PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A busy intersection along Perdido Key known for pedestrian injuries and even deaths is now safer for people to cross.
Walking across Perdido Key Drive is what both locals and visitors say was a years-long traffic nightmare.
“It was a little chaotic and you had to really be careful because one side would stop and the other side might not see you so had to really be careful,” said musician Wes Loper.
“There was no stoplight at all, and no crosswalk,” said Flora-Bama co-owner John McInnis.
McInnis said crashes while people crossed the street were so common, he had to hire off duty sheriff’s deputies to help direct traffic.
“You just had hundreds of thousands of people just running across this highway, day and night with cars going 50 to 60 miles an hour,” he said. “As you can imagine, it was just a very dangerous scenario.”
The tipping point was when a Flora-Bama employee was hit and killed crossing Perdido Key Drive back in 2016.
“We were serious about it then, but then we became even more serious,” McInnis said.
The following year, eight servicemen from the Pensacola Naval Air Station were seriously hurt trying to cross after they were hit by a drunk driver.
After years of working with the Florida Department of Transportation and Escambia county officials, McInnis’s pleas for new safety measures finally came through this summer in the form of a brand new crosswalk and stoplight.
He said the changes are already making a difference.
“We feel like Santa Claus came to town. We couldn’t be more excited and thankful that it got done and thankful to everybody that was a part of it,” he said.
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