Pedestrian Deaths Call Attention to Dangerous Road

Just a few weeks ago, a couple walking near the same nightclub on the same road was struck, and the woman died.

If you're not familiar with this stretch of road, Lafayette rounds the bend and turns into old St. Augustine Road, a road residents want sidewalks on, or even just a small dirt path, anything to increase safety and decrease pedestrian deaths.

It's tight quarters along this Leon County road. Some say it's an accident waiting to happen, a theory that's now been proven.

Bob Rackleff says, “This is the second pedestrian death on Lafayette Street, which should stir us into action.”

But action isn't in the plans for Lafayette Street as it transitions into Old St. Augustine. Leon County originally had plans for sidewalks, but last December things changed.

Rackleff says, “In prioritizing, my colleagues took away money to put into Tharpe Street, but later we found out there's no money for [the] Tharpe Street project.”

The news isn't sitting well with residents who have been pleading for sidewalks and space, but narrow roads and dim lighting aren't just hazards for pedestrians. Many drivers fear for their safety as well.

Tiffany Allen, who lives on St. Augustine, says, “They're way too cramped. I don't know how I turn safely and not hit another car!”

Still, Commissioner Rackleff holds out hope that one day this canopy road will be pedestrian friendly. Rackleff says road improvements along Old St. Augustine Road will require money.

Rackleff says it was a $4.5 million improvement plan. He also says the county is so behind in funds they scrapped the Buck Lake Road project. That would cost $9 million, and the county is $12 million short for the Tharpe Street project.