New traffic beacons implemented to keep pedestrians safe

Reporter: Annalise Iraola
Published: Updated:

Reducing crashes and helping to keep pedestrians safe is the goal of new traffic beacons at several busy intersections in Fort Myers.

The crossings were activated on Wednesday.

If you’re a pedestrian wanting to cross a pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB), there are instructions on both sides.

You push a button, make sure you wait for the walk signal, and then you’re safe to start crossing.

“This specifically, U.S. 41, we’ve had over the past five years, we’ve had a significant increase in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities,” said Fort Myers Police Sgt. Kristi Neroni, who works in FMPD’s traffic unit.

The Florida Department of Transportation has conducted research on this for over five years.

“So the results said, you need to do something about keeping the pedestrians safe, you know, within this two-mile stretch, or two-and-a-half mile stretch corridor,” said Janella Newsome, a spokesperson for FDOT. “Statistically, we found out that if we could implement these PHBs, we would reduce and probably even eliminate folks from serious injuries and even death by 69%.”

Elante Foster, who crosses this road daily, hopes it improves safety.

“The time, it needs to be perfect, and this is a good placement, like I said, for the kids is walking across even for those, but you never know what actually might happen in rush hour,” Foster said.

FMPD wants to stress that the PHB signals are designed to flow with traffic. If both intersections have green lights, be patient. Once those lights turn red, you’ll get the walk signal, and then you can cross.

FMPD and FDOT hope it does its job and cuts down on crashes involving pedestrians.

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