PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Safety improvements are coming to a busy Pensacola street that many consider dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
In the past five years, there have been more than 1,200 crashes, 679 injuries, and 13 deaths, according to Florida Highway Patrol, and some local advocates want to bring those numbers down.
“Pace Boulevard is a dangerous corridor,” Zac Lane said.
Lane is an advocacy coordinator for the group Bike Pensacola. They sent a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation after finding out about an upcoming repaving project. Along with the City of Pensacola and Escambia County, they called for changes to make it safer for those traveling on two wheels.
“It is extremely unsafe because you’ve got distracted drivers driving too fast and no room to do it,” Lane said. “No safe room to do it.”
The Florida Department of Transportation has agreed to narrow the traffic lanes on Pace Boulevard from Barrancas to Massachusetts Avenue and to add in bike lanes.
“They’ll use that extra space to provide a space for bicycles along the side,” Lane said.
They’ve also asked for the speed limit to be lowered from 40 to 35 miles per hour but the state says an engineering study must be completed before that can be done.
Lane says they’re happy with the proposed changes but he hopes drivers will be more respectful of bicyclists.
“Because you’re in a vehicle doesn’t mean you’re entitled to the entire roadway,” Lane said. “The roadways are for transportation. The automobile is only one segment of that portion of transportation.”
It’s unclear when the construction on Pace Boulevard will begin.