Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Update: Pedestrian Safety in Deerfield Beach, District 2

Just an update...from my original post 

City of Deerfield Beach Commissioner on Pedestrian Safety: "At Some Time in the Future the City May Take On That Project." When after a District 2 resident pedestrian or bicyclist is killed...

which can be read here.

On October 18, 2011 I approached the Deerfield Beach City Commission about promoting pedestrian safety in my community.  Namely at the intersection of Hillsboro Blvd. and Martin Luther King, which is in the primarily minority district of the city.  

Well, the City took it under-advisement and after a month and many emails to them asking for an update, my City Commissioner (D2), Ben Preston, advised me that there was nothing the City could do and he even basically stated that Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) may not be interested in fixing this problem and that the City may possibly look into it in the future.  Ben even suggested that I am more than welcome to come and argue my points with the City Engineer, Charles DaBrusca or come before the City Commission, again.

So, seeing that my Commissioner, Ben Preston, and the City of Deerfield Beach could care less about the safety of the many pedestrian and bicyclist residents that traverse that busy intersection, I contacted FDOT directly myself.  

For government people, they were surprisingly nice, understanding, responsive and actually nothing like I thought they would be from the depiction my elected official, Ben Preston, and City Manager, Burgess Hanson, painted for me of them.   

From the conversations and emails, you would have assumed that FDOT was all about the bottom line and if it cost a cent more than zero then they would not do it.  The City of Deerfield Beach Commission and the City Manager have painted that picture of FDOT for us.  They did it to me and they attempted to do it to longtime Deerfield Beach District 2 resident Laurie Dickens at the November 15, 2011 Commission meeting when she asked for the City to re-strip the roads, so she could be safe while driving down the many residential streets in district 2 that do not have the yellow stripping to identify the lanes.  

You can read about it here.

The City Manager, basically tried to pacify Ms. Dickens all the while advising her that she would basically have to drive on those residential roads at here own risk because there was nothing the City could do because FDOT had disbanded the re-stripping program 4 years ago.  He then kept saying a very patronizing "it's sad!".  Only after seeing the disgust in Ms. Dickens face and seeing that this would not go away did he suggest using CDBG funding to re-strip the degraded district 2 residential roadways.  The Mayor, Peggy Noland, even chimed in and offered this little nugget, "it's not us, it's the County".  I said it then and I every time I think of this incident I will say it...WOW!!!

So anyway, after one conversation with FDOT they sent someone out to look at the possible problems, within a week (even with the Thanksgiving holiday) they were working on a resolution, and on today- Tuesday November 29, 2011 I received an email response from FDOT advising me that a determination had been made and the "detectable warning surface" or yellow truncated domes would be installed at all three intersections that were requested within the next 2 weeks.

Now, I have no idea if my City Commissioner, Ben Preston, or anyone else from the City helped to grease the wheels on this entire affair and made what Ben called "The Process" go so smoothly, but the fact remains is that it did.  It was not the big ordeal that the City made it out to be, so my only regret is that I had not just contacted FDOT back in October instead of wasting over a month waiting on a response from a City who from the looks of things could have cared less.  If something had happened during that time, I would not have been able to live with myself.

So to the staff over at FDOT District 4, Barbara Kelleher (Public Information Director), her staff member Richard Evans, Thomas Reynolds (Maintenance Supervisor), and anyone else who helped in this project,  the residents of Deerfield Beach District 2 say, "Thank You for helping to protect us".

Now, all we need are actual street lights at that intersection and a turning signal and we will be all set.

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