Keswick Forest resident Leslie McCluskie says the crosswalk outside her neighborhood leading to the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center on Countryway is an accident waiting to happen.
“Nobody stops at the crosswalk,” she said. “It’s not just at this crosswalk. Drivers do not stop at any of the crosswalks on Countryway. There are a lot of signs but they are not effective.”
There are in fact 15 signs in the two-tenths of a mile from Linebaugh Avenue to the crosswalk. They alert drivers to the speed limit, caution that deer may be crossing and warn that one lane is about to end. Other signs direct drivers to neighborhoods and inform them that they are approaching a crosswalk. McCluskie thinks that it might be sign overload for drivers and wonders if blinking lights might be more effective. “They have put in a raised intersection but it is not effective because the grade does not make anyone slow down. If you are standing waiting to cross, people just drive right past you.”
McCluskie says that every time a new voting member is elected for her neighborhood, he or she has tried to do something about the situation. At the October Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors meeting Government Affairs Committee (GAC) members said they would be meeting with Westchase’s new Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Resource Officer to discuss parking and crosswalk issues. In the meantime, McCluskie asks that drivers please pay attention to the crosswalks on Countryway (or anywhere) and be on the look-out for pedestrians. It’s not just the nice thing to do, it is the law.
Florida law states that a driver must stop when a pedestrian is attempting to cross the street at a marked crosswalk. Even if the person is not in your direct lane of traffic, you must stop if they are already in the crosswalk. The law goes on to state that if a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear should not overtake or pass the stopped vehicle.
If you are unsure of whether people standing on the side of the road want to cross it, it is best to go ahead and stop until you’re sure of their intentions.
By Marcy Sanford