of sends a message to the driver that this is a slower speed environment,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that is being done in spots like Orange Blossom Trail. Prone to pedestrian related crashes, a stretch of OBT from I-4 to Holden Avenue will receive more safety improvements this summer.