Crosswalk in Belleair Beach
I'm a resident of Belleair Beach - we are a young couple, who lives on 5th St., with our two dogs. We like to enjoy long evening walks on the sidewalk of Gulf Blvd. We typically walk around 7:30 - 8:30, when it gets a bit cooler outside and walk north up Gulf Blvd. We live on the Intracoastal side of the street, and usually cross over Gulf Blvd. to the gulf side of the sidewalk at the 6th St. crosswalk. Last night I was walking across Gulf Blvd at the crosswalk with my small puppy when I was almost struck by a speeding motorist. I pushed the button to make the flashing lights blink, looked both ways, waited for several other motorists, (who had no intentions of stopping) speed by, and then crossed. The driver coming north up Gulf Blvd. looked like she was going to stop, so I kept walking through the crosswalk. However, it became apparent that she wasn't going to stop, but simply slow down a bit, while I was forced to run the rest of the way through the intersection. She came about 2 feet from my puppy when her car finally skidded to a stop and seemingly had no regard for what she almost did. This isn't the first time this has happened, and in fact, it happens quite frequently, during the day, evening and night hours. Sometimes, when I'm crossing the street to walk to the beach, I'll have to wait a good 2-3 minutes to cross the street, after pushing the button, because drivers are still speeding through the crosswalk without stopping.
It seems motorists either have no clue what the flashing lights at the crosswalks mean, or that they simply have a complete disregard for the laws of our town.
Something really needs to be done about this crosswalk - whether it be stationing a police officer there at certain times a day, enacting stiffer penalties for not stopping when the red signal lights are flashing, or making the signs more obvious. I have seen hundreds of motorists speed through this particular flashing crosswalk and not one has been pulled over and fined. Perhaps a $117 fine is not nearly enough to warn motorists of the repercussions they could face by speeding through this crosswalk. The residents of this community deserve to be safe and enjoy the sidewalks that we pay taxes on. It will be extremely sad if it takes a pedestrian being hit and killed before someone decides to do something about this crosswalk.
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