The holiday season is bringing more cars, bicyclists and pedestrians to the streets of St. Petersburg. The additional traffic amplifies an issue police deal with every day, pedestrian crashes.
“We average about 10 pedestrian crashes a week in St. Pete. Right now, we’re at 11 fatalities for the year,” St. Pete Police Sergeant Michael Schade said.
Schade said the department is getting a $51,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation for a High Visibility Traffic Enforcement operation.
“The grant allows us to do these special types of details. The grant pays for the overtime hours that are used by the officers in order to do these operations,” he explained. “The biggest problem that we have is we want to have pedestrians using crosswalks. Pedestrians are crossing mid-block in the evening time, they’re not wearing bright clothing, they’re using their cell phones, so they’re distracted.”
The agency and FDOT will ramp up patrols on the following roads, which are considered the most dangerous in the city:
- 34th Street North and South
- 4th Street North
- 35th Street North and South
- 18th Avenue South
- 16th Street South
- 3rd Street North
- US Highway 19/5th Avenue North
- 49th Street North
“There will be a lot of officers in concentrated areas and you’ll see a lot of bicycle stops as well as contact with pedestrians and vehicle stops. We’ll be handing out pamphlets, we’ll be handing out bicycle lights to try to help people be safer and understand the rules of the roads,” said Schade.
Pedestrians who violate traffic laws could get hit with an estimated $65 fine. Drivers might be fined $165.
“Stay alert, don’t be using your cell phone while you’re walking or bicycling or driving. Don’t drink and driver, follow the red lights and utilize the cross walks,” Schade said.