In an effort to provide protection for pedestrians in Daytona Beach Shores, the City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting large trucks from parking close to crosswalks on South Atlantic Avenue and Dunlawton Boulevard, where many condominiums and businesses are located.
After receiving numerous complaints from pedestrians in the area, council members agreed trucks used for pick-ups and deliveries that park in front of condominiums along A1A and in front of businesses on Dunlawton Boulevard can create a significant safety issue in the city, particularly when they park in front of crosswalks pedestrians frequent.
Often when pedestrians attempt to cross Atlantic Avenue via crosswalk, they have no choice but to walk behind large, obstructive delivery vehicles parked too close to the walkways, making it difficult for them to see oncoming traffic. Drivers moving in the opposite direction may not see them either, which could result in injuries or fatalities.
“We’re trying to make our crosswalks safer if we can,” said Stephan Dembinsky, Daytona Beach Shores public safety director. “We constantly get complaints that cars aren’t stopping for pedestrians, and it’s dangerous, so these are some of the things we’re trying to do to make the city safer.”
State law requires vehicles to stop 20 feet from a lighted intersection, Mr. Dembinsky added. “Our crosswalks don’t have traffic lights, so we added that. Now it matches state law.”
Vehicles taller than seven feet and longer than 18 feet are prohibited from parking on the right-of-way of A1A and Dunlawton Boulevard within 20 feet of any crosswalk within city limits. Commercial and service vehicles exceeding those height and length restrictions may only park for 30 minutes to load and unload for businesses directly abutting those roadways.
Vehicles of this type are prohibited from parking within 20 feet south or north of any crosswalk even if it is located at an intersection. According to the ordinance, the only exceptions to these new restrictions are public utility and emergency vehicles that perform routine or emergency maintenance.
The council decided the ordinance was in the best interest of the residents, businesses and visitors in the city, and necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the community.
The penalties for violation of this ordinance will be determined by resolution of the Daytona Beach Shores City Council, or as they may be available under the controlling provisions of state law.
Vice Mayor Richard Bryan, who has been involved with state legislation on crosswalk safety for many months, requested the ordinance. He researched the issue and attended forums in Tallahassee. Earlier this year results of studies conducted by Traffic Engineering Data Solutions Inc. were revealed during their presentation at a city council meeting. The death of a young Brevard girl, struck and killed in a crosswalk there in December, sparked outrage and discussions of replacing flashing yellow lights with red lights to help ensure traffic stopping.
“That got people interested in trying to do something,” Vice Mayor Bryan said.
After the tragedy, he thought legislation would pass to make these changes to crosswalks, but none of it did.
“Some people thought if you changed the usual yellow flashing lights to red that would help. Intuitively it seems like it would, but in a lot of these areas there isn’t really data that says if we do this it will make it safer. It’s also a very bureaucratic process, even if it’s just to make a yellow light red,” he said.
Vice Mayor Bryan said there was an advantage to standardizing crosswalks nationally as opposed to letting each jurisdiction decide how it would implement crosswalk safety. “You don’t want to have different traffic signals and signs depending on what city or county you’re in. But they take their time in terms of making any changes or putting anything in that’s standardized,” he said.