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BWCF Intern Shelby: Out for the Count

10653508_735905319791734_7572767752878372124_nMetroPlan Orlando uses Bike and Ped Counts to learn how many pedestrians and cyclists use crosswalks and sidewalks here in Orlando. As an intern with Bike/Walk Central Florida, I got the chance to volunteer for the September 11th count at the intersection of Webster and Denning in Winter Park. It was easy to do, but I was surprised at how much I learned in just two hours of counting.
The intersection that I observed seemed to be created just for pedestrians. When you press the crosswalk signals at any corner, the lights turn red and the arrows signaling “No Right Turn” light up – basically, the entire intersection comes to a halt to allow you to cross. With two LYNX stations at that intersection, it is awesome that there is a safe crossing zone for travelers. Sadly, a lot of people didn’t take advantage of this great feature and decided to dangerously cross mid-block. It may be quicker than walking to the crosswalk, but what’s more important – saving a few minutes or saving your life? 
This experience was definitely an eye-opener for me. It is essential that we are aware of our surroundings when we’re behind the wheel. Crossers can be careful and use the signals, but if you aren’t paying attention or you decide that you’re going to ignore the road signs – it may cost them their life. At one point, a pedestrian that had the right-of-way was forced to back out of the crosswalk for a driver who didn’t feel that the “No Right Turn” sign applied to him. She shouted at the driver, who then yielded and allowed her to cross. MetroPlan is doing a great job at making sure that roads are safe for all travelers, and I will definitely be taking part in the count again. If you want to learn more about MetroPlan’s counts or learn how to volunteer in the future, click here.

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