Pedestrians better look both ways on Winter Park roads before crossing the road, because the jaywalking tickets are on their way. In the coming weeks Winter Park police officers won’t hesitate to write you a ticket. The reason? To send an important message.
Winter Park Police began the enforcement phase of a $19,000 grant program through the Florida Department of Transportation on Tuesday – a way to make roadways safer by incentivizing officers to focus solely on traffic violations committed by pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
Lt. Pam Marcum of the Winter Park Police Department said that, between calls for assistance, officers frequently look for jaywalking pedestrians or drivers running red lights, but don’t have the chance to keep on the lookout for an entire patrol.
The recent grant allows officers to do just that, incentivizing them to take part in a three-pronged process. It all started with an education phase that began in February where educational materials were passed out to residents regarding when to cross the street and where bicycles belong on city roads. Officers then began a second phase handing out warnings in March before they began the enforcement phase this week.
Any motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist caught breaking traffic laws can expect a ticket costing as much as $164 – with no chance of a warning.
Ten Winter Park officers have already completed training for the program and are ready to work under the grant, mostly focusing on the Rollins crosswalk on Fairbanks Avenue, the intersection of Park and Fairbanks avenues, the intersection of Lee Road and U.S. Highway 17-92, the intersection of Fairbanks Avenue and U.S. Highway 17-92, and the intersection of Orange Avenue and U.S. Highway 17-92.
“This grant pays money for officers to strictly concentrate on these kinds of violations,” Marcum said.
“The whole goal is to have a positive effect and see less violations.”
Orange County continues to lead the state with the highest number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries. During 2014 in Orange County alone, there were 52 total pedestrians and bicyclists killed in traffic collisions.
Winter Park hasn’t seen a bicyclist fatally hit by a car since September 2015, but that doesn’t mean the city can’t do more to keep residents safe, Marcum said.
“Creating a safe and efficient driving, walking and bicycling environment has long been an established goal and integral part of the city of Winter Park,” said the Winter Park Police Department in a press release. “By enhancing pedestrian and bicycle safety we hope to ensure that the city of Winter Park will continue to be the best place to live, work and play in Florida for our residents and visitors.”