Accident prompts call for flashing beacons at A1A crosswalks

Indian Harbour Beach officials want the Florida Department of Transportation to install a pedestrian crossing with flashing beacons at A1A and Atlantic Boulevard after a 14-year-old boy was injured there while trying to cross the road on March 14.

Officially-marked pedestrian crossings with a safety spot midway are about to become the norm on State Road A1A in Brevard County, but unfortunately, the Atlantic Boulevard crossing was inadvertently left off the design plans. Sidewalks on the west side of the roadway in that area were also left off the original plan, said Indian Harbour Beach City Manager Mark Ryan, who has requested that both safety improvements be added.

The issue at Atlantic where pedestrians were seen crossing to the south without any signal for help was one of the first things Ryan noticed upon becoming city manager four years ago. Progress now in the design phase, and the possible inclusion of the area in the study, seem to be related to the accident, he said.

“This crossing is unprotected and a child was struck so we’re trying to install a safety spot to get to the middle and then continue on because of all the turning movements (at Atlantic),’’ Ryan said.

In other related action for the corridor near Atlantic, a proposal for sidewalks on the west side of SR A1A recently was given a favorable ranking by county transportation officials, he said.

The overall DOT project currently in design covers the area on SR A1A from U.S. 192 north to Eau Gallie Boulevard.

In the plans, DOT is considering modifying one existing pedestrian mid-block crossing and adding 11, including five proposed to be equipped with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) similar to the beacons in front of Melbourne City Hall.

Those locations are near the intersections of SR A1A and 2nd Street, Watson Drive, Flugg Avenue, Terrace Shores and Poinsettia Street.

The current DOT construction project on SR A1A, running from U.S. 192/Fifth Avenue in Indialantic to Pineda Causeway, includes six mid-block crossings to be added near the intersections of Satellite Avenue, Sunrise Avenue, Magellan Avenue, Royal Palm Boulevard, Ellwood Avenue and Grant Avenue.

The crosswalks for the project under construction now do not have the flashing beacon indicators. However, there is a separate project with Florida Power & Light and the city to install these indicators.

Other aspects of the more long-range project under design include upgrades to lighting at specific bus stop locations, sidewalks and level sodded areas to connect beach access areas, said DOT spokesman Jessica Ottaviano.

“The community needs to keep in mind this project is still in the design phase and a public meeting will be held sometime in the future to inform the community and seek their input. Nothing is final at this point,’’ she said.

Looking long range, Ryan believes cities and the counties should work together on a “Complete Street” design concept considering all the elements of the corridor and adding traffic-calming measures.

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