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Florida once again leads in pedestrian deaths

'The statistics speak for themselves,' resident says
Posted at 10:58 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 00:55:40-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Nick Panayoto and his wife get out and walk on a regular basis. The former New Yorker said he feels relatively safe while out for some exercise.

"After being here for four years, Florida drivers generally are more courteous than New York drivers," he said.

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According to Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, Florida ranks worst in the nation for pedestrian danger between 2010-19.

"The statistics speak for themselves. I have to go by that," Panayoto said.

The report said most streets are inherently dangerous because of how they're designed with wide lanes, a lack of high visibility crosswalks and long distances between intersections.

Boca Raton Councilman Andy Thomson said work is needed to create a safer environment.

"Like pedestrians, who don't have the benefit of a ton of steel surrounding them, or bicyclists same way, or joggers, and so now the emphasis is more on making these roadway networks safer for everybody," he said.

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He said safe designs include narrower travel lanes and in-road lights to help illuminate crosswalks. Over the past decade, the city has set its sights on having complete streets.

"Which means trying to draw down the speed of the cars, having a buffer between a sidewalk and the traffic, having separated bike lanes so that the bicyclist feels safe riding out there on the road, having wider sidewalks," Thomson said.

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Panayoto said while improvements are needed, he's glad to see a city making the effort for safer streets.