The Florida Department of Transportation held a public meeting on Tuesday, January 11 regarding its proposed safety improvement plans on 13th Street (U.S. 192) at Florida Avenue, Indiana Avenue, and Michigan Avenue in St. Cloud.
The purpose of the meeting and traffic improvement project was to discuss enhanced pedestrian safety at the intersections by adding new pedestrian-activated signals and other changes at Florida Avenue and Indiana Avenue and upgrading the traffic and pedestrian signals at Michigan Avenue.
In October of 2020, a St. Cloud Police Department School Crossing Guard was struck by a vehicle that had run a red light at the Michigan Avenue intersection – seriously injuring the guard, and once again showing the need for safety changes.
According to FDOT, improvements planned for the project will include adding pedestrian-activated signals and reconstructing the existing directional median at Florida Avenue and Indiana Avenue. The new signal will stay green for traffic traveling along 13th street until activated by a pedestrian wanting to cross. Once activated, the light will turn yellow and then red to stop traffic.
Once the changes are made, traffic on the main roadway will be able to turn right, left, or go straight. Side street traffic will still turn right and then make a U-turn to travel in the opposite direction. Pedestrians will cross the road diagonally which will keep them out of the path of vehicles turning left on the side street.
Turning movements for vehicles at the intersections will remain as they currently are.
Benefits of Signalized Directional Median Openings include:
- Significantly reducing potential conflict points or areas where vehicles could potentially cross paths and collide.
- Reducing the chances for right-angle or T‐bone crashes, which can often result in serious injury.
- Providing protected time for pedestrians and students to cross by stopping traffic at the intersection.
- Reducing conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles because pedestrians will cross the main roadway diagonally, which will keep them out of the path of vehicles turning right from the side street onto 13th Street.
Operational and safety improvements proposed at Michigan Avenue include reconstructing and upgrading the existing traffic signal. New pedestrian signals and crosswalks will be installed at all intersections and lighting will be upgraded to enhance pedestrian safety. The project also includes reconstructing pedestrian curb ramps in accordance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
Total cost of the design is $610,000, with the cost of the construction, which is targeted to be completed in early 2023 at a cost of $ 1.9 Million.