Sarasota News Leader

03/28/2014

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CROSSWALK USE MUST BECOME THE NORM, NOT THE EXCEPTION EDITORIAL OPINION EDITORIAL You do not have to spend a lot of time driving on Siesta Key this time of year to observe exactly what Christine Robinson, vice chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commission, has pointed out recently: Some pedestrians refuse to use the crosswalks that have been installed to ensure their safety. During a March 4 discussion among commis- sioners, Robinson said, with some justifiable frustration, "It's amazing to me, driving up and down the road. They'll be 50 feet away and not walk in the crosswalk." And she is absolutely correct on another point: The county needs to undertake a major education effort to teach grown people — who should know better — that they have no valid excuse for failing to use a crosswalk. In Pinecraft, the community nestled in a patch of Sarasota County along Bahia Vista Street and Beneva Road, it is common to see Amish and Mennonite visitors walk, jog and bike across five lanes of traffic, in spite of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office's best efforts to educate them about traffic laws. For as much as we cringe at the situation in that community, we at least have more under- standing of it. These visitors often come from rural areas far removed from the type of bus- tle — and heavy traffic — Sarasota County sees during a busy tourist season. Often, too, they simply do not know our laws. The situation on Siesta Key is far, far different. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) paid almost $200,000 in 2012 to install six modern crosswalks with lighting OPINION

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