Clearwater Police Begin Enforcement Aspect Of Pedestrian Safety Campaign
Clearwater–Since the first week of December, Clearwater Police have been educating pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike on how they can more safely use the same streets.
They have handed out fliers with safety tips and given more than 1,300 warnings as part of the campaign made possible by a Florida Department of Transportation grant.
Beginning today, however, the effort goes from educational and warnings to enforcement.
From now through the end of May, teams of off-duty officers will focus on streets that typically have a high concentration of people breaking the law. They will be looking for pedestrians who don’t use crosswalks at intersections, for motorists who block crosswalks or don’t yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and for bicyclists who don’t obey traffic signals and other traffic laws.
“We’ve been diligently trying to change the mindsets of people on the road, whether they are behind the wheel or on foot or on a bicycle,” said Sgt. Michael Walek, head of the department’s traffic homicide unit. “It’s about making the streets of Clearwater safer for everyone.”
Some of the targeted locations include U.S. 19, Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, Missouri Avenue, Fort Harrison Avenue, Mandalay Avenue and the beach roundabout.
Three officers will work per detail, five hours at a time and three times a week. The details will be at varied times and days of the week.
The funding comes from a grant of more than $94,000 from the DOT. It’s the second grant from the state road agency to Clearwater Police; the first one produced 1,410 warnings and 680 citations for pedestrians alone last year.