(WSVN) - A crosswalk in Miami-Dade is so dangerous, a South Florida mayor is urging people not to use it! The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek has our special assignment report: Crossing into Danger.
With cars whizzing by, James Carter uses this crosswalk with caution.
James Carter, uses crosswalk every day: “They’re supposed to stop when that light is flashing, but sometimes they don’t. See what I mean?”
But others here in Sunny Isles Beach, like Patrick Dunn, refuse to cross here.
Patrick Dunn, Sunny Isles Beach resident: “It’s unsafe. I will actually go out of my way to get to the beach.”
This crosswalk goes across the on-ramp to the William Lehman Causeway, which breaks off of Collins Avenue near 189th Street.
Kevin Ozebek: “Why is it so scary?”
Annabel Dunn, Sunny Isles Beach resident: “Because the cars don’t stop. They’re racing up the causeway.”
And we saw that for ourselves!
One, two, three, three of those cars did not stop even though the pedestrian crossing light is flashing. This big truck is also still going through, even though we have flashing lights. A semitruck is still going through. Let’s see if this big truck stops. Nope!
Patrick Dunn: “It is a horrific accident waiting to happen.”
Actually, six accidents have already happened here!
Since the crosswalk was installed in 2018, there have been five rear-end collisions involving drivers who slammed on their breaks to stop for pedestrians.
We nearly witnessed a crash when I tried to cross!
And in July, a 14-year-old riding his bike was hit by a car while using the crosswalk.
Annabel Dunn: “I was there about 10 minutes after it happened. The boy was in the ambulance and being taken away.”
The boy who was injured is now out of the hospital, but Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Larisa Svechin worries another person could get hit.
Larisa Svechin, Sunny Isles Beach Mayor: “This is not the best place to cross, especially with small children.”
Collins Avenue and the William Lehman Causeway are state roads maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Back in 2019, FDOT concluded these flashing pedestrian crossing signs should be replaced with a traffic light to ensure traffic comes to a stop.
More than two years later, and that traffic light still has not been installed.
Kevin Ozebek: “Is the state moving too slow here?”
Larisa Svechin: “Yes, absolutely the state is moving too slow.”
FDOT would not go on camera, but a spokesperson tells 7News plans are finalized, though the poles for the new signals “need to be manufactured, which can take up to six months. FDOT is working with the contractor to expedite this as much as possible.”
Kevin Ozebek: “Are you happy with this?”
Larisa Svechin: “No, I am not happy with this, but the only thing I can do to affect that is push them even harder, and we have been. I can tell you we have an excellent relationship with them, and they understand the urgency.”
Mayor Svechin says FDOT told her supply chain delays caused by COVID are making it difficult to manufacture new traffic lights.
Residents like Patrick say they’re furious with FDOT’s response.
Patrick Dunn: “Now we’re looking for parts? No, that’s ridiculous. It’s disgraceful. They’ve known for years there is a problem here.”
And since FDOT does not expect the traffic signal to be constructed until March of next year, the city will pay a crossing guard during peak beach hours to get people safely across the street.
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