How Safe is it to Cross Gulf Boulevard?

A recent accident on the beaches has some people talking about pedestrian safety on Gulf Boulevard. What's your take?

FILE: Is Gulf Boulevard unsafe for pedestrians? Credit: Patch
FILE: Is Gulf Boulevard unsafe for pedestrians? Credit: Patch
How safe is it to cross Gulf Boulevard?

That was a topic of discussion for some Pinellas Beaches Patch readers who commented following our recent story about a pedestrian who suffered life threatening injuries when he was struck by a Volvo while crossing Gulf Boulevard in Indian Rocks Beach.

It was the latest vehicle-versus-pedestrian accident on the roadway, which stretches along Pinellas County's beachfront communities from Sand Key down to Treasure Island.

Last month, another man was seriously injured when he was struck by a car as he crossed Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach. Witnesses told deputies that the 58-year-old man had made it to the median and that as he ran across Gulf Boulevard he was struck by a 2004 MINI two-door that was headed southbound, in the curbside lane.

Here's what some readers had to say after this week's accident, which happened at Gulf Boulevard near Eighth Avenue in Indian Rocks Beach:

"I know this area well and I have to cross here every day. It is extremely unsafe for both those on foot and in car," commented Melissa Clinton Dotson on the Pinellas Beaches Patch Facebook page. "There is a slight curve in the road that is a blind spot for cars coming north and those trying to either cross from the east side of GULF or go south by car. For the amount of foot traffic in this area combined a popular beach access hopefully this issue will be addressed."

"No one drives 30 mph on Gulf Blvd," posted Karen Bowen. "Sadly, even with pedestrian crosswalks drivers still do not slow down or stop most of the time."

"My mom lives on North Redington and they have the crosswalks with flashing lights there, and still the drivers almost hit people in the crosswalk all the time," wrote Kim Sauls Begay.

"I live in Belleair Beach and when I cross Gulf Blvd. to go to the beach (6th street) at the crosswalk, I have to be so careful as cars are speeding and often do not stop for the flashing yellow light," commented Beth Pierce. "I have started driving even though I am only 2 blocks from the beach."

So what do you think? Is Gulf Boulevard unsafe for pedestrians, or do they contribute to some of the accidents that happen on the beaches? Share your opinion in the comments below.
Janis Waters July 26, 2013 at 08:53 AM
Gulf Blvd is not unsafe if ALL pedestrians that want to cross over would us the cross-walks. Too many times people just step out into traffice and expect vehicles to come to a stop for them. I see this all the time in Indian Rocks Beach with people carring beach chairs etc and just keep on going. Cars jam on brakes and almost cause accidents with other vehicles. Why not just use the cross walks?
Nick Hughes July 27, 2013 at 04:13 PM
I agree Use the Crosswalk and Obey the Do Not Walk signs on the poles. Toooooo many times the signs say don't walk and people walk right in front of the cars when the light turns green. Police need to start ticketing JayWalkers and post signs about No Jaywalking. Most of the time it is not the driver's fault
Bob Doyle SR July 27, 2013 at 05:30 PM
The crosswalks are functioning as designed, it still is evolving to improve pedestrian traffic interactions with vehicular traffic. Sometimes we see unaware people cause harm to themselves or to others. Cars win, bodies lose, but not as frequent as recent decades for the Redingtons. Use those flags to be more visual to drivers. Enjoy the beaches, they belong to all.
JOHN MESSMORE July 31, 2013 at 05:25 AM
Although the outcome is to reduce accidents statistics prove just the opposite. We've continued having pedestrian accidents in crosswalks, seen near misses, increased rear-end collisions while observing pedestrians not paying attention having a "false sense of security inside a crosswalk bubble". Why would a person crossing gulf blvd want to even begin to challenge the law of physics with a 3,000 pound vehicle going 35mph "body in motion has a tendency to stay in motion" ? All that is required is to look both ways like your mother taught you crossing when it's safe? I've been crossing Gulf Blvd for over a half-a-century without the 1st problem. John Messmore NRB
JOHN MESSMORE April 11, 2014 at 04:12 PM
" Crossing Gulf Blvd in a Crosswalk - Cross Your Fingers " How many pedestrians need to be killed on Gulf Blvd before we stop the illusion that a pedestrian is safer in a crosswalk? North Redington Beach completed a $3.2 million project which included: " to enhance safety to the existing Gulf Blvd crosswalks - changes will improve pedestrian safety " Feb 2014. The following month 3 pedestrians were killed trying to cross Gulf Blvd. (March 2014) The Dept of Transportation concluded a 7 yr study in 5/1/10 and conclusion: "6 to 1 ratio a pedestrian is more likely to have an accident inside vs outside crosswalk". "Mid-Block Crosswalks are Dangerous" (Franklin County Traffic Safety Board) advises "4 lane roads with 10,000 traffic or more mid-block crosswalks should NOT be considered even if a pedestrian safety median separates opposing traffic lanes". NRB Gulf Blvd traffic count is 14,551+/- (Pinellas County Records) ALL being Mid-Block Crosswalks. NRB has more crosswalks per linear feet on Gulf Blvd in .9 mile of a 13.5 mile segment of Big-C beach towns stretching from St Pete Beach to Clearwater. Beach Beacon article 4/2/14 titled "Big-C focuses on pedestrian safety" quoted "Indiana man who died would probably be still alive had he checked for cars". I believe Jed Gettinger "Indiana Man" would probably be alive had there not been a Mid-Block crosswalk on Gulf Blvd with a traffic count of 14,551 +/- giving him a false sense of security he was safe in a crosswalk. I’ve been crossing Gulf Blvd for over a half century, never having one problem crossing the way my mother taught me: "Look Both Ways". I cross at places where it seems safest. I trust myself to determine when & where it’s safe to cross: not a sign, flashing light, paint on the pavement or waving a yellow flag. I believe officials make the best decisions with the references they have at the time. I’m here to offer some new references that will hopefully enable safer decisions for our community. Disagree ?, then cross Gulf Blvd using a crosswalk, my concern is you will not be around to offer rebuttal. My heart goes out to the families of Darrel Johnson, Patrick McClean and Jed Gettinger who lost their lives attempting to cross Gulf Blvd safely. John Messmore NRB


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