WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Officials with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office say Okeechobee Blvd. from Congress Ave. to the Florida turnpike is becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians.
Officials say in the last 18 months, there have been 87 hit and runs without injuries, and 9 with injuries.
There have been two fatal hit and runs in roughly two weeks, just about a block away from each other on Okeechobee Blvd. The most recent accident Saturday morning claimed the life of 33-year-old Dacid Rizzotti.
Business owners along Okeechobee Blvd. hope to see more security measures in place for drivers and pedestrians.
Syed Mahbob owns the Shell gas station on the corner of Military Trail and Okeechobee Blvd.
That intersection is where a homeless man was hit and killed in early October.
Mahbob says it's busy inside his store and outside on the street. He watches the traffic daily. "People should be very careful," Mahbob said.
He's noticed more accidents, especially those involving pedestrians. "People are very busy. They don't have time. They don't have patience. They don't care. That's why there are accidents," Mahbob said.
Just a block up the road to Okeechobee Blvd. and Haverhill Rd., S.K. Jossin, also a gas station employee, sees other traffic problems.
"Too many cars are speeding in this area," Jossin explained.
He also notices many pedestrians crossing the road without a signal. "They just look around and try to run across," said Jossin.
Jossin and Mahbob are among the business owners along Okeechobee Blvd. who hope to see changes in safety measures along the roadway.
Jossin hopes to see panhandlers kept farther away from the road. "Try to make them understand that this is risky for them," Jossin said.
He says law enforcement should crack down on people crossing the street without a signal, or away from a crosswalk.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is currently in the middle of an initiative called Operation Find Your Way. It's one effort to prevent pedestrians from illegally crossing the street using increased enforcement and patrols by deputies.
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