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Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety—a coalition of civic leaders, public safety officials, engineers, educators, transportation planners, advocates and concerned citizens in Metro Orlando— isn’t merely talking the talk. It’s also walking the walk and making headway. 

As part of the Best Foot Forward effort, law enforcement has quadrupled the yielding rate for pedestrian in several locales. And expansion is afoot.

An initiative of Bike/Walk Central Florida, the coalition was launched in fall 2011 with support from MetroPlan Orlando and the Winter Park Health Foundation. In October, it hopes to receive grant money for engineering and enforcement, which would allow expansion into Seminole and Osceola counties. The grant, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is intended to aid some of the worst communities for pedestrian safety in the country. Metro Orlando is ranked among them.

How valuable is enforcement? With help from Orange County and the city of Orlando, the number of intersections being observed has increased. One early result: The yielding rate for pedestrians at intersections has increased from 12 percent to 48 percent at last count (on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less).

Charter members of Best Foot Forward include Orlando Health, Lynx, the City of Orlando, Orange County, Winter Park, Maitland, Eatonville, Windermere and Winter Garden, as well as the police chiefs of Orange County.