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Cape Coral City Council expected to approve grant for pedestrian, bicycle safety

Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 05:18:14-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A grant targeting pedestrian and bicycle safety is expected to be approved by Cape Coral City Council on Wednesday. This comes as a 31-year-old woman was hit and killed on Monday night.

According to a police report obtained, Jacqueline Oliver walked across Cape Coral Parkway near Palm Tree Boulevard and was not in a crosswalk. Another driver, going east, hit and killed her. The report says she was just 140 feet away from the crosswalk.

"I'm sorry to hear what happened here because that's terrible," said Ralph, a driver who goes down Cape Coral Parkway frequently. "The drivers, I think the majority are slowing down and whatnot. Some people blast past even though there’s the pedestrian."

Other drivers in the area say they do not see people use the crosswalk often, and some even go against the pedestrian light.

To prevent accidents like this from happening, Cape Coral City Council is expected to approve a $14,000 grant on Wednesday. It will allow officers to work overtime in order to educate drivers and enforce the law at specific intersections.

It's part of the High Visibility Enforcement Campaign, which also involves the Florida Department of Transportation.

In the grant, it says three intersections will be targeted in this campaign:

  • Cape Coral Parkway East from Palm Tree Boulevard to Canadia Street
  • NE Pine Island from Hibiscus Drive to Orchid Road
  • SW Pine Island from SW 20th Avenue to Nicholas Parkway

The grant says this data is from FDOT and "roadway segments with high representation of traffic resulting in serious injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and bicyclists."

"I think all crashes that involve fatalities worry me whether it’s the season or not because the number is way too high," said Cape Coral City Councilman Tom Hayden. "No number above zero is ever acceptable, so we just need to look for ways to cut this rate down a lot."

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This year alone in Lee County, FDOT data shows there have been at least 199 pedestrian crashes. This does not include three from Sunday and one from Monday night.

"The grant will help now and improve our ability I think to see what else we can do in that area," Hayden said.

Ralph says he thinks pedestrians should get tickets for not using the crosswalk if the trend like this continues. For now, he says he's going to keep doing what he's been doing, such as slowing down and leaving plenty of room in front of him.

"Be alert, be aware for anything can happen at any time," he said. "The pedestrians also — they have to be more cognizant to walk up to the crosswalk, to cross where the light is instead of cutting across traffic."

If the grant is approved, it's not clear when police will start their education patrols. The grant does give a deadline, so it will likely be sooner rather than later.