Could Pedestrian Lights at Miami’s Alton Rd. & West Ave. Save Lives?
Miami Beach has seen its fair share of highway changes in 2015, with various city and state construction projects keeping motorists and pedestrians on their toes all summer long.
In particular, efforts to manage flooding at Alton Road and West Avenue have caused a series of disruptions. The installation of pump stations has required temporary closures, mergers, and changes in traffic flow around the South Beach intersection.
As frustrating as construction work can be while it’s in underway, though, one temporary feature has proven surprisingly popular.
Road crews installed a traffic signal at 14th Street, along with crosswalks with flashing beacons at Ninth and 12th Streets. The temporary measures were intended to aid pedestrians crossing West Avenue at a time when southbound Alton traffic was directed onto West Ave.
The beacons, in particular, have gained notice because they allow pedestrians to push buttons before crossing the street. The buttons then flash bright lights, warning drivers that someone will soon be crossing their path on foot.
Neither the crosswalk nor the beacons were designed to stay for long. But now residents don’t want to see them go, the Miami Herald reports.
Construction, Bureaucracy Stand in the Way
So if everyone loves the lights and they make South Beach a safer place for pedestrians, what’s to keep them from becoming permanent?
The City of Miami Beach says this is not its call to make. Instead, the city says, it’s Miami-Dade County that is responsible for determining the installation and removal of traffic lights and crosswalks in South Beach.
As for the county, officials say they’re happy to consider the citizens’ request, but there’s red tape to tend to. They’ll need to commission formal safety studies before the installations can become permanent.
Miami Beach has officially requested that those studies move forward, but the county says its hands are tied — for now. They say they need construction to finish first.
Unfortunately, the pace of municipal construction is typically anything but rapid, as South Beach residents and tourists know all too well.
Miami Beach Must Protect Its Pedestrians
Florida leads the country in pedestrian deaths. The Sunshine State also happens to be home to all four of the cities with the highest pedestrian death rates in the United States. For the record, the Miami metro is at #4 on that list.
Given the outrageous frequency of pedestrian fatalities in and around South Beach, it is no surprise that its residents are embracing increased safety measures.
While it isn’t yet clear whether the specific measures employed during the temporary Alton Rd. and West Ave. construction project are the safest possible measures for South Beach pedestrians, we hope to see Miami-Dade County move forward soon with aggressive action for protecting its people and visitors.
Each day that passes without additional and permanent measures in place is a day with lives in unnecessary danger.
Talk to the Miami Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured while walking, biking, or driving in South Beach, Miami Beach, or any other part of Magic City, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation.
Our experienced Miami pedestrian accident attorneys at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC can help. Whether you live here or were simply visiting from out of town, you need aggressive representation to ensure that the at-fault parties and their insurance companies pay you everything you’re owed.
Please contact our office to set up a free consultation with our pedestrian accident attorneys right away.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 15 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for 4 years.