| The Daytona Beach News-Journal
To the east of State Road A1A in Ormond Beach, there are hotels, motels, inns, lodges, beach clubs, resorts and condos.
And for the people who stay in those beachfront digs, to the west are all manner of places they want to go: IHOP, Dunkin, CVS, Stonewood Grill & Tavern, Tipsy Taco Cantina, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf and other restaurants and retail outlets. So there’s a lot of pedestrians crossing the five-lane highway.
A proposed $3.3 million public-safety project along A1A will be discussed at a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Florida Department of Transportation is proposing to build new medians and mid-block crossings to improve safety from Granada Boulevard to Milsap Road, where Andy Romano Park is located.
Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington said in addition to tourists, many locals attempt to cross A1A to get from off-beach parking to the beach, or from beachside homes to the ocean.
“The goal is to increase safety,” Partington said. “A1A is such a wide road. You’ve got two lanes of traffic on either side and a wide-open median, for the most part. Imagine pulling a wagon with two small kids trying to get across.”
The state is looking to hire a contractor to build raised medians with designated left turn lanes in addition to adding mid-block crossings for pedestrians along the 1.5 miles of highway. Work won’t start until late 2021.
About 19,500 vehicles traveled that stretch of A1A daily in 2019, according to Volusia County Traffic Engineering data.
And Florida, as well as Volusia County, has consistently ranked among the most dangerous locales for pedestrians. This year alone, two pedestrians have been killed in the Ormond Beach area: a 20-year-old man struck by a sedan while trying to cross A1A in Ormond-by-the-Sea on Sept. 4 and a 62-year-old man hit by a car attempting to cross Granada Boulevard at North Yonge Street on Sept. 2. In 2019, seven pedestrians were killed in Ormond Beach.
Not everyone is in favor of the project.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea. … Why do we have to spend money to avoid going to a crosswalk?” said Ralph Padgett, owner of Padgett’s Resort, along A1A.
How to participate
Interested parties can attend the hearing in several ways: virtually by computer, tablet or mobile device; audio by phone; or in person.
To participate virtually, advance registration is required. Here is the link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6612125789951617803
To listen by phone, dial 877-309-2071 and enter the passcode 791-322-777 when prompted. Callers may submit comments directly to the project manager by using the contact information listed below.
To attend in person, register in advance to ensure safety and social-distancing guidelines by contacting: FDOT Project Manager Gene Varano by phone at 386-943-5145 or via email at [email protected] The hearing will be at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, 399 N. U.S. 1.
All hearing materials will be available on the project website at cflroads.com/project/443512-1 prior to the hearing. A recording of the hearing will be available on the website within a week following the meeting.