Gateway Sun

This just in…

Most drivers don’t stop for pedestrians on Griffin Drive.

It may not sound like blockbuster news, but when one of our readers posted on our Facebook page that her 6 year old son was extremely upset at Gateway Elementary school, in fact he was, “Horrified, because some lady laid on her horn at an elementary boy walking across CROSSWALK on Griffin. Seriously?!”

That’s insane.

Her son crosses for school at the Silverlakes-to-Cypress Cay crosswalk. So I went to that crosswalk myself this afternoon in order to cross 20 times and count how many cars would stop.

I ended the test at 16 vehicles, because I nearly got hit.

Out of the 16 times I wanted to cross when a car approached, only 2 times did the vehicle stop. So that’s 14 drivers who didn’t bother to obey the well known Florida law about yielding to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk.

The irony is that I nearly got hit when a pick-up truck did stop. As I was crossing, a black Mercedes behind the truck pulled out in the lane used by oncoming traffic to go around the stopped truck. The man in the Mercedes spotted me not long after he was in the wrong lane and realized why both the truck, and probably my heart, had stopped.

So this is what people are dealing with who want to cross Griffin Drive at crosswalks. And that includes 6-year old boys going to school who can’t even cross without crazy drivers leaning on their horns at them.

I drive on Griffin constantly and I understand that it just doesn’t seem like a street where you’d have pedestrians cross, so you don’t really think about it. Regardless, we’re supposed to stop for the pedestrians at all times.

There doesn’t seem to be an immediate or obvious answer, other than to ask both pedestrians and drivers to be careful and pay attention. I really don’t want to advocate the Lee County Sheriff’s Office running a sting and handing out tickets and fines, but a healthy dose of written warnings might be in order?

For young students, I would definitely recommend that they cross right at Gateway Elementary because the school provides a crossing guard before and after school – plus traffic is only going 15 miles per hour during those times of day. At Silverlakes/Cypress Cay they’re going 35mph.

But we all need to get in the habit of watching for pedestrians on Griffin Drive. An astonishing 14 out of 16 times today, people drove right by without even giving the crosswalk a second thought.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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