Seven ‘pedestrian-activated crosswalk beacons’ coming to Okaloosa Island

On Tuesday morning, Okaloosa Public Works Director Jason Autrey presented the plan for adding “solar powered pedestrian crosswalk systems” to enhance safety at seven beach park access crossings on Santa Rosa Boulevard.

  • The cost to make this happen is $275,000

Previously, crosswalk improvements did take place before the 2020 tourist season. However, the 2021 tourist season traffic has “underscored the need to enhance safety at the beach park access crossings,” according to Autrey. 

“We’ve had a substantial number of complaints from citizens because the pedestrians are trying to use the crosswalks and they say that drivers just don’t pay attention to them,” said Autrey on Tuesday morning. “The hope is that this will improve driver awareness to when somebody is entering into the crosswalk, which in the State of Florida, by law, you are to stop when the pedestrian enters into the crosswalk.”

The proposed solar-powered pedestrian-activated crosswalk systems are said to heighten driver awareness by providing a real-time warning when pedestrians are in or about to enter a crosswalk. 

  • It will also be easier to relocate these signs than wired systems and can be reused for any upcoming Santa Rosa Boulevard improvements.

The funding for this project was originally set to come from Infrastructure Sur-Tax dollars (the half-cent sales tax passed in 2018.) However, after a comment from Commissioner Nathan Boyles, staff will first try to use Tourist Development dollars to fund the project with a promotional overlay, or alternately find some combination of dollars blending the Sur-Tax money.

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