The Department of Transportation says its gathering research and hopes to take a plan to Raleigh by late this year regarding the issue of few crosswalks in Jacksonville.
Eight people have died on Jacksonville roads in the past three years either trying to cross or ride their bikes across busy roadways where there are no crosswalks. The latest was 16 year-old Talissa Hatchell who tried crossing Western Boulevard in February.
Jacksonville city manager Kristoff Bauer says he understands the need for crosswalks in the city, but says putting in crosswalks isn't as easy as slapping down a couple of lines of paint on the road and putting up a few signals...especially on Western Boulevard. Bauer says, "You have seven lanes of traffic, left turn, right turn etc, if you are adding a pedestrian lane you have to add additional controls, you have to give people time to cross or have pedestrian refuge in middle. It requires another right of way. Bauer also says it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Joe Chance, deputy traffic engineer with the DOT, says they're currently working to determine if enough pedestrians cross certain locations to warrant a crosswalk. He says they don't have enough research yet to determine if crosswalks are needed.