“Turn the Flashing Yellow Crosswalks Red”
This bill eliminates the ability to place Rectangular Rapid Flashing Light Beacons (RRFBs) on roads with more than 2 lanes. If the existing RRFBs are currently located on roads with more than 2 lanes, the RRFBs must be removed. If the RRFBs cannot be retrofitted with red lights, they must also be removed. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1371/BillText/c3/PDF
“Sophia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act”
Senate bill 1000 does not turn yellow flashing lights into red flashing lights https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/1000/BillText/er/HTML. It removes the flashing yellow lights (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Light Beacons) all together. It removes all mid-block crosswalks (or cross walks not at an intersection with controlled traffic signals). The idea behind this being is that it invites pedestrians to walk in crosswalks, where they might get hit by drivers who fail to stop for them (against the law), as oppose to not walking in a crosswalk, walking a longer distance to get to a crosswalk at an intersection with controlled traffic signals, or not walking at all. The problem here isn’t the pedestrian. The problem here isn’t the design. The problem here is the driver.
A driver who is distracted, unaware of the law, intoxicated, speeding or other will fail to stop for a pedestrian or stop in time regardless of whether a crosswalk is mid-block or at an intersection, and whether Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) are present. So does this mean we should take them down? No.
People are begging for more crosswalks and RRFBs across the state to make drivers more conscientious of pedestrians. The state is currently unable to meet the demand for the need. How are communities able to afford removing crosswalks and installing crosswalks with controlled traffic signal devices when they are struggling to get sidewalks, crosswalks and RRFBs as it is? By removing what crosswalks and rapid flashing beacons that are currently in place, we are exacerbating the issue of pedestrian safety, by enabling drivers to increase their speed and reduce barriers to speeding, such as crosswalks. RRFBs are effective in alerting drivers who are safely driving of an upcoming crosswalk and pedestrian entering a crosswalk.
Finally, removing crosswalks will disproportionately affect urban communities of concern, creating health and safety inequities. I encourage you to instead prioritize effective systems and tools such as the ones outlined in Vision Zero. Tools which make pedestrians more safe include: painted corner crosswalk extensions, protected bike lanes, public transportation investment, reducing speed, driver education, automated speed enforcement, law enforcement, designing complete streets, and educational programming. Not removing the few scientifically proven resources we have at our disposal. RRFBs are highly effective (98%) and affordable. Please let your Florida Senator know you are opposed to these bills.
If pedestrian safety is important to you, let Rep. Jackie Toldeo and Sen. Janet Cruz know you oppose this dangerous legislation. Contact Rep. Jackie.Toledo@myfloridahouse.gov, (850) 717-5060 and tell her to oppose HB 1371. Contact Sen. Janet.firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 487-5018 and tell her to oppose SB 1000.