The results are in.
For as many years as crashes had been tracked, Fletcher Avenue was consistently near the top of the list for fatal and serious injury crashes. Even more concerning was that those impacted were often pedestrians and cyclists living in neighborhoods around Fletcher Avenue in what is now referred to as a “community of concern” meaning, for a number of reasons, residents are less likely to own an automobile and use walking, transit or bicycling to move about.
Hillsborough County decided enough was enough and developed a design that would give attention to making sure everyone, no matter what mode of transportation, can safely travel on Fletcher Avenue. In 2014, construction began and with the help of the state, approximately $5 million was invested for:
- five mid-block pedestrian crossings with push-botton activated overhead beacons
- one mid-block with a full traffic control signal
- LED lighting
- Raised pedestrian refuge islands
- Raised traffic separators
- Narrowing lanes to add bike lanes on both sides
- Speed limit reduction from 45 mph to 35 mph
- Media outreach materials, events, interviews
Two much anticipated before and after studies have been completed on Fletcher Avenue:
Studies like these support why redesigning roads can be successful at slowing traffic without necessarily diverting drivers to adjacent roads or causing excessive delay. The added look into whether there is compliance by the users – cyclists using the bike lane, pedestrians crossing in designated locations and pushing the button, and motorists stopping as required was helpful to confirm that changing behaviors is possible and a needed complement to the infrastructure changes in reducing serious and fatal crashes.
For more information, contact the Hillsborough County Public Works Department at 813/635-5400.