The five-mile stretch of New Kings Road on Jacksonville’s northwest side has one community leader calling it a “Danger Zone” after five pedestrians have been hit and killed over the last couple of months. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office statistics show more incidents occurred in this area in 2016 vs. 2015, which could cause many citizens to contact a personal Injury Attorney Jacksonville.
Last year, the district city councilman and the head of the new North side Coalition demanded better lighting and sidewalks and they got the Florida Department of Transportation to take notice after the alarming statistics were reported by several local news agencies. In December, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) confirmed plans to make $10 million in changes to the roadway. Bianca Speights with FDOT said in light of the recent pedestrian fatalities, additional sidewalks will be added to each side of the corridor from Edgewood Avenue to I-295 along with additional lighting. Approximately $3 million is allotted for the sidewalks and streetlights. Seven million dollars will fund a roadway resurfacing project. The project is scheduled to begin in April 2018 and is scheduled for completion in December 2019.
Why is this needed? In 2016, during the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, it was found to be a deadly one on New Kings between Edgewood Avenue and Interstate 295 with four people hit and killed while walking along or crossing it in the dark. The Sheriff’s Office wouldn’t discuss what enforcement changes have occurred there after those fatal accidents except to say they are active investigations. Police records indicate 125 accidents along that stretch Jan. 1 to Nov. 7 resulting in six fatalities. That’s up from 110 accidents in the same 11-month period in 2015, with only one fatality. Police also said 100 people were cited for speeding in the area this year as of Nov. 5. Ben Frazier, director of The North side Coalition, a 200-member online community, coined it a “Danger Zone” for that stretch of road. Whether injury or death, a personal Injury Attorney Jacksonville might be needed for these cases, and yours too.
New Kings starts where Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway ends and heads northwest to the Duval County line. There are more street lights at the southeast end. But pass the busy Edgewood Avenue intersection and the four-lane road becomes darker, with a few businesses and churches as side streets head to homes. The district city councilman, Reggie Brown, for this area told Florida Times Union that the road’s biggest needs are crosswalks with flashing lights, more street lights and sidewalks to replace “pig trails” — paths worn on the grassy roadside where people have to walk. “The neighbors have complained about people getting out of nightclubs at night and trying to cross the street, and unfortunately not everybody stops when they hit a pedestrian,” Brown said. “…We have fatalities going back years.”
With the planned improvements in the works, Transportation Department spokesman Ron Tittle reminds people that safety is their responsibility too. That means walking against the direction of traffic so they can see oncoming vehicles, wearing bright colors at night and using crosswalks when the light is green. “Drivers also need to slow down,” he said.