JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As Jacksonville reels from its 8th pedestrian death just this year, federal dollars are headed the city’s way to make its streets less deadly. Federal data shows Jacksonville ranked 13th in the country’s deadliest city for pedestrians. Locally and nationally, that number has been climbing at an alarming rate.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s most recent estimate shows an 8% jump in the number of cyclists killed and a 2% jump in pedestrians. In a sit-down interview with the Action News Jax Washington Bureau, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says enough is enough.
“These things add up,” he says, “and we think they’re part of the reason why America right now experiences more traffic deaths in most developed countries.”
In a plan by the Department of Transportation and Whitehouse, the Safe Streets for All Grant Program has earmarked a total of $5 billion dollars over the next five years to address the growing problem. More than a million dollars are headed to local cities.
The money is meant to curb the deadly trend, but Action News Jax dug into the local programs and found the roadmap to make that happen is still very much undeveloped. Jacksonville is set to receive $280 thousand dollars. The local money is designated for the city’s Visions Zero Action Plan- or at least its creation of it.
The plan’s goal is to eliminate bicycle and pedestrian deaths by 2030. But so far, nothing exists. We asked the city, and it says its next step is to put out a bid and select a consultant to create the plan.
Palatka is set to receive nearly $1 million dollars ($960,000) for its program, but according to the city manager, that program doesn’t exist yet, either. Atlantic Beach will get $200,000 and it similarly does not have a plan in place.
[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]