The Florida Department of Transportation, Center for Urban Transportation Research and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce have partnered to distribute pedestrian safety key cards to hotel guests along Gulf Boulevard.
The card insert is the same size as a room key, which allows hotels along Gulf Boulevard to distribute them to guests during check-in. The goal is to educate and inform tourists regarding pedestrian safety through the WalkWise tips.
“WalkWise Tampa Bay is partnering with businesses along Gulf Boulevard to positively impact the safety of pedestrians,” said Julie Bond, CUTR’s project manager for WalkWise Tampa Bay. “The Key to Safety cards are another innovative measure to provide safety tips to our visitors.”
FDOT data shows that from 2008 to 2012, there were 119 crashes and six fatalities along Gulf Boulevard. The goal of FDOT is to reduce pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent by 2018, hopefully saving about 15 lives per year.
“The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber is excited to have the opportunity to partner with Walkwise on such a very important educational piece. With the development of this crosswalk safety information piece, we can inform visitors on the importance of using crosswalks correctly and what to look for while walking in our communities,” said Robin Sollie, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
Over the last five years in the Tampa Bay area, a fatal pedestrian crash has occurred once every four and half days. Nearly three pedestrian crashes have occurred each day. The state of Florida wants to be known for its beautiful beaches and fabulous tourist attractions, not its pedestrian fatality numbers. FDOT and its partners are using a multi-level approach to help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities with help from law enforcement, engineering changes along the roadways, and education materials being distributed to the public.
“On behalf of the guests and staff of the Bilmar Beach Resort, we want to thank the Walk Wise crosswalk safety program,” said Clyde Smith, general manager of the Bilmar Beach Resort in Treasure Island. “The cards fit perfectly into our key packets and provides an excellent opportunity to point out the importance of the crosswalks both as pedestrians and as motorists drive throughout Tampa Bay. It is an excellent program and shows how much we care about our tourists.”
The key card lists tips such as:
• Walk without distraction – wait to text or talk on cell phones • Always follow the Walk/Don’t Walk signals – use pedestrian push buttons at crossings • Look left, right and left again before crossing • Know your surroundings • Wear bright colors – be seen night and day • Impaired walking can be dangerous • Stay on sidewalks – walk facing traffic and use crosswalks • Expect the unexpected – walk defensively.