Bay County Project Could Improve Pedestrian Safety

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A group called The Smart Growth America and The National Complete Streets Coalition found drivers killed more than 47,000 pedestrians in the United States between 2003 and 2012.

The dangerous by design study found sidewalks, or the lack of them, played a major role in many of the fatalities.

In 2012, a driver hit and killed a 37-year old man along Joan avenue.

Bay County traffic engineering officials say incidents like these is what sparked them to take action.

"We've had some fatalities in these areas where pedestrians were struck. We needed a safe place to keep the pedestrian out of the roadway,” said Keith Bryant, Bay County traffic engineering manager.

Bay County officials are proposing new sidewalks along Joan, from front beach to north lagoon drive.

The plan also include sidewalks on Frankford avenue from 15th to 23rd street.

"Frankford Avenue not only has pedestrians but a lot of motorized wheelchairs along the roadway. We wanted to provide a safe place for them also,” said Bryant.

"I think sidewalks will go real nice down there because there's scooters going up and down the road with some handicap people and they're going up and down those ditches and it looks kind of dangerous,” said Trae Brown, Whitehead Plumbing Parts manager.

The star avenue sidewalks would run from Cherry street to State Road 22.

The county is also considering improvement to Thomas drive.

"Little bit wider bike lanes, some better separations in some areas to keep the bicyclist away from the motorist,” said Bryant.