Orlando Looks to Halve Pedestrian Deaths

It’s good to know it’s not just Chicago thinking about new ways to protect pedestrians. Sunny Orlando, the country’s most perilous place to travel by foot, is cracking down on motorists who pose a threat to the most vulnerable class of road users.

Florida cities top Transportation for America's annual list of the most dangerous places for pedestrians, but Orlando is trying to tackle the problem. Photo: Reuters

This East Orlando Sun article was referenced today by Network blog Baltimore Spokes, with the admonishment, “[T]his is how you do it.”

Law enforcement agencies are getting serious with motorists who don’t yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, as Florida law requires. Penalties for failing to yield include a fine of $164 and three driver’s license points.

This high-profile crackdown, known as Operation Best Foot Forward, is part of a community-wide effort to cut pedestrian deaths and injuries in half during the next five years in Orlando and Orange County.

Law enforcement agencies in Orange County are committed to breaking bad driving habits, using a system of escalating consequences. Efforts started with driver awareness and are now progressing from warning fliers to moving violations. During the summer, OPD and OCSO issued a combined 1,616 warnings to drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks.

Law enforcement is a key element, along with education and engineering, in Best Foot Forward’s “Triple-E” effort to cut pedestrian deaths and injuries. The campaign reminds drivers that everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day.

Kudos to Orlando! More cities in Florida and other pedestrian-injury-plagued metros should follow suit.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington wonders whether urban big box stores are a net good or bad for cities. Market Street Railway remembers the day in 1982 when San Francisco’s streetcars nearly died. And Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth demonstrates how connectivity leads to higher real estate prices.